One of the great wonders of the world and I would’ve never thought I would get there! It’s a place I’ve dreamt about as a mystical place filled with exotic animals and crazy insects which all seemed to be true. I did some research and you can enter the Amazon through Peru, Brazil, Colombia and Bolivia however, during my research, it was cheaper to go through Bolivia and quite a lot of tours are similar in the sense where you will see LOADS of crocodiles, black Caymans, Pink Dolphins, fish for piranhas (and eat them), anaconda hunting, as well as animal spotting during boat rides. Give or take you will come across similar animals in all these places and maybe a few different ones.
If you have time, then I would say fly (Amazonas airline – only one aircraft flies here) to Rurrenabaque for a couple days and walk around to find a tour agency that will take you into the jungle.
I was on a time schedule for Bolivia so I booked through a tour agency as I could not find any agencies directly. AND OH MY DAYS – they charged me a little bit more but also charged a credit card fee of 8% which is insanely high. I personally feel this is greedy and that if I had more time, I wouldn’t go with them – which is why I am telling you guys so you don’t make this financial mistake like I have.
The people I booked with a third party so the actual tours are done by another agency – some people I’ve met actually got a cheaper rate booking in La Paz and there were others like me that paid more so it’s quite hit and miss.
The actual tour company is Mashaquipe Ecolodge – which I highly recommend. This company is sustainable and practice sustainability, good eco lodges, they will pick you up from the airport and drop you off too.
BEFORE YOU PICK ANY AGENCY – you need to consider the below:
- As much as people like to be hugging a sloth, touching crocodiles etc however, this is quite toxic to the animals. As humans, we carry a lot of unknown bacteria and also spray things like deet or use sunscreen which are extremely toxic to animals and there have been many cases that these animals have gotten severely ill and died. Petting and hugging animals seems harmless but in the Amazon, it’s a different area and we should try to preserve these animals rather than poison them with our touch.
- If you look at tours in Rurrenabaque – there’s an agreement that they all charge the same rates (maybe lower in quiet seasons) so you have to pick the place that you feel are eco friendly and who try to be sustainable. This includes picking up the rubbish outside their lodges and throwing away their rubbish properly (they should really bring this back to land and dispose it properly). During your boat trips, you’ll see other lodges owned by other agencies and there was one particular place that had lots of plastic bottles floating in front of it – it’s disgusting to see this type of litter in a natural environment where we need to be protecting the creatures here (even if they are scary).
I flew to Rurrenabaque from La Paz with Amazonas airlines which was relatively cheap and the agency I came with picked me up. But this airport in Rurrenabaque is so tiny and rural that the ‘baggage collection’ is just a small box where they place your bags and you have to show someone your baggage ticket to collect.
I stayed the night in Tucanes and in the morning, my tour of the Pampas started where again, they picked me. Honestly, you can buy your last minute things here like caps, hats, cables etc but it’s going to be pricier than what you can get in La Paz as they know there is no where else where you can get them from.
Tucanes de Rurre Hotel:
Extremely happy with this accommodation, the comfortable private room with two double beds and a shared bathroom cost 35B (€4.40) per person.
Located on the corner of Calle Bolivar, it includes a free breakfast of coffee, juice, toast and spread.
Although it doesn’t have a kitchen (not many hostels in Rurrenabaque do) it does have a preparation area with delph and a fridge to store food.
The fast Wi-Fi, hot power showers and chilled outdoor common area fitted with hammocks are also all appealing facilities.
On top of all that the hotel offers free luggage storage, should you need it.
Whilst staying here, there are a couple of cafes to eat and I chose to go with one that had lots of reviews (as I didn’t want to risk an upset stomach before my jungle tour). It was actually pretty good and tasty so if you did spend the night – definitely visit this place.
Pampas Tour – 2 days is enough and if you like your insects, there are jungle stays (that I know mosquitos would’ve had a field day with me). I’ve spoken to people who did a jungle stay first and then did the Pampas Tour straightaway so 2 days/1night in the jungle and 2days/1 night in the Pampas who have said it was amazing but you have sleepless nights as you are constantly hearing the nocturnal animals and insects (well that’s the main reason in going to the jungle right?).
Luckily, I went off season as each hut has 2 double beds and a wall so where I am staying in my own lodge and another solo traveller was staying on the other side of the wall.
I learnt the most important thing about in sleeping in the Amazon is that mosquito nets are there for many reasons AND NOT JUST MOSQUITOS. You definitely need to tuck it in under the mattress as there are jungle rats that come in at night and run havoc. When I say run havoc, they literally climb up and down your net, run around the bed, nibble of your clothes or trainers and SQUEAK so loud. Another thing is that they aren’t scared – if you make sounds, turn on your phone etc. They will play the ‘freeze’ game where there isn’t a sound or movement for a minute and they revert to running wild. I literally crapped myself for the nights I stayed there and was so afraid to look them in the face. Which is when I learnt that the mosquito nets protect you from more than mosquitos.
Things you need in the Amazon:
- A torch – preferably a head torch which helps when they turn off the electricity at night or if you go on a nocturnal animal hunting.
- Hat or cap – you will be smelting in the Amazon sunshine
- Sunscreen – high spf
- Mosquito repellent – you need this as it won’t protect you 100% as there will be adventurous bugs but it’ll help deter A LOT. A girl I was in a group with had her arm eaten alive where there was no part of her skin that was flat. Also, make sure you spray it on your bed and net, as mosquitos like to also play the hide and seek game.
- A reusable water bottle that you can fill up – you won’t be able to buy anything out here but the agency will give you water to refill your bottles.
- You can only bring a small backpack with you but if you do have a larger rucksack, you can leave this in the tour agency office.
I could see why this is one the Great Wonders of the World and you need to go visit when you get the chance. Let me know if you have been to the Amazon, how you got there and if you recommend me to go back? 😛