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Rurrenabaque or "Rurre" as locals call it, is a small town in the northern part of Bolivia. Rurrenabaque has become a popular destination for travelers or ecotourists wanting to see parts of the Bolivian Amazon, with its close proximity to the pristine forests of Madidi National Park (Parque Nacional Madidi) and to see the plentiful wildlife of the surrounding pampas along Rio Yacuma.
Rurrenabaque is small town with a population of about 12,000 people. The town is located about 400 km northeast of La Paz and is situated on the east banks of the Beni River, which serves as a border between the Beni department and the Department of La Paz, with the town of San Buenaventura on the opposite side of the river.
Rurrenabaque came to prominence during the rubber boom in the late 1800's & early 1900's. Also, the extraction of timber of the surrounding rainforest was once the town's main industry, but most of this has been reduced with the establishment of Parque Nacional Madidi and other protected areas. Now the ecotourism industry has emerged making it the most popular destination for visiting the Bolivian Amazon.
The biggest attraction in Rurre is seeing the plentiful wildlife in the area. The town is the starting point for jungle and pampas tours where you can spot numerous animals such as; caiman crocodile, anacondas, pink dolphins, capybaras, monkeys, giant ant-eaters, toucans, and many other bird species. There are also several community-based ecolodges where you can go to experience the rainforest.
There is a number of tour agencies in Rurre that offer trips to the rainforest and the pampas. Most are 3-day tours, which is generally long enough to see the wildlife that you want to see. Probably the best way in choosing the right agency is by asking other travellers returning from their tour of the area.
The best time to visit Rurrenabaque and the Bolivian Amazon is in the dry season from April through October, when most wildlife is attracted to the river for water, the walking trails are less muddy and there are fewer mosquitoes. Expect some rain if traveling there between November through March, which is the rainy season and the area is subject to flooding during the rainy season, which can make getting around difficult. Since the town is located in the Amazon Basin, be prepared for the humidity and bring insect repellent which will come in handy on your excursions.
Getting ThereRurrenabaque is located about 400km northeast of La Paz, about a 18-20 hour bus ride from La Paz or many travelers arrive here after a few day visit from the Yungas town of Coroico, which is on the way there.
Buses arrive at the Terminal Terrestre a few blocks away from the center of town on the corner of Calle Guachalla and Calle 18 de Noviembre.
Another option is taking the 30-45 minute plane ride on a small aircraft from La Paz, where planes land on a landing strip at the small Rurrenabaque airport. Amaszonas Airlines has daily flights from La Paz and Santa Cruz to Rurrenabaque. Also, the military airline TAM has around 4-5 weekly flights to and from Rurrenabaque.
Rurrenabaque Places To Visit & AttractionsMost people come to Rurre to see the plentiful wildlife in the area. Below is a list of Rurrenabaque places you may want to visit near the town:
Madidi National Park
Pampas of the Yacuma River
The Pilón Lajas Bioreserve
San Miguel del Bala
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