Relaxing ‘Rurre,’ (pronounced zussay), as the town is endearingly known, has a fabulous setting. Sliced by the deep Río Beni and surrounded by mossy green hills, the town’s mesmerizing sunsets turn the sky a burned orange, and a dense fog sneaks down the river among the lush, moist trees. Once darkness falls, the surrounding rainforest comes alive, and croaks, barks, buzzes and roars can be heard from a distance.
Rurre is a major traveler base. Backpackers fill the streets, and restaurants, cafes and hotels cater mainly to Western tastes. Some travelers spend their days relaxing in the ubiquitous hammocks, but at some stage the majority go off on riverboat adventures into the rainforest or pampas.
The area’s original people, the Tacana, were one of the few lowland tribes that resisted Christianity. They are responsible for the name ‘Beni,’ which means ‘wind,’ as well as the curious name of ‘Rurrenabaque,’ which is derived from ‘Arroyo Inambaque,’ the Hispanicized version of the Tacana name ‘Suse-Inambaque,’ the ‘Ravine of Ducks.’