Adventure tourism in the Amazonian jungle
Rurrenabaque is a small town of 5000 inhabitants situated in the province of Beni to the North of La Paz. The city is located in the low lands of the Amazonian plain, crossed by the river Beni. The interesting geographic position and the easy availability of lodgings make Rurrenabaque an ideal departure point for excursions into the jungle .
There are two possibilities to reach Rurrenabaque:
The tropical flora
Rurrenabaque appears reminiscent of the Garden of Eden. On the edge of the river, some inhabitants cultivate every conceivable variety of tropical fruit: pineapples, bananas, pomelos (gigantic grapefruit), avocados, cocoa, cotton etc... No one should leave the city without having tasted these pleasures.
The forest surrounding Rurrenabaque is difficult to penetrate. The long motorized pirogues travel through the jungle via the rivers Beni and Tuichi. The sides of the river are thickly carpeted with equatorial vegetation. The trees are huge, the atmosphere sweltering and saturated with moisture.
To those in the know, the jungle provides abundant natural sustenance and pharmaceuticals: using a machete, cutting into the trunk of a bamboo tree allows one to extract a slice of sweet and tasty flesh. From a freshly cut liana, flows enough clear and pure water to quench your thirst. The ajo ajo tree contains a substance (with garlic smell) that may be used as an efficient insect repellent. Many medicinal plants grow in the forest. Extensive knowledge is required before sampling such delights though, as certain plants contain extremely potent poisons.
In the vicinity of Rurrenabaque, one can admire numerous varieties of animals that are typical of humid tropical areas:
Ethnic groups in the Beni
In the province of Beni, a few ethnic groups still exist and have managed to preserve their lifestyle and traditions: