We left early the next day missing the offered yoga class and swimming pool. Instead we headed down an over grown road on route to Caranavi. We made good time despite driving on what many call the real death road because it includes not only steep drop offs but all types of traffic like speeding buses and overloaded trucks that refuse to pull to one side, not to mention all the half finished mud clogged road works. In Caranavi we went to the two recommended hotels but both were ridiculously over priced and the staff were as uninterested as you could be. So after another typical Bolivian lunch of soup, rice and this time fried chicken followed by a strange tasting ice cream we continued out of town. Frustrated we pushed on hopping to find a place to free camp. Not long after Will spied the most amazing spot, a bar and huge swimming pool just off the road in a grassy setting. They said we could camp for free so we said thank you by paying for a swim and a few beers while making noodles on the cooker next to the deck. Soon after the few remaining locals started singing karaoke but it was all quiet by 9pm. Here we had also asked the locals about the road that appeared on our map through the Madidi jungle which is where we were heading towards. One man spoke English but they weren't sure about the road only that there would be a few pontoon river crossings on the way, so we pressed on the next morning.
In the end the walk the next day got a little awkward as his price was higher then we expected so we had to do some bargaining. Given that we planned to take our car and pay for much of our own food and all the gas. After a ridiculous amount of toing and froing we had basically decided not to go with Cheo and had signed up for a pampas tour, but at the last moment Cheo came to our hotel campground and agreed to take us for the price we thought was right. So we put the pampas tour on hold and woke up early the next day to stock up on food at the local Sunday market with Cheo. I'll let you know how everything went in the next blog.
Rochelle & Will