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Iain and Jo


BOLIVIA | Tuesday, 26 May 2009 | Views [762] | Comments [1]

The squirrel monkeys were just as interested in us as we were in them.

The squirrel monkeys were just as interested in us as we were in them.

This place is paradise.

About 3700 metres lower than La Paz, surrounded by miles of beautiful rainforest sits a town called Rurrenabaque. It´s a nice, relaxing riverside town itself, but the real attraction is the nearby Madidi National Park. We had planned to take a trip into the park, but ended up staying in a private nature reserve called Serere, which is outside the park but was set up by a woman who was very influential in establishing Madidi.

Serere is the kind of goodness that is very difficult to describe. It´s 2.5 hours on a boat down the Rio Beni to a nondescript patch of river-bank from which you walk for about 20 minutes to get to the cabins. Our cabin was basic but beautiful – all four walls were made of fly-wire so that you could feel like you were in the jungle even inside (including while sitting on the state-of-the-art toilet – something we´ve come to appreciate a lot after some other more ´rustic´ facilities).

Every morning we woke up to the roar of howler monkeys, and the scratchings of lizards and birds around the cabin. Each day involves a way-too-big-but-im-not-complaining breakfast, followed by either short hikes or dug-out canoe trips around the reserve, with our guide Nilo who grew up in Madidi and not only knew how to find animals but could also ´talk´ to them (literally, he would make a perfect monkey sound, and the same sound would be mimicked back to him from up in the trees). We saw a lot of animals and birds, but the highlights would definitely be the groups of Howler, Capuchin and Squirrel monkeys playing, eating and jumping in the trees around us.

The people at Serere have done a great job in making the animals feel respected, comfortable and non-threatened after years of hunting in the area, and it shows in the way the animals interact with walkers (neither begging for food or scampering for their lives – the perfect balance).

Unfortunately we had to leave in the end though, because we ran out of clothes and money. We´re back in La Paz and after a 3700m increase in altitude in 30 minutes, Jo and I are both feeling a little sick. It´s amazing how difficult simple things like walking and talking become when there is so little oxygen in the air, but we acclimatised on the salt flats at a similar height so I´m sure we´ll be fine in a few days.

Tags: bolivia rurrenabaque monkeys




That sounds incredible!!! I bet there's lots of pics of monkeys.. am I right?

What an awesome experience!


  Allie May 30, 2009 10:56 AM

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