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Authentic Rurrenabaque: Sustainable Tourism At Work


Amazon Lodge Bolivia

I work in sustainable tourism development, and have currently spent the last six months working in the town of Rurrenabaque, Bolivia. Rurrenabaque is Bolivia's gateway to the amazon, and it receives over 20,000 visitors each year. Here you will find two amazing tours, one taking you deep into the jungles of Madidi National Park while the other takes you onto the Yacuma river that flows through Savannah lands (pampas). Both these products offer unique experiences in nature and culture, yet have not been correctly managed by local operators over the years.
I have worked with the local government and 15 local tour operators to create a certification program that will help improve not only the environmental sustainability of this destination, but also the services provided to clients. The program is called Authentic Rurrenabaque, and we are proud to announce that 13 operators are being evaluated at this moment in hopes of becoming certified.
I want programs like this to be better recognized by travelers and I know travel guides are a great source to do that. I hope anyone thinking of stopping by Rurrenabaque on their trip through Bolivia asks the operator if they are a certified business. It wont change the price you pay, and you can enjoy your trip more knowing that you are not paying to go with an operator that continues to damage the delicate ecosystems you are visiting. This post will be updated when the businesses complete certification with a list of who is certified. Rurrenabaque's website will also feature businesses that are certified.

Further Information

Travel tips:

If you do intend to travel to Rurrenabaque, I would suggest doing so by plane (if you have the means). The bus trip from La Paz is brutal, 18 hours, but does only cost a fraction of the plane ticket's price. Two airlines fly to Rurrenabaque... Amaszonas who's website can be found by clicking here The other airline, TAM, is a bit cheaper but can not be booked online. Go to a travel agent in La Paz and ask for flight information.
Plane tickets run between 150-190 USD round trip.

Must see/do at this place:

Go eat at Julianos, its really good! Casa de Campo's breakfasts are also amazing. The best bar in town is Mosquito, and if you are looking for a way to kill time while waiting for you tour to start or waiting for your plane the next day, there is a half day zip line tour that is just awesome and operated/owned by a community. Their office is across the street from the Amaszonas office and website is here
Tours: Pampas: This is a tour many people take due to the gurantee you will see animals. The pampas are savannah, so there are close to no trees which means better visibility when looking for wildlife. Alligators, monkeys, capybaras, and pink dolphins are some of the wildlife you would see. There used to be an abundance of large anacondas in this region, but due to bad tourism practices many have died and gone elsewhere. The pampas is the most popular destination but it is also the most damaged place due to tourism. Please keep in mind that you are not visiting a petting zoo when you go!!
Tours: Jungle: The mysterious rolling hills that act as your gateway as you enter one of the most biodiverse places in the world, Madidi National Park. This is pure jungle at its best. Beware that wildlife is all around you, but it is much harder to see than when visiting the pampas. Learn about local cultures and how people lived in the forest. There are several lodges operating along the Beni and Tuichi rivers. It is truly an escape into nature. Visiting the jungle is something everyone should do at least once in their life. Businesses working in the national park are better at following the regulations of conservation. Yet there is still work to do, so ask you operator if they are certified!
For more information see the Rurre Blog here

You should avoid here:

Avoid going with businesses that have pictures of tourists holding snakes etc... Help up us save this destination for future generations.
Try to avoid staying anywhere thats near the Sueño Lindo karoake bar. They party hard there.

Other helpful information:

My blog will be writing spotlights on operators trying to make a difference in Rurre as well as all the great restaraunts to eat at each week. My company, Solimar International, has people like me in great destinations all over South and Central America, as well as the Carribean and Africa.
We think your website is awesome, and would love to continue supporting you through writing, and you all could continue supporting sustainable tourism options through us.

Did you like this article? Then you'll like these: Amboró National Park, F.ocampo Sandy Art Selling In Sucre, Coroico, La Gran Chiquitania , Tupiza, Festivales de Misiones de Chiquitos, Off the Beaten Track In and Around La Paz, The Peoples of Lake Titicaca, Salar de Uyuni and Pachamama.

29 Jun 2011

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