Trip Report: Rafting to Rurrenabaque with Deep Rainforest Expeditions
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Nov 22, 2012 8:09 AM Last Post By: josharoundwow
Nov 17, 2012 12:01 PM
Trip Report: Rafting to Rurrenabaque with Deep Rainforest ExpeditionsMy partner and I recently completed a 5 day, 4 night rafting trip to Rurrenabaque with Deep Rainforest Expeditions. I am writing this report as prior to booking the trip we could find very little information about this option online in terms of other travelers experiences. We chose this option primarily because we were having so much difficulty getting a flight to Rurrenabaque, and my partner refused to do the bus or jeep option as he's quite tall and hates being cramped for such long periods of time. The trip cost 1850 Bolivianos (all inclusive for the 5 days) and went as follows:
Day 1 - Picked up from hostel in La Paz at midnight and driven to the starting point of the rafting, Guanay. It was a 12 hour journey, including a stop for breakfast, but the company hired a full sized bus and there were only 8 of us, so we could spread out. Arrived in Guanay at midday, had lunch and waiting to board the raft. Boarded (finally!) at 4:30pm and rafted for only one hour before setting up camp for the night at the riverside.
Day 2 - Rafted for 2-3 hours before stopping to go for a 40 minute walk to some truly beautiful waterfalls, with pristine turquoise pools along the way. Had a swim, filled up water bottles etc. then had lunch. Back on the raft for another few hours before camping for the night on a sandy 'beach' at the riverside.
Day 3 - Back on the raft for another 3-4 hours (very very hot that day, so there was intermittent swimming beside the raft!) before stopping for lunch at a pretty spot next to the river with heaps of different kinds of butterflies. After another hour or two of rafting we stopped for a walk in the jungle and found some fruit to eat. Spotted some macaws in the trees and took away some fresh bananas and papaya. Again to the rafting then camping for the night at a truly awful 'beach' with millions of sandflies. Got well and truly savaged by these awful little things that take no notice of 90% DEET repellent before the sun went down.
Day 4 - Rafting again, with lunch being eaten on the raft this time. Stopped not long afterwards for another walk and some more fruit collecting. Camped at a much better spot and saw a spectacular sunset. Almost there!
Day 5 - Woke up to have the pleasure of a puma swimming across the river to join us for breakfast! Really cool to see. Back on the raft, this time to try to make it on time to Rurrenabaque. Stopped for lunch at a nice little spot with fresher water to swim in than the river. After lunch hailed down a boat to pull us into Rurrenabaque because the river was running so slow we wouldn't have made it in time. Finished up with a dinner with the crew that night post deliciously cleaning shower and an ice cold beer.
On the raft we had 5 guests, 2 native guides/raft drivers, 1 english speaking guide and 1 cook.
- The food - our cook was not only brilliant at preparing great meals with the limited resources at hand, but was always smiling and incredibly friendly, even though our Spanish is pretty average.
- The native guides - Again friendly and smiling, they were pretty young and always mucking around with each other, but also worked incredibly hard all day and always made us feel safe with their expertise and control of the raft. Also the 'Captain' had great knowledge of the rainforest and was obviously experienced at the tour, having done it for the past 6 years.
- Very relaxing way to travel, with a good book, nice breeze, beautiful scenery.
- Seeing the puma and all the beautiful butterflies, along with the side trip to the waterfalls.
- Unfortunately our group was really awkward. There wasn't really much going on other than awkward silences at meal times, and certainly no conversation on the raft (luckily we took good books!). If you're considering doing this, I'd recommend finding a few other people that are interested and creating your own mini-group, given you're on the raft for 5 days!
- Our guide was really terrible - knew nothing about the jungle, and hadn't run that tour in over 6 years, so also didn't really seem to have much of an idea of what was going on most of the time. He had to be prompted to give us information or translate what the other guide was saying as he certainly couldn't provide us with any information or answer any of our questions about the jungle flora and fauna. He also neglected to tell us when stopped one day that we could collect water there, although he knew we needed to refill, and so we went close to 48 hours with only about 1L of water each, which is pretty unforgivable when you're sitting in the sun for 6-8 hours a day. His English wasn't that great, and he didn't really ever bother to chat to us or show any interest in the group.
- The tents provided were pretty sub-standard (this really annoyed us as we'd been strongly advised prior to the trip not to take our own tropical trekking tent, which is 10x better than what they provided!). Tiny two man cold weather trekking tents that you're going to have trouble fitting in if you're tall. Really really hot at night (we ended up sleeping without the fly, preferring to get up and put it on if it did start raining, rather than sweating it out all night in that tiny space with no airflow). There were huge holes in the mesh lining that we had to patch ourselves prior to sleeping to keep out all of the mozzies. No pegs with two of the tents.
- All the faffing around on the first day - not really a good start waiting around most of the afternoon. This had a flow on effect to the rest of our trip, as we were constantly behind and trying to make up time.
What had the potential to be a truly awesome and fun adventure actually turned out to be alright with some good points, but also a few bad and in the end we were pretty happy to finally arrive in Rurrenabaque. I have every confidence, however, that had we have had a different guide or group or both it would have been a completely different experience. This, coupled with the fact that the company was very receptive to our concerns with promises to fix the eqiupment etc, and an apology for our problems with the guide, means that I would probably still recommend this trip to others as a different and potentially fun way to get to Rurrenabaque and see some of the jungle on the way. I think we were just unlucky with the group/guide combo!
Sorry about the essay sized post, but thought it might be useful to anyone considering this option in future.
Edited by: nicky004
Nov 17, 2012 4:39 PM
Nov 19, 2012 8:03 PM
Nov 22, 2012 8:09 AM
3That's such a great review!
I am booked in the next Rafting expedition leaving next week. Thanks Nicky004 as this helps us choose the right tour or Company. But I have to say that I was strongly recommended by two aussies that did the tour in October to go with Deep Rainforest on the Rafting Tour, I just finished a 3 day trek Churo Trail with them and it was really good. According to their words the Rafting trip was fantastic, with good equipment + a great knowledgeable english speaking guide and a terrific cook preparing great food in the middle of nowhere. They also saw a Jaguar in the distance 200 m away from one of the camps. I am not expecting to see big cats cause in the Jungle is just luck and you were very, very lucky. It is a pitty you had a bad guide because good results of tours depend 50% on guides.
I will let you all know about my experience on the trip just after I come back.
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