The pampas are an ecosystem unique to South America. From the Quechua word for “plains”, the pampas is the vast, treeless savannah that extends across eastern Bolivia to Brazil, and south into Argentina. The plains are sparsely populated and home to a vast array of wildlife. Protected areas across the pampas preserve the fragile ecosystems needed to support a variety of endangered and endemic species.
In the wet season, the many rivers that crisscross the region overrun their banks, flooding the pampas and transforming it into a lush, verdant landscape. This regular flooding prevents the growth of high trees, leaving only low, bushy vegetation and an open environment ideally suited to spotting wildlife.
Our pampas tour takes you down the meandering Yacuma River, where a stunning variety of animals gather to cool themselves in the slow-moving water. Along the riverbanks, you may spot caimans and crocodiles, capybaras, anacondas, squirrel and howler monkeys, pink dolphins, and the hundreds of bird species that make their home in the region.
We depart Rurrenabaque at 9:00 by car, passing through sleepy Amazon villages and past small family fincas. We arrive by noon at Santa Rosa, a small town on the banks of the Yacuma River. Here we share a traditional Bolivian lunch of hot soup, meat, rice, yucca, vegetables, and fresh fruit.
From Santa Rosa, we proceed by boat down the Yacuma River. We drift downstream slowly, careful not to disturb 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 arrive at the Indigena ecolodge around 4:00. 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 tends a small shack (extra not included) selling wine, cold beer, and snacks. Here, you can meet travelers 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 breathtaking spectacle—we head back to the lodge for dinner.
When the sun sets, the pampas wakes up. Birds and monkeys cry out in the darkness, and small predators dart through the bushes in search of breakfast. We set out in the boat with flashlights in search of the biggest predator of all: caimans. These members of the gator family can grow to 12 feet long. Pitch-black, they hunt along the river during the night, eating snakes, fish and the stray bird. 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 share a hearty meal of eggs, pancakes, pastries, and fresh fruit. After breakfast, we don high rubber boots (to protect against snakebites) and head into the high grass of the pampas in search of anaconda and snakes. These non-venomous snakes are among the largest in the world. It is not uncommon for us to spot one 3 or 4 meters 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 head out looking for a fishing place. 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 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. Again you’ve got an opportunity to unwind with other travelers or play a guests-vs-guides game as the sun sets. Grab an extra beer for dinner if you’d like, and we head back to the lodge to eat. Typical dinners include rice, lentils, pasta, salads, fresh vegetables, and bread.
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 begins to prepare itself for morning. Howler monkeys can be heard along the riverbanks. We arrive at an open spot a few minutes away to watch the slow spectacle of sunrise.
After breakfast, we set off upriver where pink dolphins congregate to socialize. If you’d like, you’re welcome to jump into the water for the unforgettable experience of swimming with these rare animales. The dolphins may brush against you as you swim, but are harmless and unbothered by your presence.
After your swim, we return to the lodge for lunch. You’ve got an opportunity to take a siesta and pack up your things before we set off in the afternoon for the return ride to Rurrenabaque.
1 – Modification of Start Date – the tour can be modified without cost as long as it is requested 48 Hrs before the start of the tour, during office
hours, and before reconfirmation of the change via e-mail. Otherwise the penalties are as follows:
2- Cancellation of Tour – The tour must be canceled at least 72 Hrs before booked start date to get a refund of 95% of total service price. Otherwise the penalties are as follows:
*service cost is the total price of the tours services paid for and does not include the 5% online payment processing fee which is non refundable.
3- Failure to notify the cancellation or modification of the service requested according to the specified times in numbers 1.- and 2. – There will be no refund.
4- The passenger must be at Indigena Tours office (Rurrenabaque) at 8:45 am (maximum). Otherwise penalties will be applied according to paragraphs number 1. – or 2.- The departure time of the groups is at 9:00 a.m.
Calle Avaroa between Calle Aniceto Arce & Calle Pando
Tel: (+591) 3892 2091
Cel: (+591) 73517203