We took a short 40 minute afternoon flight from La Paz to Rurrenabaque for 650 bolivianos each. We had contemplated taking the bus from Coroico but learned that it would be around 14 hours and would be arriving in the middle of the night. As we couldn’t pre-book a hostel and had no idea what to expect, we decided to treat ourselves and take the short flight instead.
From the tiny airport of Rurrenabaque, which is only 1 runway with a small building, we took the waiting shuttle bus for 7 bolivianos each. The bus takes you all the way into town and drops you off on the main road outside the Amaszonas office.
The town of Rurrenabaque itself is quite small and with only a couple of main roads, most of which are filled with agencies, restaurants and hotels/hostels, it is very easy to get around on foot. One thing you can’t help but notice is the distinct lack of cars in the town. In fact around 90% of all transport is done on motorcycles, even taxis and as everyone seems to ride along at a gentle pace the town has a very laid back feel to it.
As per our agreement with Madidi Travel, our first night’s accommodation was free and we were settled into the Santa Ana hostel. A word of warning, if you can avoid this place then do so. It is situated next-door to a nightclub and there is no escaping the noise, even with ear plugs.
The following day we checked out and found Hostel Pahuichi, situated opposite the Madidi Travel agency. Although, there were building works going on during the day the hostel was much better in terms of quality and value. The only downside was that there was no kitchen, in fact after looking at almost every hostel in town we only found 1 place which would have offered us cooking facilities, but as we didn’t realise we would end up staying as long as we did we chose Pahuichi instead.
We had agreed with Madidi Travel in advance that we would decide when we would enter the Serere reserve once we had arrived in Rurrenabaque. We had not been feeling too good since Coroico and did not want to risk going in and then feeling worse. Unfortunately, in the end my partner recuperated after a few days but I got a lot worse. So much so that I couldn’t eat for a few days and therefore had to cancel my trip, so in the end he went for the 4 days by himself instead.
In total I spent 14 days in Rurrenabaque. We had further delays getting back out as there were strikes in La Paz and all flights were cancelled. This then led us to having to change our flights and basically wait until they had a plane that was not only arriving but also had the space to take us. We learned that Amaszonas were basically leasing planes from other companies in between their schedules. An adventure by itself!
As such, I got to know the town fairly well, for nice dinners which are not too expensive try the Luna Lounge which also has a book exchange and wi-fi. Breakfasts can be had at the Cafe de la Jungla and are served all day long, again with wi-fi access. (As is also happens to be next-door to hostel Pahuichi you can still get access from your room once you have the key). For fantastic fruit salads and fresh smoothies try TuttiFrutti, no wi-fi but a great little place to restore your vitamins!
As I missed out this time around, I have already decided that I will have come back to Bolivia/Peru/Ecuador in the near future and do a proper Amazon trip for a couple of months, as I can’t live knowing I got this close and missed out.