Rurrenabaque is the place where you need to stop if you’re willing to take a tour in the jungle or in the pampas. You will find in this post all what you need to know about this pleasant small town.
* 1$=6.95 BoB “Bolivianos” (2012)
Though usually people only stay one or two days in Rurre to book a tour to the pampas or to the jungle and then leave for other destinations, we decided to stay there for 3 weeks, first because we prefer tropical weather than the cold cordillera, second to save some money which we did as Rurre is the cheapest place we visited in Bolivia.
The town is located at 433km (269 miles) north from La Paz (but the road is bad what makes the ride difficult). It is on the banks of the Rio Beni and just a few miles from the Madidi National Park.
Tropical, so hot and humid. When it is sunny it gets really hot, we were there during the rainy season so when it rains the temperatures drop and you may need a light jacket.
Why taking a flight? Well, we didn’t try the 24 hours ride from La Paz to Rurre because after collecting a lot of information on the internet through blogs and travel guides we found out that every one who goes by bus comes back by plane! It seems that the road is really bad, further more during the rainy season (January to March), many accidents occurs so why put ourselves in such a situation when the ticket plane is not that expensive ( $188
one way for both of us with Amaszonas). The flight is very quick 40 min and the view is amazing as the plane doesn’t fly very high so you always see the landscape (snowy mountains at the beginning and then the tropical forest and the river). The plane we took is the smallest we’ve ever took, only 19 seats one on each side we were at the back and could see the pilots!
From the airport you can take a bus (in general the one of the airline company) for 10 BoB each, you can also take a motor taxi for the same price but you will have to carry your bag! In town motor taxi cost 3 BoB*.
We followed our usual plan for accommodation which is: stay anywhere for the first night and then look to find better deal. Thus we stayed at the Hostal Beni in calle Commercio and didn’t leave as we didn’t find any thing better. We almost checked all the options in town, they were too expensive for our budget or not comfortable enough. We stayed in a double room (matrimonial) with private bathroom for 100 BoB, when we told them that we would stay for a longer period they accepted to lower the price at 90 BoB, so we saved 200 BoB. The room didn’t include Wi Fi.
The staff is nice, rooms are clean, and the hotel is very comfortable, we had a room upstairs with a view on both the river Beni and the mountains on the other side.
There are plenty of internet cafes, they charge 4 BoB/hour or you can go to a coffee shop where they have WiFi what we did just in front of the Hotel.
Though the town is quite small, you have a lot of options. We found Rurre the cheapest place for food with meals (in local restaurants) starting at 10 BoB. You also have a bunch of western and mexican restaurants starting from 20 BoB per meal.
Of course I have to mention the french bakery (calle Avaroa between Santa Cruz et Vaca Diez) where the baker is a real french! So as a french I can judge and say that they have really good quiches, pizzas, pains aux raisins, pains au chocolat and good croissants also.
Also the cheapest at 7 BoB/kilo “Garfield Laundry” (Garfield is doing laundry, what do you think?!!) in front of the Hostal Beni (we’ve been told it was the best, people didn’t recommend us the laundry mentioned in the Lonely planet).
We didn’t do much as Bassel caught the Typhoid during our stay andhad to rest for almost ten days, but we had time to climb the small mountain where is the Mirador and enjoy a very nice view of Rurre and the river (see first photo on this post). It took us 2 hours and a half to climb and go down. You have to do that when the road is dry otherwise it is very slippery. It rained the day before we went but the trail had time to dry, just don’t go there when it’s raining.