Piranha, dolphins, toucans, anacondas, sloths, cayman and monkeys are just some of the animals you will get to see if you do this tour! It was easy to organise from La Paz through Kanoo Tours. They have a few agencies and are hugely popular for independent travelers.
We booked through the agency not far from the Witches Market, but there is one in Loki Hostel too. Kanoo affiliates themselves with the best agencies for all their tours, so they really do get you in with the better companies and guides.
As we were in La Paz, we needed to get to Rurrenebaque to get the Pampas tour underway. So, a 45 minute flight south across the Amazon Jungle was required in an 18 seater Cessna – fun!
This was all part of the package we booked, which is why we opted to get it all organised through Kanoo. You can, of course, organise flights yourself to Rurrenabaque (through Amaszonas) and then just choose an agency for a Pampas Tour from there. There are heaps to choose from, so you can pretty much go the next day if it’s not high season. We got booked in with Dolphins Tours, a reputable and Eco-friendly agency.
It is recommended that you stay a night in Rurrenabaque either side of the tour – even more if you have the time and want to chill a while. There are loads of backpackers in this town year round, so you will definitely meet and mingle with ease. We stayed in the cheap and cheerful Los Tucanes, a favorite for people on a budget. There are cool but basic bars, cafe’s and restaurants in this small town BUT limited ATM service, so take enough cash with you.
The tour we chose was a 3 day version in April. I am so happy we came at this time of year (wet season), as you see the Pampas for what it is renowned for. Basically, you have the dry and wet seasons. Dry means you have a jungle to walk through, wet means it is flooded a few meters high and you get around on powered canoes across the unique river system that is the Pampas!
As the season was coming to an end, we were blessed mostly with sunny weather too – so win-win all round. To cap it off, this is THE season and perfect time of year to see the native Pink River Dolphins, who come in to breed / birth. They were everywhere and provided a truly remarkable experience. Being able to swim with them safely and see them up so close was amazing.
To get an idea of what this tour is like – it’s no frills, but you are safe and get looked after at the lodgings. We had a cook, who fed us well… she even cooked the piranha we caught!
Food is basic, you get simple pastas, rice and veggie dishes… but there is ample. It probably helped that our tour group was very small – one of the nights there was just the 2 of us there with the workers, pretty amazing to have a whole communal lodge (on stilts) to yourself in the middle of a flooded jungle!
You can hear howler monkeys, bats and frogs…. and mosquitos… but don’t worry, there are nets provided and you bring your own repellant. We didn’t really get attacked by mozzies too bad… just the odd playful bite from the dolphins – yes, dolphins! They are curious and like to swim right next to you and let you know they are there.
The tour and structure is pretty relaxed, you do everything the itinerary says day by day and get to see cool birds, animals and nature. Being out in the open, powering down temporary rivers on the look out for photo ops and adventure is really exciting and a trip you won’t forget in a hurry!
I just wanted to ask a couple of questions. I am intending on doing the same trip to Rurrenabaque in April 2014. I am in the process of booking my flights from La Paz to Rurrenabaque and back and was wondering if you had any problems with flights being cancelled or delayed whilst you were there.
Due to time constraints, I would have to fly into Rurrenabaque on the same morning that my tour starts and leave on the last flight back to La Paz on the same day that my tour ends.
I’m basically trying to figure out what my chances are of having my flight delayed/cancelled.
Thanks for your question – it’s a bit of a tricky one to be honest. It does come recommended by a lot of agents to have a night either side in Rurrenabaque. This is because delays due to bad weather are quite common and I believe there are just 3 flights per day (on a 20 seat Cessna). April is when I was there….end of rainy season when the natural river eco system begins to decline (best time to go to see the pink dolphins and still get lucky with a few sunny days!). We didn’t need the nights we booked either side, but happy we did (especially after the tour) to have a night to relax with hot showers, to clean clothes etc… remember, the tour will see you swimming in rivers, getting attacked by mozzies, hunting through knee deep mud for anacondas and sloths… a lot of people take the risk and don’t bother booking a stay in Rurrenabaque… but if you can tweak your plans on the way back I would consider it. Either way, you’re in for quite the adventure! Have fun