We had an amazing 3 day trip in the jungle of Madidi National Park, one of the larges protected areas in the world. The entrance point is Rurrenabaque at the Beni river which can be reached by plane (1 hour) or by bus (18 hours). To get to the jungle camp we had to take a 3 hour boat ride from Rurre up the Beni river and then a 20 minutes hike through the jungle. The camp is isolated without radio contact or cell phone reception. The crew consisting of a cook and a couple of guides discover at arrival of the daily boat how many guests have to be housed, fed and guided. Everything happens in the moment – there is no planning ahead, not even a weather forecast for the next day.
We spend most of our time silently walking through the jungle with our guide Zenón – kind of a walking meditation. Zenón was able to spot animals with his ears or made them appear by imitating their voices. He explained to us the vegetation, which plants can be eaten or should be avoided and the medical usage of different plants. On our last day he also showed us how to make jewelry from nuts and fruits.
Most amazing was a hike by night during which Zenón spotted with the beam of his flash light: giant insects, tiny frogs, deadly snakes, fat spiders, a big snail, a little mouse, a tarantula and the blinking eyes of a cayman in the near by water hole. (Sorry Ron, I didn’t take my camera on the hike. Therefore no pics of the creepy crawlers.)
Leo, our cook, created amazing meals in her small kitchen and even produced a birthday cake for one of the guests. Time stood still and we forgot any thoughts about the rest of the world. We arrived in the moment just when we had to go back to the craziness of La Paz, street blockades and visa restrictions.