It felt so good being back to normal again, after our horrible food poisoning. We booked a Pampas tour with Dolphins tours. The pampas is the wet land at the Amazon Basin in Bolivia, the lands are covered in deepwater during the rainy season and dry in the dry season. In the wet season many animals are found here such as alligators, pink river dolphins, birds and monkeys. As it was a quiet part of the season we only had 4 people in our group, Chow-Min from Korea, Mayuni from France and the two of us. It took about 4 hours to get to the pampas area as we got stuck in the mud on the way, this was hilarious our driver had no idea how to drive and drove the truck right into the centre of the mud pit on the road, loads of other cars buses and lorry's were also stuck. After trying all techniques to try and get out we were eventually pulled out by a lorry and off we were once more bouncing around all over the place in the 4 x 4.
We had a bite to eat at 13.00 and by 14.00 we were getting ready to board the river boat, mainly covering ourselves with mosquito repellent.
It was very relaxing cruising down the pampas and within the first 30 minutes we saw loads of turtles chilling on logs, and a few yellow monkeys. After about 3 hours of being in the boat we got to our lodge it slept over 50 people and there was only 4 of us. The lodge was really cool, about 4 metres up on stilts from the water and surrounded by lush pampas and animals.
We had a resident alligator, called Pedro (our guide told us), he was so peaceful and unlike crocodiles they mean no harm and are not aggressive.
After chilling and watching Pedro we went to another lodge to watch the sunset, we met these cool Belgian guys Igor and Rhian, had a chat a drink and spotted a couple of pink dolphins.
We then hopped back into our boat and went looking for Caimen, didn't really see any, it was bit disappointing. Back at the lodge our private cook made us dinner and were in bed by 9.30pm as we had no electricity, I had to have a shower in the dark whilst mishee held up the I-Pod for light (we forgot our torch - doh!). Sleeping was a nightmare for me as it was silly hot and I just couldn't sleep as I was sweating so much, Mish couldn't sleep because she thought a big Caimen was going to sneak in through the door!
The next morning after a lovely breakie we went looking for anaconda's through some marsh land, wasn't best impressed with our guide as he bombed it off in front and left us behind, 2 hours of pretty pointless walking through deep smelly water we didn't see any snakes wasn't too bothered as snakes scare the hell out of me!
After a sleep in the hammocks and having another chat with Pedro we headed out to look for pink dolphins, there must have been 3 or 4 around us at one point they came up and showed their faces and fins to us! They are pretty shy animals and don't really come that close to the boat, Mayuin and I got in for a swim with them and one or two were pretty close to us, this was really cool. You don't get the chance to swim with pink dolphins every day!
We went to one of the guides friends house and the local people were celebrating the festival of Rio, dancing and having a great time, here there was a football pitch and we had a game of 6 on 6 tourists verses locals, we took them down 6 - 2 and this made my day, having a good run around was a right laugh the local boys weren't happy though, I was pleased I got two of the goals!
That night we had dinner and our guide gave us some great information on the wildlife and it was another early night, another sleepless night!
On the last day of the Pampas tour we went looking for Toucan's but no luck, but we saw loads of different types of birds and 3 different types of monkeys, this is the best bit of the trip just cruising around viewing the wildlife very cool!
After lunch we jumped back into the boat and went back to the base to catch our 4 x 4 back to Rurrenabaque. On the way back to Rurrenabaque we stopped to do a bit of piranha fishing, Chow-min was the only person to catch one, it was a strange looking fish with dagger sharp teeth.
Was a cool tour it cost 500 bolivianos £50, very good value for what you get.
Back in Rurrenabaque we spent one night back at hostel Oriental, an amazing friendly hostel and cheap £10 with a bathroom.
The next day at 2 we got the bus to the airport and our friends Igor and Rhian were on the same flight which was cool, the airport was tiny with the runway being just grass field, as we boarded I started to get really nervous as the plane was tiny and only had about 12 seats, the take off was fine and the flight was actually really smooth for the first 30 minutes. Its was a strange feeling landing in La Paz as we took off from 1000metres high and landed at 3,600m so didn't have to descend very much.
The landing was really dodgy and at one point the plane felt like it was going sideways, also the cockpit was open and you could hear a loud beeping sound as it got real bumpy something wasn't right, you could see out the pilots window, we saw the land coming towards us at a startling rate in the end they did great touching us down! We were all so happy.
Even though we were terrified on landing it beats being terrified for 20 hours on the death bus, and was a good experience.
I had to lend the Belgians money for the flight as they had left their card back at the hostel in La Paz and they didn't know they would fly back, but the bus was so bad they decided to fly, good choice! We shared a cab and went for a few beers in La Paz and then partied at the Loki hostel class night, Igor and Rhian were a right laugh.
The next day was a right off really so we just chilled. Tomorrow bright an early we are off to Copacabana on Lake Titicaca, only a 4 hour bus, no problem!
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