Sensational Santa Rosa Lake – Madidi NP

Our last day in the Amazon and saving the best for last,  we decide to take a boat ride further upriver to Santa Rosa lake.

 Along the way we see yet more beautiful riverine vistas. I doubt we could ever get tired of this scenery!


After a couple of hours the base to get to the lake, a disused lodge owned by a Frenchman who died 10 years ago. This was the first lodge in the region and pre dates the creation national park itself. I can see why the the French guy decided on this spot. Set on a hill overlooking the lake, the views are spectacular both across the lake and upriver to the Andes. Amazing!

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We spend an hour or so exploring this forgotten lodge and its grounds which still contain the remnant of coffee bushes and the drying sheds which are still used to produce a small amount of coffee. Around the grounds are lots of wild fruit trees, orange, mandarin, grapefruit etc. We pick a couple of grapefruit from the tree and they are so juicy and sweet! Never before have I seen so much juice come out of a fruit. Just by cutting it in half the juice was running down our arms! These fruit trees also attract hundreds of butterflies in all shapes and sizes as well as many different varieties of birds we had not seen before.



After a while, we return to the disused planters hut to eat our picnic out of the now intense sun. The weather has been getting hotter and hotter over the last couple of days and today it is up in the 30s but fortunately the humidity has remained low.



After lunch we take our dugout canoe out onto the lake for some piranha fishing. The lake really is beautiful and so very quiet. The only noise was the swish of the paddles in the water and the breeze rustling in the trees at least it was until a flock of blue and green macaws flew over. For such amazingly pretty birds they make the most awful noise!!

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We try several fishing spots around the lake but after an hour or two, absolutely not a hint of a fish. We do however see a couple of caimans ( alligators) slinking around. Maybe they have scared off the fish or maybe it is just not our day.. We decide to head back across the lake back to the jetty and a short hike back to the boat to try our luck fishing on the way back down river to the lodge.



We stop a at a couple of the boatman’s favourite fishing spots along the way. At the first spot, nothing, at the second I catch a huge ( well huge to me!) stingray about two feet across (seriously!)  Sadly, or luckily for the fish I suppose, it is not edible so, dodging the huge sting which is now whipping around, we put him back back. The boatman catches two huge catfish, both escape before being landed but not before one has bitten his finger. We move on again this time the boatmen manages to land a big catfish which we take back to the lodge for dinner.


Even though the fishing wasn’t a total success, we have had a thoroughly enjoyable day and our now looking forward to barbecued catfish for dinner.



Our last dinner in the lodge was every but as good as anticipated. The weather obliged by being cool and dry with totally clear skies which brought out the stars in force and later a full moon which cast the most incredible shadows across the camp.



The next morning we take a short boat ride up the river for another hike into a different part of the forest after which we return to camp for lunch.  It is then time then to return to Rurrenbaque with the rest of the staff as they have no more guests after us for a few days. We have enjoyed all the places we have visited on this trip so far, some more than others obviously, but this is the first time we have both been sad to leave a place. Maybe its the people, maybe the place. Probably both. This is definitely a place worth considering of travelling in South America.

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Rurrenabaque, Beni Department, Bolivia

Thursday, August 22, 2013

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