The gentle whisking of brooms on the plaza serves as a wake-up call in sleepy Rurre, a gringo crossroads sliced by the deep Río Beni and surrounded by mossy green hills. Mesmerizing sunsets turn the sky a burnt orange, and a dense fog sneaks down the river among the lush, moist trees. Once darkness falls, the surrounding rainforest comes alive with croaks, barks, buzzes and roars. This is civilization's last stand.

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, are responsible for the curious name of ‘Rurrenabaque,’ which is derived from ‘Arroyo Inambaque,’ the Hispanicized version of the Tacana name ‘Suse-Inambaque,’ the ‘Ravine of Ducks.’