The Pampas

57smThe Pampas – another difficult post for narrowing down photos to share.  I have a hard time weeding through the wild-life photos.

The Pampas was the 2nd of my two attractions in Rurrenabaque, Bolvia.  First I visited the Jungle (click for more about my jungle experience) in Madidi National Park.  Most tourists who visit Rurrenabaque choose one excursion or the other, and most choose the Pampas. I am very happy I had the time for both.  In all honesty, I preferred the jungle because it was a more educational and eye-opening experience for me.  However, I loved The Pampas for different reasons, and I would recommend this trip to animal lovers.

However, I would NOT recommend this trip to the more prissy travelers (no offense).  The truth is, I would have enjoyed my time in The Pampas more had I been with a different group of people, and that can make a big difference in how you enjoy yourself anywhere.  We were a group of 11 divided into 2 boats, and for some reason, they divided us into boys and girls.  I think I would have been much happier in the boy’s boat – because the girls were all very “complain-y” – and clearly did not enjoy the Pampas as much as I did.  I am not entirely sure why “prissier” travelers would go on excursions into the wild where you know you will be hot, surrounded by mosquitoes and sleeping in less than 4-star accommodations.  If these things are too much for you, you will not enjoy The Pampas (or the jungle, for that matter).  However, if you can put up with some minor annoyances and less that high-class sleeping conditions (think summer camp style), and you love nature – then this is a spectacular thing to do.

The Pampas tours are 3 days and 2 nights of exploring the Bolivian wetlands in a motorized canoe.  Most of the excursion is extremely relaxing, as you are sitting on a boat surrounded by an incredible natural landscape.  The wetlands are massive and unlike any other landscape I have explored in my life.  The main goal of the trip is to spot as much wildlife as possible.  And in this extremely rich-with-life habitat, interesting animals are impossible NOT to come across.

Some highlights that people look forward to is Anaconda spotting (which can be challenging and weather/time of year permitting), Pink Dolphin spotting (they appear pink when you see them under-water), searching for alligators at night, and fishing for piranhas.

I particularly enjoyed getting up-close and personal with the giant caiman alligator – and even petting the more moderate sized (regular?) alligator after our guide fed it treats like a dog.  I also loved seeing the incredible variety of birds in this region, including a pre-historic dinosaur era bird with a great spiky hair-do.2sm3sm7sm1smThis birdy above is a stork – so if he shows up at your door, be ready for a surprise!  – and below is a series of photos of the beautiful Heron, these graceful birds are in no short supply in The Pampas.4sm5sm30sm6sm39sm38smUnfortunately, the famous pink dolphins were not thrilled to pose for my pictures, so this is the best I can do for you:8smAnd here are the awesome looking pre-historic birdies:9smWe saw plenty of turtles.10smThe squirrel monkey’s are amongst everyone’s favorite.  These cheeky little guys were thrilled to put on a show for us odd-ball humans; they seemed equally intrigued by us as we were by them – and 2 of them even jumped in our boat.11sm12sm13smOk, eagles are some badass looking birds.14sm43smIf you decide to visit The Pampas, your accommodations will look something like this (don’t expect solid ground beneath your feet):15sm16smThe Pampas even has a bar for visitors to watch the sunset or lay around in hammocks while drinking a beer:17smMore incredible birds:18sm31sm19smLots of insects, crabs, and other creepy things:25sm21sm23smOn our hunt for the Anacondas we first found traces they had left behind, and then found a baby!22sm24smI have not yet mentioned all of the beautiful dragonflies and butterflies:26sm27sm28sm29smAs well as other less beautiful, but still interesting creepy crawlies:4462smSadly, the best photo I got of this Capybara (the world’s largest brand of guinea pig) was this:32smHowlers! These guys were quite howl-y at night.33sm34sm36sm35smAnd more interesting birdies:37sm41sm40smOur guide showing us the teeth of the Piranha:45smA capuchin monkey finally showed his face!46smAnd the wetlands themselves are filled with exceptional and unusual beauty:42sm50sm48sm53sm52sm47smA mild disappointment – our sloth spotting was merely a distant ball of darkness.  I was really hoping to get a good photo of a sloth so I could make t-shirts for my family, whom you may believe are named the Robinson’s but we are in fact Team Sloth.51smThe enormous Caiman Alligator:54sm55smThe regular, slightly larger than me (but could still totally kick my ass) alligator:56sm58sm59smDuckies:60sm61smAnd I will end with another series from the squirrel monkey’s because they are just so damn cute, and seemed to love having their pictures taken.63sm66sm64sm65sm

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