• Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Trip Includes
  • Trip Excludes
This journey to the pampas (savannas) of the Beni and to Madidi National Park is the perfect introduction to the Upper Amazon Basin of Bolivia…you will be amazed at the quantity of wildlife and amazing tropical landscapes!   The variety of eco-systems and flora and fauna you will see on this trip is just fabulous. The pampas of the Beni and the adjacent wetlands and small rivers have an abundant variety of birds, mammals and reptiles. Observing pink river dolphins, anacondas and caiman in their natural home is an experience that should not be missed and is relatively easy to do here as it is still a wild place with little if any development except cattle ranches that for the most part are just the pampas with fences. After visiting the animal-rich pampas we head to Chalalan Eco-Lodge, which is situated next to Laguna Chalalan – near the Tuichi River in Madidi National Park (as featured in March 2000 issue of National Geographic). Departure begins from Rurrenabaque via a motorized boat on the Beni and Tuichi Rivers for approximately five hours. The lodge is owned and administered by the natives of the village of San Jose de Chupiamonas, 8-10 hours via motorized boat up the Tuichi River from Rurrenabaque. Generations of the Quechua-Tacana people living in this region make them the obvious choice as naturalist guides that will take you along trails through the forest to view birds, mammals and reptiles and to share their knowledge of their home with you. Day hikes and overnight camping journeys to different regions will introduce you to the abundant variety of animals and plants that make this park one of the most diverse in the world. Chalalan is the perfect getaway for those that are in love with the neo-tropics and also for those just venturing into world of the Amazon for the first time. Within just 8 days you will get an in-depth view of the wonders of the Bolivian Upper Amazon Basin that includes the pampas and the rainforest. It’s a magical location – unlike any other in the Bolivian Amazon!

Typically, flights to Bolivia depart late in the evening from Miami and arrive in La Paz the next morning. Depending on your airline, you would arrive at different times on day 1 in La Paz. Please let us know your flight info so we can coordinate airport shuttle schedules and other services.


Day 1

La Paz – Rurrenabaque

We will arrange the transfer for you from your hotel to the airport for the flight to Rurrenabaque. The flight is an hour from the Andes to the Amazon. Upon arrival in Rurrenabaque we will pick you up and transfer you to the hotel to check in and relax. We will have lunch together and talk about the upcoming trip so you can prepare. The afternoon is on your own to explore this colorful town on the banks of the mighty Beni River. At the appropiate time we will have dinner together. Overnight in Rurrenabaque. (L,D)

Day 2

Rurrenabaque – Pampas

We will have breakfast at 7:30 AM so that we have enough time to enjoy ourselves on the drive out to the natural pampas (savannas) of the Beni. We will board 4×4 jeeps in Rurrenabaque and drive northeast for approximately 3½ hours to the village of Santa Rosa. Upon arrival we will have lunch and then continue to our camp – a rustic eco-lodge near the Yacuma River. We will board dugout canoes on the Yacuma River and travel up the river looking for pink river dolphins, capybaras, turtles and caiman, as well as a great variety of birdlife from herons to macaws and from hawks to toucans. We will also go into the savannas to look for the world’s largest snake – the anaconda, and if we’re lucky we’ll find one and observe it closely. After our wildlife adventure we will return via motorized boat to our camp in the late afternoon. After a short rest we will have dinner. Afterwards we will go out once more and look for caiman at night as they are easily spotted because their eyes glow bright red or yellow once in the beam of our flashlights. Hopefully we can catch some small ones to view up close and take some photos before returning them to their home. We return to Caracoles Lodge for the evening. (B,L,D)

Day 3

Pampas – Rurrenabaque

After an early breakfast we once again head out early in canoes to observe more wildlife in these natural savannas. This region is so rich in animals that we have everything from giant anteaters to ocelot and from Jabirou storks to Suri (the Amazonian ostrich) and from pink river dolphins to anacondas! After this morning’s jaunt we will return to Caracoles Lodge for lunch. Afterwards we board our vehicles again and head back to rurrenabaque and arrive in the late afternoon. We will check into our hotel once again. Overnight in Rurrenabaque at Hotel Tropical (3*). (B,L,D)

Day 4

Rurrenabaque – Chalalan

After breakfast our journey will begin with early morning departure via motorized boat up the Beni and then onto the Tuichi River. Along the way we will have ample opportunities to view the typical Amazon basin made up of rainforest, rivers and savannas – home to thousands of bird species and other animals. Further up-river the scenery will change and the landscape will show its hidden secrets as we go through Bullet Canyon and get further into the rainforest After approximately five hours we will arrive at the Tuichi river port for Chalalan. A short half-hour hike through the rainforest with a local guide will introduce you to the natural ecosystems that are living and struggling to survive in the tropical forest and bring you to Chalalan lodge – situtaed next to Chalalan Lagoon. Lunch upon arrival. Afterwards you’ll have the option of taking a siesta or just relaxing in the hammocks. Later in the afternoon we can go on a canoe trip on Chalalan Lagoon or take a hike on one of numerous trails near the lodge for birdwatching and to enjoy the natural peace in the area. Dinner and an optional night hike to see nocturnal animals. Overnight at Chalalan Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 5

Chalalan – Eslabon River – Chalalan

After breakfast, we depart on a day hike on the Paraba Trail bordering Laguna Chalalan as we go through the rainforest where we can view macaws and other species in the canopy high above our heads. Further on we cross the Rayamayo creek after going through various sections of forest with trees that adapt to their geographical location – much of it based on the ava.htmlity of sunlight within the forest. We join the Marimono trail until we get to the Eslabon River where we will have lunch and rest. This is a permanent camp that is used for overnight trips. After lunch we make our way slowly back to Chalalan and take time to stop at the overview on the Paraba trail to see the lagoon and the tropical rainforest that extends far into the distance. We will cross the lagoon via dugout canoe to the lodge. After dinner there’s an optional night hike or a paddle on the lagoon to see nocturanl animals. Overnight in Chalalan Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 6

Chalalan – Rayamayo – Chalalan

After breakfast we go on an early morning hike on the Silbador trail until we arrive at Rayamayo River to view birds as they begin their daily activities. We continue on the Mutun and Anta trails that will take us back to the lodge where we will have lunch. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy the beauty of Chalalan at your own pace and indulge in your interests. Canoe trips on the lagoon are always available for bird or animal watching. Dinner and rest. Optional night hike for those interested in viewing nocturnal animals. Overnight in Chalalan Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 7

Chalalan – Rurrenabaque

After breakfast we will have time for a morning tour of another part of the forest to see wildlife and get to learn more about the rainforest. We will have lunch at Chalalan Lodge. Afterwards we will walk to the river and board the boat back to Rurrenabaque. The approximate travel time will be about 3 ½ hours to Rurrenabaque – depending on water levels. As we head downriver you’ll have time to reflect on all the wonderful things that you saw in Chalalan. The scenery unfolds once again as we come to the confluence of the Tuichi and Beni rivers and finish in Rurrenabaque. We will check into our hotel and the rest of the day is free for you to rest and relax or explore at your own pace. Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Rurrenabaque at Hotel Tropical (3*). (B,L)

Day 8

Rurrenabaque – La Paz

Am transfer to the airport for the morning flight to La Paz. We should arrive in La Paz in one hour. Upon arrival we will transfer you to a hotel of your choice (not included in price quote). (B)

As per the itinerary:
  1. hotel and hostel accommodations
  2. meals as noted (B,L,D)
  3. private vehicles
  4. bi-lingual guides
  5. airport transfers
  6. decades of experience and local knowledge
International airfare is NOT included in this itinerary.