What's the difference? New info and insider tips & details below!
When visiting Bolivia there are a few things you simply cannot skip. With the Bolivian jungle covering around half of the country, it is safe to say that a visit to the rainforest is a must. The most popular gateway to the Bolivian Amazon is Rurrenabaque. This small town about 400 kilometers northwest of La Paz gives entrance to Madidi National Park and the pampas that surround it. Most tour operators in Rurrenabaque will offer tourists either a pampas or jungle tour. Although both tours are spectacular in their own way, they offer an entirely different experience.
The name Pampas might confuse some as it also refers to the fertile plains in Argentina, while in Bolivia they are actually talking bout the pre-Amazonian wetlands in the Beni region. A classic Pampas tour doesn’t take you inside the jungle itself but visits the wetlands instead. Tours usually last 3 days but other variations are also possible. Most tours will include the following activities:
The Pampas tour is the best option if you want to see as much wildlife as possible. Because the vegetation is less thick than in the jungle, there is more space to spot animals and temperatures also tend to be lower. Be prepared to go camping in basic conditions and be sure to bring mosquito repellent!
Prices vary between $200 and $300 for a three day tour. These should not include the park entrance, which is an additional 150Bs or around $20USD. These prices usually do not include Airport Transfers or transportation from and to La Paz.
A jungle tour will take you to a rainforest lodge where you will spend 2-5 days depending on your tour. Most tours offer:
Because these tours take you further into the jungle where vegetation is thicker, you may see less animals. With the jungle tours, the focus lies more on learning about the biodiversity in whichever way you find it in the rainforest. Some tours might teach you about medicinal plants, while others will take you fishing or teach you how to build a raft. So although a jungle tour shows you less wildlife, it is probably the most genuine way of exploring the Bolivian jungle.
As with the Pampas tour, prices vary between $220 and $300 for a three day tour, but in general the jungle tours are slightly pricier. For the jungle tours you will also need to pay the entrance to the park separately, which is around 125Bs or $18 USD. Like the Pampas tours, accommodation is basic.
In the end, both tour options offer tourists the chance to see exotic wildlife only found in the Bolivian jungle and both will immerse you in its green universe. Probably more important than picking between the Pampas or the jungle, is choosing the right operator, the time of year you wish to go and how to get to Rurrenabaque.