San Ignacio de Moxos, about three hours from Trinidad (the capital of Bolivia’s Beni department), hosts what is surely one of the most spectacular festivals in Bolivia. A tiny village on a miserable dirt road that turns to liquid mud or just gets flooded by Amazonian rivers in the rainy season, San Ignacio is only accessible during the dry season.
Most guide books say that San Ignacio de Moxos isn’t worth the effort unless you go for the fiesta, but our experience was that the journey itself is worth it because the waterways and lagoons that lie along the road are home to a host of wildlife that is easily visible and not very afraid of humans. Luckily, we were able to combine wildlife spotting with San Ignacio de Moxos’ fiesta.
But first, the small task of crossing the Rio Mamore.
After crossing the river you spend the next two and a half hours on mud and gravel, but throughout the entire journey there are hawks and vultures, stalks and water birds, river dolphins and alligators to spot – in fact, this journey was one long Bolivian safari.
It was impossible to capture everything on camera, but we must have seen a dozen types of water/wading birds and a similar number of hawks, not forgetting the very exciting river dolphins.
Almost as impressive as the animals is the surrounding countryside, very green and stretching as far as the eye can see.
As if one sighting of river dolphins wasn’t enough, we were lucky to see two groups within a short distance of each other.