Chalalan Eco Lodge, Madidi National Park, Bolivia

29 May 2004 2:57 pm

Arriving Rurrenabaque

Chalalan is a community owned rainforest resort. The project was sponsored by a NGO some years back (hmm, forget the NGO’s name at this moment). The mission was to help one native community inside Madidi park develop sustainable income through the creation of an eco resort, while also protecting the park through sound eco tourism. Chalalan is a classy place. I believe the NGO brought in some architects, and persons from the community constructed the resort using materials from the forest. Beautiful teak and mahogany huts with thatched roofs were built in the middle of Madidi park, a 5 hour boat ride from Rurrenabaque.

Carrier ants

Ernesto and I followed Nigel, our guide, through the rain forest for 3 days and nights. Nigel grew up tracking animals in the forest so of course he told us all about the animals and medicinal plants in Madidi. We spotted many large groups of squirrel monkeys (sooo cute) and capuchine monkeys but also several larger red howler monkeys (my person favorite) and the prehistoric Watson bird, and of course caymen. It happened to be a rather cold and rainy week so we didn’t see many snakes and toads, but we saw taratulas, scorpion spiders, carrier ants, and many jaguar prints (though no jaguars). One day we spent hours slowly creeping through the forest tracking wild pigs. Interesting thing about wild pigs – they absolutely STINK. I can’t remember ever encountering a worse smelling animal. They travel in groups of 50 to 200 and tear the forest apart looking for roots and fruits and bugs to eat. They are very weary of humans, so though you can see their rath and smell them, it’s not so easy to actually see them.

Because it was a rainy week, mushrooms were out in full force. Somehow, I really took a liking to the many soft and colorful shrooms. With my limited photo skills, I did my best to capture a mushroom gallery.

Mushroom gallery


Cigarette mushrooms

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