|Very very small plane|
We booked with Chatalan, this is a company which is highly reputable and not one of the cheapies.
We got up at 3am to get out 6.20am flight from La Paz to Rurrenabaque which was in a really small plane. Angel was unfortunately terrified, it was the smallest plane he has ever been on and it was a very bumpy ride with several drops!
The flight was only 30 minutes and we were met at the Airport (read: shack) by the manager of the Chatalan Rurrenabaque office. 10 minutes later we were in the office and getting a debrief on our trip.
We met our personal guide Nilo, there was one other group of Mexicans who had their own guide. Nilo would take us up the river to the Chatalan site and take us out for walks and canoe trips to see the jungle.
|The journey to Chatalan|
d at Chatalan for lunch. The river was magnificent, we saw loads of birds (mostly vultures) along the way and. Some spectacular scenery.
Our cabin was simple, we opted for a twin room as it was about US$100 cheaper, and it had its own bathroom and electricity from 6pm - 10pm. Each bed had a mosquito net. There were no blinds or curtains or glass windows, just fly screen. No one could see in as each cabin is within a secluded section of the site. The room was perfect for sleeping, in fact Ellen has had her best nights sleep of the whole trip here! The rooms are so dark as with the lights off there is no light source, no city, no cars, just jungle. Pitch black.
|Birds on the lake|
We ate our beautifully prepared dinner and went off to bed, as it's dark there is not a lot to do, it's early mornings and early bedtimes in the jungle. That night it started raining at about 1am, now this is proper Sydney rain, not London drizzle. It poured down in buckets for about 15 hours and when it finally stilled at about 4pm the next day we could venture out and see the carnage; the pathways to the cabins were ankle-deep in water, the lake had risen so high the canoe pier could not be seen, and when we did venture out for a walking trip we took a canoe to the other side of the lake and walked up a path as we knew that would be clearer, but there were still streams of water pouring down the hill. We walked up to a viewing platform they had made and stood watching the birds, mostly macaws, enjoying the respite from the rain.
|Most bridges had washed away.|
Our final day we woke to the sound of a Toucan, we've learnt their call and easily spotted one, then two in the trees high above our cabin. We had breakfast and began the 3.5 hour boat journey back to Rurrenabaque (it's faster on the way back as you have the river flow with you), had lunch in the town and arrived at the airport to find, to Angel's relief, that there was a much larger plane for the journey back!
Unfortunately it rained a bit on the boat on the way to the lodge and although the guides wrap your bags in tarpaulins, my bag got a bit wet, which is fine, but in the jungle nothing dries. Nothing. It's so humid and you are sweating that the clothes you have on get damp, when you take them off they don't dry unless you put them in direct sunlight. Needless to say we had wet clothes, shoes and towels. Lesson learnt.