The setting is perfect - wedged between the jagged foothills of the Bolivian Andes and the impenetrable expanse of the Amazon rainforest, the open grasslands of the Reyes pampas are home to poncho-wearing cowboys, known as vaqueros, who spend their lives on horseback rounding up the cattle on their vast estancias (ranches).
Visitors are welcome at the ranch house where they stay alongside the vaqueros. For the next few days, you can accompany the vaqueros as they milk the cows, prepare traditional (and very filling!) meals and ride horseback through the exquisite tropical forests and lagoons filled with exotic birds, monkeys and caimans!
It's a fascinating insight into a really unique way of life, and an unexpected way to spend your time in the Amazon. I'm no expert at horse riding, but I really felt at home with my new cowgirl lifestyle by the end of the trip!
Reyes is just a couple of hours' drive from the town of Rurrenabaque.
Tours to the estancias (from one day to several weeks) can be tailored and booked with Lipiko Tours. If you are in Rurre, stop by their office (and delicious French cafe!) on Av. Santa Cruz.
Google map: bit.ly/t4QGAw
Serere lodge is the ecology project of Madidi Travel to recover a reserve of flood plain in the Bolivian rainforest (one of the Amazon's major tributaries).
We spent four blissful days at the lodge, got to within a stone's throw of various monkeys, snakes etc. and some of the most amazing flora I've ever seen. However, the kicker is every penny of your money goes into the project and helps re-establish the community and wildlife from a shadow of its former self.
Fly from La Paz on Amazonsas or TAM
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