- Booked as part of our package with Nick’s adventures.
- There’s only one plug to charge devices, so bring charged power banks.
- Signal only with Entel, not with Tigo.
- Dunstin, the owner, propose you various free on-demand activities, you choose what you want to do!
We stayed at the San Miguelito Ranch. Very basic rooms, but delicous fresh food, watch tower, outdoor shower and fire pit.
🚲 Getting there
Four hours of 4W from Santa Cruz, two hours of road, two hours of un-paved road.
We stayed two nights and three days and that was good.
Reaching the ranch 🌳
After an early pick-up at 8AM, Dunstin the friendly owner of the ranch, half Bolivian half American brought us to San Miguelito by driving for 4 hours (including 2 hours of un-paved road). Upon arrival, we found a beautiful ranch, very isolated on top of a hill with an incredible jungle landscape. The room were very basic but clean, with solar electricity and no plug in the rooms. They have an electricity motor but they try to minimise its usage to reduce the noise and keep the wildlife closer. It’s quite a big ranch with several facilities:
- Big dinning room where we had all our meals . The cook was awesome, she prepared massive meals of various food.
- Museum of all pictures and skulls of local animals.
- Lovely outdoor terrace with an outdoor shower close to a jasmine plant.
- Big fire pit for the evening.
- Observation tower with two floors (8 meters high in total), one with some hammocks to chill and one with some benches.
After checking in, we went to checkout Anaconda Lake at 10 minutes walk from the ranch. It’s a lovely spot where we appreciated the view on a lake/wet-land. It got this terrifying name because one day a worker spotted an anaconda there (he thought it was a barrel). We sadly didn’t saw any.
Boat ride in the wild 🚣🏻
After a big lunch, we’ve jumped in at the back of the pickup, standing to watch the surrounding fauna and also because it’s cool, and headed toward the first spot with Dunstin and Ronald, the local expert to spot moving stuff.
We saw tons of big birds, literally tons. We’re not good with names or species but if you’re into bird, that’s the place to be. We parked in the middle of nowhere, walked a bit and boarded onto the tiny motor-boat, where we started a boat ride of 2/3 hours until the sunset. We were surrounded by caimans that you can easily spot during the day because they’re sun-bathing mouth open on the side, or during the night because their eyes are shinning on top of the river.
We’ve spotted a lot of fauna, and stopped few times to change the SD cards of the multiple camera traps. Cruising slowly on the river at night was very nice, since that’s the time of the day where all the mammals are the most active.
On our way back, the pick-up got stuck in the mud, which gave us the opportunity to watch the stars very clear over there since no light at all, but also to spot an adventurous snake. After safely arriving home, we enjoyed our massive dinner and went to chill nearby the outdoor fire while watching the pictures of the day. Pretty epic!
Morning hike in the jungle 🚶🏻
Next morning, early and tough wake up at 5AM, to watch animals. We hiked for around 2 hours in the jungle, with the sun slowly getting up, and saw some caimans, monkeys and wild pigs.
After changing few camera traps, we’ve headed back to the lodge to get breakfast with fresh eggs from the ranch, followed by a siesta in the hammocks located in the watchtower.
Rafting with caimans 🦎
Post lunch around 3PM, we started our rafting adventure of 3 hours on the river! We’ve inflated personal little rafts for each of us, on which we laid down and started our ride with a little paddle. The stream was gently bringing us down the river, and we paddled to avoid being stuck in the floating island of vegetation on the river. To be honest, we found it a bit long since you’re wet all the time, but that’s our personal taste.
The overall experience was awesome, specially when the night started because we realized we were on a tiny raft, at water level, in a river full of caimans, with jaguars hunting nearby. A 30 minutes walk and a 20 minutes pick-up ride to the lodge after, we grabbed a fantastic dinner with Bolivian wine followed by an infusion close by the fire pit. Dunstin showed us some of the latest jaguar pictures he captured with the camera traps.
Later the evening, Barbara called me to check something outside. She pointed to me a adventurous tarentula walking around, almost hand sized! Dunstin grabbed it bare hand and let us examine it from closer, after what we released it into the wild. Quite a day!
Morning boat ride 🌅
Last day at San Miguelito, last early wake up at 5AM. This time, we’ve headed up to another early morning boat ride of 2 hours with the sun rising, where we spotted wild pigs and some other birds and caimans on the shores of the river. We then went for breakfast, took a last look at the amazing view of the jungle and headed back to Santa Cruz by 4W for 4 hours.
What an epic adventure! I forgot to mention that we had the entire lodge for ourselves. Dunstin also told us there’s no more than two small groups at a time in the ranch, and all the tours are entirely personalised. For example, we could also have done other activities such as horseback riding, visit local communities, fishing or water buffalo interactions, but we weren’t personally interested.