Lowlands in Bolivia means hot temperatures. At this time of year some 35°C need to be expected at least.
Parque Nacional Madidi
Our first day into the Madidi rain forest started with an 8 hour boat trip along the Río Tuichi starting in Rurrenabaque. It was raining all day at 20°C. Not exactly what we had expected. Everything was soaking wet and never really dried up for the next couple of days in this humid climate.
While animals are hard to spot in the dense forest, the flora is beautiful and impressive.
On the way east we stopped at Chuchini Reserve near Trinidad and took a boat trip on Río Ibare down to Río Mamoré (which ends up in the Amazon at some point north). We spotted some pink river dolphins (impossible to picture) and a few other animals.
As soon as we took the turnoff in San Ramon, it felt like being in another world, or at least another country. Every village name starts with "San", the houses look better, the landscape predominantely consists of small hills. As a consequence the road takes more turns (as opposed to the flat straight lines in the rest of the lowlands) and is in perfect condition for endless miles. A rare sight in Bolivia where the roads hardly ever remain as intended for more than a mile.
In this region a number of Jesuit missions had been established in the 18th century and many of them have been restored in the late 20th century. These churches are mainly built from wood and look distinctly different than anything else in South America.
The entire country is fully decorated with propaganda for Evo Morales who aims to be reelected for president this weekend. Demonstrations like these are rumored to pay for people to attend.
Propaganda for the opposition is a rare sight but does exist.
The road from San Ignacio de Velasco to Brazil is a typical jungle dirt road which goes in a pretty straight line along the border.
The border crossing was an almost too relaxed experience. The Bolivian military standing at the border would just let us pass through without further ado and without any clue as to where the migration office is located. So we had to turn around and find the migration and customs offices on different ends of the town some 5 miles before the border. Similar story on the Brazilian side where the customs office had already closed by 4:45pm. So we spent the night at a lonely bar at the border, got our vehicle imported the next morning and got our entry stamps in Cáceres an hour's drive from the border.