The experience of a lifetime swimming with pink dolphins in the the Amazon river
Locally owned experienced operator with bilingual guides
Certified by Rurrenabaque's Green Action Alliance for best sustainability practices
As you glide down the River Yacuma from the comfort of a motor boat, watch the world around you come to life as you witness a stunning variety of animals and wildlife. Look out for caimans, crocodiles, capybaras, anacondas, squirrel and howler monkeys along the riverbanks. There are also exotic pink dolphins, and hundreds of bird species that make this area their home.
All year round except New Years Eve, New Years Day and Carnaval
Indigena Tours Office, Calle Avaroa Between Aniceto Arce and Pando, Rurrenabaque
Indigena Tours Office, Calle Avaroa Between Aniceto Arce and Pando, Rurrenabaque
Your day will start at 9:00am, when we’ll depart Rurrenabaque in mini-bus, passing through little Amazon villages and by small family estates. We’ll arrive at around noon in Santa Rosa, a small town on the banks of the Yacuma River. Here we’ll share a traditional Bolivian lunch of hot soup, meat, rice, yucca, vegetables, and fresh fruit.
From Santa Rosa, we’ll proceed by boat down the Yacuma River. We will drift downstream slowly, careful not to disturb or alert the wildlife. You will notice the abundance of fauna immediately: the trees are alive with birds and monkeys, and it is not uncommon for the boat to be escorted for miles by pink freshwater dolphins. Your guide will be happy to stop the boat, to point out hard-to-spot animals, or to wait for you to get amazing photographs of wildlife and landscapes.
We’ll arrive at the Indigena Ecolodge at around 4:00pm. You can enjoy a snack and fresh juice, take a shower, or just unwind in a hammock for a bit before we head out again. Just a few minutes down river, a local family has a small shack selling wine, cold beer, and snacks. Here, you can meet travellers from other lodges and share a drink before dinner, or challenge them to a game of soccer or volleyball. Once the sun has set over the open expanse of the pampas — always a breath-taking spectacle — we’ll head back to the lodge for dinner.
As soon as the sun sets, the pampas spring to life. Birds and monkeys cry out in the darkness, and small predators dart through the bushes in search of breakfast. We’ll set out in the boat with flashlights, in search of the biggest predator of all: the caiman. These members of the gator family can grow up to 12 feet long. They hunt along the river in the pitch-black of night, eating snakes, fish and stray birds. Though hard to see during the day, the caimans are easy to spot at night; their eyes reflect the moonlight, glowing red in the darkness.
In the morning, we’ll share a hearty meal of eggs, pancakes, pastries, and fresh fruit. After breakfast, you’ll need to put on high rubber boots (to protect against snakebites), and head into the tall grass of the pampas in search of anacondas. These non-venomous snakes are among the largest in the world. It is not uncommon for us to spot one that is 3 or 4 metres long, though some claim to have seen anacondas more than twice that size.
After a long morning in the sun, you may wish to spend the hottest part of the day swimming in the river (use the rope swing!), or lying down for a siesta in the shade. After lunch, we’ll head out for a fishing trip. The catch: piranhas. These predatory fish are abundant in the region, and have been a dietary staple of indigenous communities for generations. Our guides know the best spots to find piranhas, and will teach you traditional methods of catching them using raw beef for bait.
As evening sets in, we motor back downriver to the football pitch from yesterday. Once again, you’ll have the opportunity to unwind with other travellers, or play a guests-vs-guides game as the sun sets. Grab an extra beer for dinner if you like, before heading back to the lodge to eat. Typical dinners include rice, lentils, pasta, salad, fresh vegetables, and bread.
When you've eaten your fill, your guide will clear the table then introduce you to a Bolivian tradition: chewing coca leaves. A mild stimulant, coca leaves offer an amount of energy to the body equivalent to a cup of coffee, and are frequently enjoyed by local families during conversations after dinner. As night falls, we pass out candles and invite guests to chat or play cards.
For those guests who like to get an early start, we offer a pre-dawn ride a bit downriver. As the moon sets, the pampas begin to prepare itself for morning. Howler monkeys can be heard along the riverbanks. We’ll arrive at an open spot a few minutes away to watch the slow, beautiful sunrise.
After breakfast, we set off upriver to a small lake where pink dolphins congregate to socialize. If you like, you're welcome to jump into the water for the unforgettable experience of swimming with these rare animals. The dolphins may brush against you as you swim, but are harmless and unbothered by your presence.
After your swim, we’ll return to the lodge for lunch. You’ll have some free time to take a siesta and pack up your things, before we set off in the afternoon for the return ride to Rurrenabaque.
Note: Minimum passengers for this tour.
DAY 1: 09:00 - 09:15
Pick up from your hotel or hostel
DAY 1: 09:15
Yacuma Pampas, town of Santa Rosa del Yacuma
DAY 2: 08:30
Head into the Pampas in search of anacondas
DAY 3: 17:00
Arrive to Rurrenabaque
- English speaking tour guides
- A pair of rubber boots (largest size 45EUR, for bigger sizes please bring your hiking boots. In rainy season, always bring your hiking boots)
- Bottled mineral water (2nd and 3rd day)
- Medical Assistance
- Meals (veggie or meat)
- Transport in a mini-bus and motor boat
- Camping equipment (beds, sheets, blankets)
- Shared toilet and shower
- Entrance to the Santa Rosa Park (Bs 150)
- Transportation from La Paz-Rurrenabaque-La Paz
- First day breakfast and last day dinner (during the tour)
- Snacks and beverages
- Transfer from or to airport
- Clothing suitable for humid, tropical weather, for trekking through bushes and travelling by boat, canoe
- 4-6 pair of socks, 4 t-shirts, 2 pairs of shorts for walking
- 2-3 pairs of cotton pants/trousers (or other light material)
- 3 long sleeved cotton shirts (light colours for sun and mosquitoes)
- Hiking boots
- Sneakers/trainers (rubber shoes for boat trips) or flip flops
- Light windbreaker
- Bathing suit
- Hat or cap
- A bottle of water (only for 1st day)
- Rain coat or rain poncho (bring it with you for boat trips)
- Waterproof bags to protect equipment on boat rides
- Camera and film
- Flashlight w/batteries, one per person
- 1 small to medium backpack
- Towel and toilet paper
- Padlock (to lock the door of your room)
MINIMUM 2 PASSENGERS FOR THIS TOUR
CHILD (UP TO 3 YRS OLD)
In order to obtain this discount, the child must be up to 3 years of age on the date they are due to take the tour.
CHILD (UP TO 9 YRS OLD)
In order to obtain this discount, the child must be up to 9 years of age on the date they are due to take the tour.
Cancellation or changes of this tour:
CHANGES: Any changes to the tour date are free 2 days prior to the tour date, before 5:00 pm (Bolivia time). After this time, there is a 60% change fee.
NO SHOWS & CANCELLATIONS: If you cancel 3 days before the tour begins before 5:00 pm (Bolivia time) or earlier, a 15% administration fee will apply (+ the card fee). After this time, there is a 100% no shows or cancellation fee.
You must email email@example.com (include the name of the tour and the reservation number) to cancel this tour or to make any changes.
How does the wet season affect Rurrenabaque and tours?
These tours run year-round, and in general rain does not stop tours from going. The exception is when there has been very heavy, sustained rainfall, and the Rurrenabaque area becomes flooded (the pampas, the jungle floor, the local roads and even the town itself). This is not common but has happened in recent years, and you just have to check the local news prior to departure times, or ask us for the latest info. The main issues caused during wet season for Rurrenabaque are delays to the flights between La Paz – Rurre, and Rurre - La Paz, which can regularly be affected due to weather. We advise flying out the day before your tour, and flying back in the early morning the day after you tour, in order to give yourself some time in case of delays. Also, if there is something you have to be back for, such as an international flight, we recommended having one more buffer day beforehand, just to make sure. Delays of a whole day are also possible. We recommend Amaszonas Airline to travel to Rurrenabaque. Most people fly to Rurrenabaque, but there is also a bus service that takes about 18 hours during dry season. During the wet season, the journey can take as much as 40 hours, as the road is washed away, blocked by landslides, and becomes a river of mud. We strongly recommend against trying to take this bus during the wet season (we don't really recommend it during the dry season either!).
Which is the best season to visit the Bolivian Jungle and Pampas?
The climate is mostly tropical all year round, and therefore it is possible to visit during any season. However, the best time is in the dry season, from the beginning of April to the end of November.
Is there malaria in Rurrenabaque and in the areas where pampas and jungle tours take place?
Whilst it is feasible that malaria could exist in Rurrenabaque, the pampas, and the jungle areas nearby because there are plenty of mosquitoes, there have not been any reported instances of malaria. We do not consider it necessary to take malaria tablets for our tours, but if you wish to do so then you should bring them with you, as you might not be able to get the brand you want in Bolivia. There is also the possibility of Dengue Fever and Yellow Fever, so you must protect yourself from insect bites as much as possible. There are good options available to purchase in Rurrenabaque.
What are the essentials to bring to the tour?
One backpack, sturdy duffel bag, or easily managed suitcase, a daypack, sturdy shoes or hiking boots comfortable enough for walking, sandals or shoes you don't mind getting wet, a money belt or pouch (leave your wallet at home - they make easy targets for pickpockets in the city), personal medications, a camera, film, and a waterproof case, and clothing. Generally, the Amazon is quite hot, but during the evenings if it rains it can cool down quite a bit. Fast drying clothes that can be layered work best. Don’t forget anti-bacterial soap, wipes, or gel such as Purell, sunblock of at least SPF 15 (the tropical sun is strong), insect repellent with DEET (diethyl-meta-toluamide), anti-itch cream for insects bites, a flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries, a toothbrush, toothpaste, toiletries, etc, sunglasses, a swiss army style knife, a sun/rain hat, plastic bags (zip lock bags and a larger trash bag), a water bottle, a small padlock to lock your bag shut, a travel alarm clock, and a first aid kit.
I want to be really safe. Which things should i put in my own first aid kid?
A first aid kit could include: Pepto-Bismol for mild diarrhoea, throat lozenges, motion sickness medication, sunburn salve such as aloe vera gel, aspirin or other painkillers, antibiotics for travellers’ diarrhoea (TD), antacid tablets, band-aids/plasters/bandages, ACE bandage, mole skin for blisters/blister plasters.
What clothes should I bring to the tour?
You should bring: A light, water-resistant jacket that will keep you warm on a cool evening or during a sudden downpour, yet which can be stuffed away or worn loosely on a warm day, a cheap rain poncho, a fleece or wool sweater, two pair of shorts and/or swimming trunks, a bathing suit, one to two pairs of pants (one that can be worn to a nice restaurant or club, and another rugged pair for hiking in the rainforest), one long-sleeved shirt or blouse (a long-sleeved cotton shirt is great for the jungle), and 2 to 3 short-sleeved shirts, cotton socks, and underwear (all light colored clothing to avoid mosquitoes).
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