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The Bolivian Amazon: Fact file


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When to go

The weather is hot and humid all year round, the heat only occasionally mitigated by a cold snap (surazo) coming up from Patagonia. The daytime temperature typically varies from 28°C (May-Jul) to 32°C (Sep-Dec). During the rainy season Nov-Apr many roads are impassible. Jun-Jul is usually the best time to visit with clear skies and little rain.
Visit this fascinating area soon: the region will undergo great changes if the planned hydroelectric power stations on the River Beni go ahead.

Language

Spanish, Indigenous languages.

Getting local currency

Peso boliviano. Obtain local currency before you go to the region. Cash can be exchanged in travel agencies in Rurrenabaque but at a poor rate: the ATMs here are unreliable and not recommended.
Notes in local currency can be withdrawn from several ATMs in major cities (ie outside the Amazon basin region); there are many money exchanges (casas de cambio) and banks which exchange US dollars. (a few accept euros or sterling but the rate may be poor).

Time difference

GMT -4 hours.

Getting there

There are frequent short (somewhat unreliably timed) flights between La Paz and Trinidad and Rurrenabaque, the entry main towns and bases for visits to the region. Some flights go via the Oriente city of Santa Cruz. There are a number of unpaved roads into the region but journeys are long and challenging.

Combines with

A visit to peaceful Sun Island on Lake Titicaca at the border with Peru; Sucre, Bolivia’s southern colonial second city accessible by air from La Paz in an hour; the silver and tin mines of Potosí, prosperous key city in imperial times, 2-3 hrs drive from Sucre; the salt lakes of Uyuni, close to the Chilean border. 

Key events

Fiesta de Trinidad, 1st week of Jun. Dates vary. In celebration of their city, there are traditional street dances and bullfighting. The most important festival of the year in the province of Beni.

Folklore Festival, San Ignacio de Moxos, 28-31 Jul. Festival for the Patron Saint of the Moxos region with festivities and traditional dancing throughout the night. The indigenous Moxo population wear extravagant plumed costumes and play instruments reminiscent of those introduced to the by the Jesuits. The Macheteto dance tells the story of the Moxos’ resistance to Spanish subjugation.

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