Posted by: HelenRortvedt | 23 November 2008

Rurrenabaque… Just as hard to get to as it is to pronounce!

After Potosi, we took an overnight flota up to La Paz. From there, we had an express taxi ready to drive us the few hundred kilometers north (and 13,000 feet down) to Rurrenabaque, up in Beni. What a road… What a road…


Leaving La Paz, the road climbs to nearly 14,000 feet, and the scenery looks like this…


…but very quickly turns into this!


The road descends into the Yungas, where it hugs a tight cliff and plummets into the river below. This is prime coca growing country.


Waterfall in the Yungas. Goodbye altiplano!


We arrived in Rurrenabaque late at night, after 13 hours on the road from La Paz. We were up early the next morning to start a three day adventure into the Pampas (grasslands, teeming with animals). We stopped at a restaurant for lunch, and this was their interpretation of “Please do not throw toilet paper into the toilet. Use the trash can.” Hilarious.


The eight of us RPCVs got in two of these old canoes and set out down river. It wasn’t long until wildlife started showing up to greet us:







This river was teeming with wildlife. All in all, we saw three kinds of monkeys, an anteater, dozens of pink river dolphins, hundreds and hundreds of alligators, thousands of birds (including an owl in the daytime!) and even a three-toed sloth! It was AWESOME. Bolivia is listed as one of the top ten most Bio-diverse countries in the world, and nothing like a trip to the Beni to make you believe it!


On a hike one morning, we stopped to show off our new “Obama Cumple” t-shirts. We had these printed in Sucre just after the election. “Evo Cumple” is presidential slogan used on billboards and signs all over Bolivia to show support for the Morales government initiatives. We thought we were pretty clever. (“Cumple” means, “fulfills” or “comes through”)


Is this not the best album cover shot you have ever seen? Now all we need is an actual band…


Then a really great storm rolled in and we got soaked. And it was awesome.


Think this photo will get published in the Chaco catalog?? 🙂


You absolutely can NOT go to the Beni without getting a vehicle stuck in the mud…


Rurre, as it is coloquially referred to, is quite a pretty little town.


This is the cute little spider monkey that lived at our Rurre hostel.


And this is the fabulous, refreshing swimming hole we discovered and cooled off in on the long trip back up to La Paz.

This country is so full of wonderful secrets. And it has taken a very strong hold of my heart.



  1. What’s so harrrd to prrronounce about Rurrenabaque? Just because it has a few extrrra rrrrs! What a fabulous adventurrre you arrre having!

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