Getting there & away
Rurre tries to make the most of its visitors by charging foreigners a ‘tourist tax’ of US$1 at the airport. That’s in addition to the bus terminal tax and the US$0.80 airport tax.
The bus terminal is a good 20-minute walk northeast of the center. Minibuses and shared taxis to Reyes (US$1.35, 30 minutes) leave when full from the corner of Santa Cruz and Comercio. When the roads are passable, Totai and Yungueña (892-2112) run daily buses between Rurrenabaque and La Paz (US$6.50, 18 hours), via Yolosa (US$6, 15 hours), 7km from Coroico. There are also Thursday and Saturday dry-season runs to Trinidad (normal/bus cama, or sleeper, US$17/22, 17 hours) via Yucumo, San Borja and San Ignacio de Moxos. Dry-season services sometimes reach Riberalta (US$18, 17 to 40 hours) and Guayaramerín (US$22, 18 hours to three days).
Thanks to the Guayaramerín road, there’s little cargo transportation down the Río Beni to Riberalta. There’s no traffic at all during periods of low water. If you do find something, plan on at least four or five days at around US$7 per day, including meals, for the 1000km trip. Going upstream to Guanay, the journey takes as many as 10 days (on a cargo boat). Except at times of low water, motorized canoe transportation upriver (US$15, 12 hours) may be occasionally available; ask around at the port or larger tour agencies.
Rurre’s humble airport is a grassy landing strip a few kilometers north of town. The number of flights to Rurre is increasing all the time, but tickets still sell out fast in the high season. Even when the windows are hopelessly scratched, the glorious flights from La Paz afford superb views of 6000m peaks as they climb over the Cordillera Real, then pass over the Yungas, where the land dramatically drops away and opens onto the forested expanses of the Amazon Basin. Have your tour agency purchase your return ticket in advance. If you’re stuck, try using the Reyes airport, an hour northeast by bus or shared taxi.
In theory, TAM (892-2398; Santa Cruz) flies between La Paz and Rurre (US$50, one hour) daily except Tuesday. In reality, flights are often canceled or diverted to Reyes in the rainy season. Note that TAM tickets are standby; reserving a seat does not guarantee a place on the return flight, so be sure to confirm your return booking at the in-town office as soon as you arrive.
Amaszonas (892-2472; Santa Cruz near Avaroa) has four daily flights to La Paz (US$60), but whether the plane will take off is never entirely certain. Make sure you reconfirm your ticket the day before your flight otherwise you may find yourself without a seat. It also flies daily to Trinidad (US$50) via La Paz, and Santa Cruz (US$80), though the latter flight (via La Paz and Trinidad) takes eight hours, so you might be better off getting a flight to La Paz and then catching a direct AeroSur flight to Santa Cruz.