On Wednesday we set off to Rurrenabaque, a town from which you take trips to the rainforest and Pampus (Bolivian flat land - very jungle like). We flew in a plane with only 20 seats and landed on a small grass clearing in a very hot and humid Rurrenabaque.
After a very bumpy 3 hour jeep ride early on Thursday morning we arrived at the yacuma river, having been given peanut juice amongst other things for lunch). Other than us, there were two older Argentinian women on our trip and we all got into a long boat with deckchairs in it to travel to our ecolodge (really just a wooden hut in the jungle). On the way we saw lots and lots of caymans, don`t worry only the black ones are dangerous and we only saw 3 of those in the whole trip, capybaras, turtles, squirrel monkeys and many many different types of birds. At one point we pulled into the side to look at the monkeys and they were so inquisitive they came right onto our boat, they were sooo adorable but we didn´t go near them in case they bit us.
The next day we got up early to go searching for anacondas. They are really rare and most groups don´t see any, but are guide was hopefull as when we were having breakfast we saw a toucan which are also really rare so he thought we might be a lucky group. We walked for about an hour through this boggy lake which had really sticky and wet mud that was so deep it came up to the top of our wellington boots. On the boat the day before we had bet that the largest of the Argentian women would probably fall in the river at some point because she was quite wobbly (she really as large). Then, as we were walking through this mud we suddenly heard a plop and a squeal and a squelch and we turned around to see this woman completely sat down in this sticky wet mud with her hands in the air. We honestly couldn´t help laughing because it was so funny and even now writing this we are cracking up because the image of her in the mud was soooo funny. We were lucky enough to see an anaconda which was cool, our guide seemed really good and new the best places to look and we found a big one (2m) in a bush. As we found it relatively early in the morning we could go back to the lodge and have nice cold showers before lunch, which Steph especially needed as once her boot had got stuck in the mud and her whole foot and sock and trouser leg and hand was covered in black mud. After lunch we had to have a siesta because it was way to hot to do anything except lie in a hammock.
After lunch we went fishing for piranhas to have for supper. First though we had to catch sardines to use as bait. We only used a bit of fishing line with a wooden block at one end and a hook with a tiny bit of raw meat on at the other but were quite succesful. Steph was best at catching sardines, and I was best at catching yellow piranhas (they had to go back though because they were too small to eat). We each caught 6 or 7 fish which we were very proud of although we only got 3 piranhas for dinner (don´t worry there was other food!). The guide caught 2, and Charlotte caught the other. Then we went to watch the sunset at this hut further upstream. It was really cool because the sun literally turns bright red right before it disappears. On the boat trip back to our ecolodge, it was pitch black and we turned the engine off so just drifted downstream. If you shone your head-torch along the bank you could see all the cayman eyes shining back at you, and there were fire-flies in the air which were pretty. As we were floating along 3 sardines just jumped into our boat which gave us a shock and the other women almost a heart-attack, and was quite annoying that we had spent hours trying to catch aobut 10 earlier and without any effort we had just now got 3 more! Steph was really brave and picked the one near us up and through it back into the water (it was still flapping about) so at least that one got saved!
The next day we went on another walk in the morning to look for howler monkeys, which again we were lucky enough to see. We also saw macaws which are the only endangered animal in that area. After an early lunch we headed back down the river to Rurrenabaque. On the way we stopped at a part of the river to go swimming with the pink dolphins. Normally you can´t go in the water because it´s piranha infested, but the dolphins eat and scare away the piranhas so it was safe for us.
We are safely back in La Paz now after our flight back from Rurrenabaque, ready to carry on with our adventures.