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Chuchini Reserve

Pierre and Barbara
December 8th, 2019 · 5 min read
Home > Bolivia > Chuchini Reserve

Tips 👏

  • Booked as part of our package with Nick’s adventures.
  • There’s electricity only few hours at night, so bring charged power banks. Same for hot water.
  • A bit of signal with Tigo but just to check emails.
  • Miriam and Efreim, the lovely owners, propose you various free on-demand activities, you choose what you want to do! Miriam is also english speaker.
  • During rain season, there’s clouds of moskitoes. Bring long sleeves and tons of effective repellant.
  • Bring your swimsuit and poncho!

🏠 Accommodation

We stayed at the Chuchini Reserve. Basic rooms, but delicous fresh food and nice commons areas.

🚲 Getting there

Flight from Santa Cruz to Trinidad airport, and then 20 minutes car.

⏱ Duration

We stayed two nights and three days and that was good.

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Reaching the lodge 🛩

We boarded an early flight with Amaszonas, booked by Nick’s adventures to Trinidad, where they came to pick us up at the airport. On the way to the lodge, we’ve spotted a Capybara, the biggest rodent in the world (we saw it again crossing the river later, quite a chill dude). Upon arrival, Miriam showed us our room and gave us a quick tour of the place.

The room was very basic but clean with a private bathroom, but without electricity or hot water at night. The place can host around 40 persons at high season, but since we were there during the rain season, we had it all for ourselves, including the following facilities:

  • Big common spaces to have meals, featuring hammocks.
  • Child playgrounds.
  • Home made football pitch.
  • Two tiny artificial lakes, perfect for fishing.
  • Home-made awesome zipline over the lagoon.
  • Horses to ride in the jungle.
  • Insane museum (will talk about it below).
  • Boat rides with water-board option.

It’s a place where you can come and enjoy visiting the Amazonian bassin for few days, but also where some locals come to enjoy a sunny day in family.


Half a day in the jungle 🌳

After dropping our bags, we started the tour of the place. We spotted some monkeys, parrots, tucans and learnt about the local fauna and flora. We grabbed a delicious lunch and started a two hours trek in the wild forest. At some point, we’ve climbed a massive tree (optional) of over 200 years old to feel like Tarzan. On the way back, we spotted the usual local fauna, but also an adventurous little badger!

We then enjoy a chill nap in the hammocks, got dinner freshly cooked, and went for a night boat ride on the lagoon to spot caimans. The owner managed to grab two small ones bare hand, and showed those to us explaining some details about their morphology, before nicely releasing them in the water.


Fish lessons and horseback ride 🎣

After an early wake up and a big breakfast, we went for a fishing lesson on the lake to learn local techniques, basically with a rope. We fished five local fishes, which ended up to be our lunch.

After another delightful hammock siesta, we jumped on the horses and went for a 2 hours ride in the jungle. We didn’t managed to see much since it was raining as hell, but that made it a very funny experience. Back to the lodge, we took a quick cold shower (hot didn’t worked) and had a lovely dinner.


Old civilization museum 🔎

So, the museum, you wouldn’t expect much wouldn’t you? WRONG. Did you know it used to be a civilisation living at this place older than the Egyptian? Now you do.

The civilisation, so called hydraulic civilisation, date from 8500BC, and stayed up until 1400AC. They get this name because they built more than 20000 artificial hills, to deal with the constant flood happening in the Amazon bassin.

We were both amazed and shocked to learn that, since we never heard of it. They basically get hundreds of small pieces, dated by archeologist around 8000 years old, which they found randomly around the lodge. Small pots, tools, arrows, jars and even human remains. They also get some bones and skulls from local animals, but also older such as mammoths.

It’s quite a famous spot for archeology, but it seems the Bolivian government is not really helping to fund those researchs and prefer to focus on the Andes civilisation, so not so much fame on the archeological scene, which we both found crazy.


Boat, pink dolphins and water-board 🏄

After packing, getting ready and grabbing a last breakfast, we’ve hopped into the car with our luggages direction Loma Suarez, where the boat was waiting for us. After a short drive, we started our journey on the Rio Ibare, going up to the point where it merges with the Rio Mamore. On the way, under an epic rain at the beginning, we spotted some turtles, sloths, beautiful clouds of big white birds flying around and little monkeys in the trees.

We arrived after on the spot after one hour boat. Efrem, which was driving the boat, started to do round on the water. This was a trick to attract the pink dolphins. Doing rounds on the surface creates a stream underneath, which helps the dolphin to fish, and hence, facilitates to spot some of them. After few minutes, we started to spot a lot of them, around 7 or 8, coming at the surface to take a breath one after the other. We could see them very well since some where jumping almost full body out of water, few meters from us!


Few minutes later, we observed a bird on the shore who looked like having a bad day. Getting closer, we realised it was fighting with an anaconda! Efrem decided to show mercy to the bird and grabbed the anaconda bare hand, so we could have a better look. Holy shit! It was around 3 meters long, 100% muscles. He then put it back in the water and we headed to the natural beach in front to enjoy a delicious buffet picnic. Note: He grabbed the anaconda since everyone asked for it, but we regretted afterwards, we should have left the nature do her job.

Following a good food coma with beers, we’ve headed back to our initial point, by napping on hammocks setup on the boat. On the way, they prepared us a last surprise: water-ski! They’ve attached a rectangular shape of wood to the boat, and let us try to stand on it while being tracked by the boat, in the middle of the river full of snakes and caimans, quite unreal! We tried it, and it was very hard to do, but managed to stay on the knees for quite a while. Note this is optional lol, but make sure to try it! We then arrived back at the harbour where we jumped back into the car and headed to the airport to catch our late flight back to Santa Cruz.


Overall stay 🤓

We had a fantastic time. Not only we were actually in the Amazon forest, full of wildlife, but we actually did a ton a fun activities such as zip-line, water-skiing or horse riding, and found out about a very old civilisation, which you can find remains just by doing a quick walk in the garden.

The owners, Efrem and Miriam, were both incredibly lovely and very organised. Clearly a must-do when you’re in Santa Cruz, for minimum three days!

Our 4 days stay in Santa Cruz, check again San Miguelito, or go back to the main Bolivia post.

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