Crocodiles, caymens and anacondas, oh my!
Trip Start Oct 06, 2010
79Trip End Jul 30, 2011
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Where I stayed
Las Pampas con Fluvial Tours
What I did
Experienced life in the pampas!
That said, and it made me tense just typing it, we arrived in Rurre safe and sound, and checked into a lovely Hotel Oriental
Three hours in a jeep that comfortably would have taken 3 passengers, not 8, was followed by about 3 hours in a motorized canoe going up the rio. Along the way we saw more crocodiles and caimans that I can count, all sorts of birds and butter flies, capybaras, and monkeys! Camp was not nearly as lux as our Selva experience in Ecuador, but still pretty nice. Thankfully the ass and his girl had a private room, so it was just the 6 of us in the dorm, and after a quick coffee we settled in for a few beers and talked to some of the people already there. Did I mention all the monkeys that were playing in the trees? Or Pepe Pequeno, the black caiman that sticks around the camp for the cook’s leftovers? His older brother, Pepe Original, lives at the sister camp shortly downriver. In the evening we jumped into the canoe for a night tour, and went around trying to spot caiman and crocodile eyes, which reflect light so that it looks like two little green or red (depending on the creature) dots glow out of the dark
Day two I got up nice and early and crept out of my mosquito net to watch the day start. It was incredible to look out across the pampas and see the veil of fog lift. The aussie that was up even earlier and I sat and watched as squirrel monkeys paraded across the bridge, and as pink dolphins swam along the river in front of us. After that, a quick breakfast and they were off! And I say they, as I did not participate, for good reasons, in the morning’s first activity: anaconda hunting. At this point I will leave a blank, and Josh can fill in the details…
Josh: Everyone but Elise at this point got into mismatched rubber boots that did not fit well (and mine had a whole in the left boot which let in a lot of dirty water) and headed up the river to find the famous Anacondas. Anacondas are the world’s largest snakes, they live in murky water and our guide told us that he has seen one get up to 17 meters long. They are one of the few man-eaters in the snake world and you probably won’t even see them coming. Luckily where we were there were only small Anacondas and they were no threat to us (no more than 3-4 meters, or so we were told). We went through what looked like flooded plains for a good 20 minutes or so, seeing many birds, bugs and even some nice owls before getting to the Swamp
When the troupe got back we had lunch, and then a bit of a break where they all showered and changed out of their mud caked clothes, and then we went piranha fishing! A piece of line with a hook at the end, which we fed raw meat onto… who knew fishing could be so much fun! I caught nothing, and Josh had the honour of being the first catch of the day, with a fish big enough to take home for dinner
After fishing we stopped off at a field for a few drinks and some volleyball while we watched the sunrise. Unfortunately we didn’t know we were going right there, so none of us had long sleeves or pants, and sunset is about when the evil mosquitos come out full throttle… needless to say, the massacre was complete and I did not emerge victorious. I played some volleyball with Israelis who aimed directly at my head, and after the lovely sunset we made a beeline back to camp to cover up and immerse ourselves in a deet bath.
Our last morning started bright and early, at 5:30 am. We set off for a paddle to listen to the noises of the pampas, with beautiful bird cries, insects buzzing about, and the incredible peace of coasting slowly down a river
Our final activity was my primary reason for visiting the pampas… pink dolphins! We pulled on our swim suits and hopped in the boat to make our way to what I can only describe as a flooded grove. No banks = no caimans or crocodiles, but the dolphins protect people too so there was nothing to worry about. In we jumped, and while it took a while for them to get close when they finally did it was amazing! They started by bumping a few of the girls’ feet, leaving me feeling terribly left out until one lovely creature decided to knock into my knees as well. Josh was the first to make contact, and I don’t know what he did in a previous life but he got a nip on the hand from one little guy, the whole group being well known for playing with tourists by nibbling toes and nudging a bit harder than one might expect. The water is a murky brown (doesn’t smell that great either) so you can really see nothing beyond your bellybutton and have no idea when they’re even close to you. One passed right in front of me almost at the surface so I could reach out and pet it. SO COOL! I grinned like an idiot all the way back to camp.
Back into the boat with our gear we set out for the two hour ride back to the cars, "luckily" spotting yet another incredibly dangerous water/land snake, although this one was smaller. Good byes were waved to the caimans, crocs, capybaras and birds, and then we crammed ourselves back into the same uncomfortable jeep for the 3 hours back to Rurre.