Bolivia: Amazon Chalalan Lodge

Bolivia

Amazon Chalalan Lodge

The Chalalan Ecolodge  stands on the shore of the magnificent Chalalán Lagoon and combines elegance and comfort using local materials to respect the traditional building styles of our community, San José de Uchupiamonas.

Chalalan Lodge

The design and distribution of the different rooms making up our Ecolodge were planned down to the very last detail by us Josesanos, taking advantage of our knowledge of what the jungle provides. The walls are made from the Copa Palm (Iriartea Deltoidea) and covered with matting, the roofs are woven with asaí palm leaves (Geonoma Deversa) and the floors made of fine hardwood make the CHALALÁN Ecolodge one of the most luxurious places to stay in this part of the world.

How do I get Chalalán?

Chalalán is located in the Bolivian Amazon in the heart of the Madidi National Park, in the Tuíchi valley on the shores of the magnificent “Chalalán” Lake. The main entry point to the Chalalán Ecolodge is the town of Rurrenabaque, which can be accessed by air or land from the city of La Paz. By air (International Airport El Alto) the trip takes approximately 50 minutes, by land around 18 hours. From Rurrenabaque to Chalalán, the Ecolodge is accessed by boat up the rivers Beni and Tuíchi by comfortable motorboat – 5½ hours

Activities

Guided nature hikes, birdwatching, canoe trips, swimming

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The lodge

Traditional Amazon-style “cabañas” (cabins) made from local materials with four shared bathrooms and shower facilities. Running water is supplied by a solar-power plumbing system and there is a good size dining room, bar and library stocked with field guides and reference materials.

The Ecolodge offer you three types of accommodations; 3 luxuries cabins with double beds and private bathroom, 7 twin/triples rooms with private bathroom and 3 twins rooms with shared bath all equipped with mosquito nets, bedside tables, wardrobes, comfy armchairs, verandas, balconies and hammocks where you can relax and read.

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4 days itinerary

Day 1 La Paz – Rurrenabaque
Day 2 Rurrenabaque – Chalalán Ecolodge
Day 3 Chalalán Ecolodge – Madidi National Park
Day 4 Chalalán Ecolodge – Rurrenabaque – La Paz

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5 days itinerary

Day 1 La Paz – Rurrenabaque
Day 2 Rurrenabaque – Chalalán Ecolodge
Day 3 Chalalán Ecolodge – Madidi National Park
Day 4 Chalalán Ecolodge – Madidi National Park
Day 5 Chalalán Ecolodge – Rurrenabaque – La Paz

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6 days itinerary

Day 1 La Paz – Rurrenabaque
Day 2 Rurrenabaque – Chalalán Ecolodge
Day 3 Chalalán Ecolodge – Madidi National Park
Day 4 Chalalán Ecolodge – Madidi National Park
Day 5 Chalalán Ecolodge – Madidi National Park
Day 6 Chalalán Ecolodge – Rurrenabaque – La Paz
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4 days itienrary

Day 1: La Paz – Rurrenabaque

Flight La Paz (El Alto International Airport) – Rurrenabaque (50 mins.). The flight is a fabulous opportunity to see the Andes Mountain Range and have a panoramic view of the Amazon rivers and forests. Our staff will be waiting to transfer you from Rurrenabaque airport to the Chalalán office by bus where you will fill in the forms to enter Madidi National Park and receive information about your trip to the Ecolodge. Accommodation in a tourist class hotel (e.g. Hotel Oriental). Afternoon free in Rurrenabaque.

Day 2: Rurrenabaque – Chalalán Ecolodge

06:45: Continental breakfast at hotel

07:15: A guide will pick you up at the hotel to take you to the River Beni where you will get on the boat to Chalalán. Our boats are equipped with: roof, comfy seats, life jackets, raincoats and a first-aid kit. Maximum seating room on the boat is for 10 people.

07:30: Travel by motor boat to the Chalalán Ecolodge. The trip is a great way of seeing the Bala Canyon on the River Beni and getting to the Madidi by going up the River Tuichi. On your way you’ll see different animals and get a feel for the spectacular landscape of the Bolivian Amazon.  We recommend you take binoculars. The trip takes around 5½ hours during the rainy season and 6 hours in the dry season, mainly in July, August and September.

10:30: Packed lunch mid-way.

13:00: Arrival at the port of Chalalán. 25 minute walk to the Ecolodge along a wide, easy jaguar path. Welcome snack on the shores of Lake Chalalán. Our logistics staff will help you with your luggage. Settle in at your cabin or room.

14:00: Welcome lunch in Ecolodge. After lunch relax in a hammock or swim in Lake Chalalán.

15:45: Short walk along the Paraba path to the viewing point where you can see the beautiful landscape across Lake Chalalán, mountains and Madidi rainforest. Your guide will explain about plants used for building, hardwoods, palms and the traditional and sustainable use of natural resources. Here your guide will talk about the park, our Ecolodge and community. Return to the lake to go on a canoe ride along the shores of Lake Chalalán where you will be able to enjoy the sunset and see monkeys, birds, insects, bats, etc. Return to the Ecolodge for a snack.

19:30: Dinner in the Ecolodge dining room.

20:30: Short night-time activity (1 to 2 hours). Night trip by canoe to see amphibians, nocturnal birds, fish-eating bats and caimans easily spotted because of their glowing eyes.

Day 3: Chalalán Ecolodge – Madidi National Park

7:00: Buffet breakfast in Ecolodge dining room. You may talk to your guide about changing the time depending on your interests. (e.g. Breakfast at 5:30 am for birdwatchers.)

7:30: Morning walk along the Tapacare path or another of similar length where you can see and learn about the forest and the wildlife surrounding you. Optional themes: natural interpretation of the forest, natural history, ecological processes, medicinal plants and hardwood trees, animal behavior and bird and mammal watching. Return to the lodge, have a snack.

12:30: Lunch in the Ecolodge dining room. After lunch relax in a hammock or swim in Lake Chalalán.

15:30: Short walk along one of the theme paths to learn about medicinal plants and more about personal interests.  Return to the Ecolodge and choose from the following optional activities:  Handicrafts, canoe trip, videos about the community and the Madidi National Park.

19:30: Traditional “dunucuabi” dinner of catfish wrapped in leaves or fish á la “tacuara” inside bamboo from the Bolivian Amazon. *This traditional dinner depends on the availability of the fish and may be offered any night during your stay.

20:30: Short night walk along the Paraba or Silbador path to see amphibians, reptiles, insects, tarantulas, rodents, birds and nocturnal monkeys. This is a great chance to hear the sounds of the jungle. Upon your return to the Ecolodge you can take part in a traditional Quechua – Tacana night with music and dances from the San José de Uchupiamonas community. Your guide will explain the traditions of the Uchupiamonas people. *This activity will depend on the number of guests staying at the Ecolodge and may be offered any night during your stay.

Day 4: Chalalán Ecolodge – Rurrenabaque – La Paz

7:00: Buffet breakfast in Ecolodge dining room and then a short walk to the river Tuíchi to take the boat back to Rurrenabaque. The return walk along the Jaguar or Wichi path can be adjusted to take into account your interests. Please coordinate with your guide.

8:00: Return by boat to Rurrenabaque (only 3 hours). The time is subject to the availability of the boats and flight times. We recommend you stay alert during the boat trip so that you can see the animals along the way.

11:30: Arrive at Rurrenabaque. Transfer to airport and return to the city of La Paz.

NB: All of the walks described above are rated as easy. The activities and times may change depending on the weather, the interests of our guests or other factors.

5 days itinerary

Day 1: La Paz – Rurrenabaque: Flight La Paz (El Alto International Airport) – Rurrenabaque (50 mins.). The flight is a fabulous opportunity to see the Andes Mountain Range and have a panoramic view of the Amazon rivers and forests. Our staff will be waiting to transfer you from Rurrenabaque airport to the Chalalán office by bus where you will fill in the forms to enter Madidi National Park and receive information about your trip to the Ecolodge. Accommodation in a tourist class hotel (e.g. Hotel Oriental). Afternoon free in Rurrenabaque.

Day 2: Rurrenabaque – Chalalán Ecolodge

06:45: Continental breakfast at hotel

07:15: A guide will pick you up at the hotel to take you to the River Beni where you will get on the boat to Chalalán. Our boats are equipped with: roof, comfy seats, life jackets, raincoats and a first-aid kit. Maximum seating room on the boat is for 10 people.

07:30: Travel by motor boat to the Chalalán Ecolodge. The trip is a great way of seeing the Bala Canyon on the River Beni and getting to the Madidi by going up the River Tuichi. On your way you’ll see different animals and get a feel for the spectacular landscape of the Bolivian Amazon.  We recommend you take binoculars. The trip takes around 5½ hours during the rainy season and 6 hours in the dry season, mainly in July, August and September.

10:30: Packed lunch mid-way.

13:30: Arrival at the port of Chalalán. 25 minute walk to the Ecolodge along a wide, easy jaguar path. Welcome snack on the shores of Lake Chalalán. Our logistics staff will help you with your luggage. Settle in at your cabin or room.

14:00: Welcome lunch in the Ecolodge dining room. After lunch relax in a hammock or swim in Lake Chalalán.

15:30: Short walk along the Paraba path to the viewing point where you can see the beautiful landscape across Lake Chalalán, mountains and Madidi rainforest. Your guide will explain about plants used for building, hardwoods, palms and the traditional and sustainable use of natural resources. Here your guide will talk about the park, our Ecolodge and community. Return to the lake to go on a canoe ride along the shores of Lake Chalalán where you will be able to enjoy the sunset and see monkeys, birds, insects, bats, etc. Return to the Ecolodge for a snack.

19:30: Dinner in the Ecolodge dining room.

20:30: Short night walk along the Paraba or Silbador path to see amphibians, reptiles, insects, tarantulas, rodents, birds and nocturnal monkeys. This is a great chance to hear the sounds of the jungle.

Day 3: Chalalán Ecolodge – Madidi National Park

7:00: Buffet breakfast in Ecolodge dining room. You may talk to your guide about changing the time depending on your interests. (e.g. Breakfast at 5:30 am for birdwatchers.)

7:30: Morning walk along the Tapacare path where you can see and learn about the forest and wildlife. Optional topics: natural forest interpretation, wildlife behavior and bird and mammal watching. Cultural and historical themes. Return to the Ecolodge and snack.

12:30: Lunch in the Ecolodge dining room. After lunch relax in a hammock or swim in Lake Chalalán.

15:30: Short walk along one of the theme paths to learn about medicinal plants and learn more about personal interests.  Return to the Ecolodge and choose from the following optional activities:  Handicrafts, canoe trip, swimming in the Lake, videos about the community and the Madidi National Park.

19:30: Traditional “dunucuabi” dinner of catfish wrapped in leaves or fish á la “tacuara” inside bamboo from the Bolivian Amazon. *This traditional dinner depends on the availability of the fish.

20:30: Short night walk along the Paraba or Silbador path. Upon your return to the Ecolodge you can take part in a traditional Quechua – Tacana night with music and dances from the San José de Uchupiamonas community. Your guide will explain the traditions of the Uchupiamonas people. *This activity will depend on the number of guests staying at the Ecolodge and may be offered any night during your stay.

Day 4: Chalalán Ecolodge – Madidi National Park

06:00: Buffet breakfast in Ecolodge dining room. You may talk to your guide about changing the time depending on your interests. (e.g. Breakfast at 5:30 am for birdwatchers, long walks, etc.)

07:00: Full-day walk (6 hours) along the Anta, Wabucuro and Marimono paths to the River Eslabón. This walk includes something for everyone: animal watching, ecological processes, different habitats in primary forest and finally the chance to fish and swim in the natural river pools, mainly in the dry season. The Eslabón region is an ideal place to learn about the history of the area. Box lunch and snack in the Eslabón Camp. The walk is easy and can be done by all visitors. There is ample opportunity to see wildlife – spider monkeys, tapirs, deer, and wild boar and maybe catch a glimpse of a jaguar.

17:30: Snack in the Ecolodge dining room. Later relax or swim in Lake Chalalán.

19:30: Dinner in the Ecolodge dining room.

20:30: After dinner you can go on an optional canoe trip on the Chalalán Lagoon to see amphibians, nocturnal birds and alligators easily seen because of their glowing eyes On a clear night this is ideal for stargazing.

Day 5: Chalalán Ecolodge – Rurrenabaque – La Paz

7:00: Buffet breakfast in Ecolodge dining room and then a short walk to the river Tuíchi to take the boat back to Rurrenabaque. The return walk along the Jaguar or Wichi path can be adjusted to take into account your interests. Please coordinate with your guide.

8:00: Return by boat to Rurrenabaque (only 3 hours). The time is subject to the availability of the boats and flight times. We recommend you stay alert during the boat trip so that you can see the animals along the way.

11:30: Arrive at Rurrenabaque. Transfer to airport and return to the city of La Paz.

NB: All of the walks described above are rated as easy. The activities and times may change depending on the weather, the interests of our guests or other factors.

6 days itienrary

Day 1: La Paz – Rurrenabaque: Flight La Paz (El Alto International Airport) – Rurrenabaque (50 mins.). The flight is a fabulous opportunity to see the Andes Mountain Range and have a panoramic view of the Amazon rivers and forests. Our staff will be waiting to transfer you from Rurrenabaque airport to the Chalalán office by bus where you will fill in the forms to enter Madidi National Park and receive information about your trip to the Ecolodge. Accommodation in a tourist class hotel (e.g. Hotel Oriental). Afternoon free in Rurrenabaque.

Day 2: Rurrenabaque – Chalalán Ecolodge

06:45: Continental breakfast at hotel

07:15: A guide will pick you up at the hotel to take you to the River Beni where you will get on the boat to Chalalán. Our boats are equipped with: roof, comfy seats, life jackets, raincoats and a first-aid kit. Maximum seating room on the boat is for 10 people.

07:30: Travel by motor boat to the Chalalán Ecolodge. The trip is a great way of seeing the Bala Canyon on the River Beni and getting to the Madidi by going up the River Tuichi. On your way you’ll see different animals and get a feel for the spectacular landscape of the Bolivian Amazon.  We recommend you take binoculars. The trip takes around 5½ hours during the rainy season and 6 hours in the dry season, mainly in July, August and September.

11:00: Packed lunch mid-way.

13:30: Arrival at the port of Chalalán. 25 minute walk to the Ecolodge along a wide, easy jaguar path. Welcome snack on the shores of Lake Chalalán. Our logistics staff will help you with your luggage. Settle in at your cabin or room.

14:00: Welcome lunch in the Ecolodge dining room. After lunch relax in a hammock or swim in Lake Chalalán.

15:45: Short walk along the Paraba path to the viewing point where you can see the beautiful landscape across Lake Chalalán, mountains and Madidi rainforest. Your guide will explain about plants used for building, hardwoods, palms and the traditional and sustainable use of natural resources. Here your guide will talk about the park, our Ecolodge and community. Return to the lake to go on a canoe ride along the shores of Lake Chalalán where you will be able to enjoy the sunset and see monkeys, birds, insects, bats, etc. Return to the Ecolodge for a snack.

19:30: Dinner in the Ecolodge dining room.

20:30: Short night walk along the Paraba or Silbador path to see amphibians, reptiles, insects, tarantulas, rodents, birds and nocturnal monkeys. This is a great chance to hear the sounds of the jungle at night.

Day 3: Chalalán Ecolodge  – Madidi National Park

7:00: Buffet breakfast in Ecolodge dining room. You may talk to your guide about changing the time depending on your interests. (e.g. Breakfast at 5:30 am for birdwatchers.)

7:30: Morning walk along the Tapacare path where you can see and learn about the forest and wildlife. Optional topics: natural forest interpretation, wildlife behavior and bird and mammal watching. Cultural and historical themes. Return to the Ecolodge and snack.

12:30: Lunch in the Ecolodge dining room. After lunch relax in a hammock or swim in Lake Chalalán.

15:30: Short walk along one of the theme paths to learn about medicinal plants and learn more about personal interests.  Return to the Ecolodge and choose from the following optional activities:  Handicrafts, canoe trip, swimming in the Lake, videos about the community and the Madidi National Park.

19:30: Traditional “dunucuabi” dinner of catfish wrapped in leaves or fish á la “tacuara” inside bamboo from the Bolivian Amazon. *This traditional dinner depends on the availability of the fish.

20:30: Short night walk along the Paraba or Silbador path or canoe trip. Upon your return to the Ecolodge you can take part in a traditional Quechua – Tacana night with music and dances from the San José de Uchupiamonas community. Your guide will explain the traditions of the Uchupiamonas people. *This activity will depend on the number of guests staying at the Ecolodge and may be offered any night during your stay.

Day 4: Chalalán Ecolodge – Madidi National Park

06:00: Buffet breakfast in Ecolodge dining room. You may talk to your guide about changing the time depending on your interests. (e.g. Breakfast at 5:30 am for birdwatchers, long walks, etc.)

07:00: Short or long walk (optional) towards the Rivers Raya Mayu or Eslabón. This may be changed depending on the interests of our guests to thematic paths. This walk includes something for everyone: animal watching, ecological processes, different habitats in primary forest and finally the chance to fish for piranhas in the River Mayu. Box lunch along the way or lunch at the Ecolodge. The paths around Chalalán are easy and can be done by all visitors. There is ample opportunity to see wildlife – spider monkeys, tapirs, deer, and wild boar and maybe catch a glimpse of a jaguar.

17:30: Snack in the Ecolodge dining room. Relax or swim in Lake Chalalán.

19:30: Dinner in the Ecolodge dining room.

20:30: After dinner you can go on an optional canoe trip on the Chalalán Lagoon to see amphibians, nocturnal birds and alligators easily seen because of their glowing eyes On a clear night this is ideal for stargazing.

Day 5: Chalalán Ecolodge  – Madidi National Park

06:00: Buffet breakfast in Ecolodge dining room. You may talk to your guide about changing the time depending on your interests. (e.g. Breakfast at 5:30 am for birdwatchers, long walks, etc.)

07:00: 5 hour walk along the Silbador, Huaso and Penena path to the Penena Saltlick. This is a special area of the tropical forest where the animals come to feed on the mineral-rich mud. Penena is a fantastic place to see wildlife and talk about animal behavior and talk about the ecological processes in the different habitats in primary forest. Box lunch and snack included. Return by boat along the River Tuichi and short walk to the Ecolodge along the Jaguar path. NB: You can also do the trip to the Saltlick by boat and return on foot.

17:30: Snack in the Ecolodge dining room. Relax or swim in Lake  Chalalán.

19:30: Dinner in the Ecolodge dining room.

20:30: After dinner you can go on an optional canoe trip on the Chalalán Lagoon to see amphibians, nocturnal birds and alligators easily seen because of their glowing eyes.

Day 6: Chalalán – Rurrenabaque

7:00: Buffet breakfast in Ecolodge dining room and then a short walk to the river Tuíchi to take the boat back to Rurrenabaque. The return walk along the Jaguar or Wichi path can be adjusted to take into account your interests. Please coordinate with your guide.

8:00: Return by boat to Rurrenabaque (only 3 hours). The time is subject to the availability of the boats and flight times. We recommend you stay alert during the boat trip so that you can see the animals along the way.

11:30: Arrive at Rurrenabaque. Transfer to airport and return to the city of La Paz.

NB: All of the walks described above are rated as easy. The activities and times may change depending on the weather, the interests of our guests or other factors.