Friday, August 9, 2013

Pampas tour (July 21st - 23rd, 2013)

We had heard many great words about the Pampas tours in Rurrenabaque, so we were happy when we could book it with Escorpion travel, which had been recommended to us by our friend Dan.

I was still recovering from the traveler's diarrhea, so I was glad that the first day was supposed to be very easy. We, together with four people from Chile and our guide, drove for three hours in quite an old Toyota jeep from Rurrenabaque to Santa Rosa de Yucuma. There we had a lunch. I still did not eat much, but nonetheless, the food gave me some energy. After lunch we were driven to the river, where we boarded our boat.

Laura about to board the boat

The boat ride to our camp was very pleasant and included numerous stops to observe animals. We saw many capybaras, alligators, monkeys and various birds!

One of many birds we saw

An alligator looking at us

A capybara family

A squirrel monkey

After this gorgeous observation tour we arrived to our lodge. We deposited our things in the common room and our guide took us by boat to a small outside bar, where we watched the sunset.

A sunset over the pampas

Radek and two of our companions. Radek was still a bit tired! 

After sunset our guide took us back and we had a dinner. I was finally feeling hungry and enjoyed it a lot. We then went to observe caymans in the dark. With our headlamps we saw many animal eyes. Our guide was able to recognize the species by the color of their eyes. He even caught a small alligator (about two weeks old), and we could take a very close look at it.

A small alligator

The night started quite warm, but in the morning both Laura and I were quite cold, so we moved into one bed to warm each other. The weather really surprised us. The cold wave was supposed to arrive one day later. Everybody put on all their clothes, but it was not enough, as we had been recommended to take just a pair of long trousers, a long-sleeved shirt, and a raincoat. The breakfast, on the other hand, warmed us up before we went to search for anacondas. The snakes did not like the cold weather either, so they rather stayed in the warm water and we did not see any.

After the warm lunch we went piranha catching. I'd never gone fishing before (Laura had gone just once), and caught my first fish here. However, it was not a piranha, but a small salmon, so we returned it back to the water. Our cook and guide were more successful and they managed to catch quite a lot of piranhas.

Piranha with its strong teeth

The first fish I caught and then let go

Laura with our group collection of piranhas

I enjoyed the dinner, even though it included piranhas: they were just a small addition to the meet, rice and salad. It was getting colder and colder after dinner, so Laura and I went scouting for some extra blankets. We manage to get one, and also found two additional sheets. We used these, and the two blankets we had on my bed and Laura's, to keep us reasonably warm during the night. It was not an easy night, though, because the bed was clearly too narrow for two people.

In the morning we still went to see some pink river dolphins. We were told that it is safe to swim only in places where you can see these animals, because they scare away the alligators, caymans, piranhas and other species that may harm us. Even though the water was quite warm, the air was freezing, so we decided not to join some of the others in swimming with dolphins.

It was much easier to take a picture of people than of the dolphins

After a lunch we said good-bye to our lodge and went back to Rurrenabaque, cuddling together to keep warm on the boat.

Good-bye, pampas!

More pictures are, as usually, available here.


  1. Very nice. I much enjoy reading your blog and realizing that things didn't change all that much since 2003, when I did the very same tour :)

    Radek, if your diarrhea persists, I've got one secret to share that helped my in many countries: go to the market and order Papaya seeds, and then ask the ladies to blend them together with milk. It tastes awfully, but drink that 3 times a day, and you're cured.

    Ah, and btw: Arne't Piranyas are a species? At least in 2003, it was illegal to eat them. Has that changed?

    Enjoy your travels, and please don't stop blogging about it :)


  2. Hi Daniel,

    Happy to hear that you are enjoying our blog :)

    Thanks for the tip with diarrhea. So far I managed to get rid of it within a day or two, but this one took bit longer as I also got quite a high fever :(

    I am not sure about piranhas. We have seen plenty of other groups fishing for them as well. Maybe the regulation changed as our guide told us explicitly to return other species back to the water and we were allowed to only keep piranhas.

    Take care,