Land-locked and sitting in the heart of the South American continent, a third of Bolivia lies within the Amazon basin. A tight blanket of tropical rainforest stifles valleys and rugged foothills, a whopping 1,000km from the river itself, and utterly remote from the country’s centres of population and economic activity. The biodiversity is intense, and much of the jungle remains intact, although increasingly under threat from loggers, farmers and developers as elsewhere in Amazonia. The extraordinary Madidi National Park embraces a swathe of rainforest heaving with exotic foliage and wildlife.
Remote, yes: nevertheless, the region has witnessed transformational economic upheavals: historically, the rubber boom and then the cocaine trade impacted on the landscape. Nowadays however, ecotourism is offering conservationists a lifeline. Far-flung, scantily populated and rarely visited, this is the authentic South America of the romantic imagination, a region for true adventurers.
The principal point of entry - just an hour’s spectacular flight over the snow-drenched Andes from La Paz - is quaint Rurrenabaque, a folksy riverside port with a grid of streets lined with low wooden houses, dwarf palms, mango trees and flowery bowers. A promenade runs along the river banks by the fish market, a popular place for sunset walks. Jungle lodges are few and far between and only accessible by boat: the watery journey is stunning.
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Bolivia / The Bolivian Amazon / The Amazon
Bolivia / The Bolivian Amazon / The Amazon
Where to go when - our guide to The Bolivian Amazon
The weather in The Bolivian Amazon is wide and varied
In the steamy Amazon rainforest, weather conditions remain hot and humid all year round, temperatures hovering around 30°C. Bolivia’s Madidi National Park is a haven for wildlife, sheltering jaguars, ocelots and tapirs as well as the more easily visible capybaras, caimans, spider monkeys and colourful birds. Wet season runs from November - April, bringing heavier rainfall and opening up access to new parts of the jungle via boat. The sunny dry season from May - October is ideal for wildlife spotting from jungle trails, with vibrant local festivities taking place in June and July.View our The Bolivian Amazon weather guide
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Sally Dodge - Travel Expert
A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.
Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.
Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert
After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!
Heloise Buxton - Travel Expert
Heloise started her Latin American journey as an exchange student in Santiago, Chile. With extended summer holidays this was the perfect opportunity to backpack through Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Brazil.
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.
Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert
Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.