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The Amazon Basin

Getting there & around

Rurrenabaque is the Amazon’s most popular settlement. Flying is the best way of getting here, though many choose to take the treacherous bus ride from La Paz, part of which is down the ‘World’s Most Dangerous Road’. Buses going back to La Paz from Rurrenabaque are less crowded – many people decide to wing it (or take a faster Jeep) after surviving the initial bus ride.

Transportes Aéreos Militares (TAM) and Amaszonasfly daily between La Paz and Rurrenabaque. Their low-flying planes afford great glimpses of Lake Titicaca after takeoff before squeezing past Chacaltaya and soaring over the Yungas. You can see the landscape change from desolate, rugged highlands to lush, forested lowlands. And the grass landing strip in Rurrenabaque is worthy of more than one post-trip tale.

Generally, 4WDs are necessary to reach most off-road spots, but there are regular bus services between major towns. Boat travel is big here, especially in the rainy season, when it is usually the only real option. Riverboat travel isn’t for everyone: it’s relaxing but slow going and there are no real schedules. While the scenery can be mesmerizing, it changes little, so you’ll want to bring a couple of books along. Passenger comfort is the last thing cargo-boat builders have in mind, but Bolivian accommodations standards are still superior to those on the Brazilian ‘cattle boats’ that ply the Amazon proper.