At Chuchini there are a range of different activities that can be done by guests while they are staying. As volunteers we also got to try them all out (well, the ones that we wanted to anyway….)
So, lets start with the three activities that we didn’t try out….
You can go for a short walk on a horse around the property – you don’t really get to go very far, so this is nice if you like horses – but we preferred to walk 🙂 So no horse-riding for us….
Going on the zipline
There is a zipline that goes across the river – it’s quite a small one, and it doesn’t connect to the tower on the other side – so you go across and then when you get halfway you get pulled back.
It looked OK, but we were a bit lazy and didn’t bother going on it – we just watched. In the rainy season the river is deep and comes all the way up to the edge of the banks where the zipline starts, so you can go on the zipline and then let go and drop into the river. This time of year it’s too dangerous for tourists for do this, as if you let go at the wrong time then you would probably die as you would drop very far onto solid ground…. However…. the owner of Chuchini still likes to have a go….
Pedalos on the lagoon
There are swan-shaped pedalos that you can take out for a spin on the lagoon. This may sound strange – but we never managed to get round to doing this…. probably because it is an activity that is not part of the ‘program’ – eg, it is done during spare time – whereas many of the activities are part of the program that is run for guests – with these activities we joined the guests on the activity as part of our ‘working’ day (It’s really nice that doing activities is included as part of volunteering).
When we got free time, we usually headed straight to the jungle trails or went looking for birds, so we never managed to try out the pedalos…
Now, on to the other activities…
There is a great big metal tower by the river, which you can go to the top of by ascending a ladder up the side… it’s a bit scary as there are no safety barriers whatsoever, and it’s VERY FAR down to the bottom if you fall off the ladder….
We were BRAVE :-), and ascended the scary ladder to the top of the viewing platform….
Chuchini is situated in an area where there were pre-Columbian civilisations, in an area called the Moxos Plains
The people in these times built lots of artifical mounds, and Chuchini actually sits on one of these mounds, with the lagoon being the hole that was left behind when the earth was removed. Because of this, lots and lots of ancient artifacts from these people have been discovered in Chuchini, and these are kept in a small on-site museum, along with a few other interesting bits and pieces. Visitors to Chuchini get a guided tour of the museum. We went on the tour a couple of times, and it was very interesting.
Chuchini has some artificial lakes which are stocked with fish. This is very handy for fishing – as you know that fish are going to be in there! A lot of the guests really loved the fishing – for us, it was fun for a while – but generally after 30 minutes we were ready to do something else!
NOTE: We ourselves, did not catch a SINGLE fish during the two occasions that we went fishing… yes, we are CRAP fisherpeople it seems… However, the catch on both occasions was not massive, so we can also blame the conditions…. 🙂
Now, the reason that the man-made fishing lagoons are here, and that they are stocked full of fish, is because the fish are needed to feed the guests. There were many jokes made about there being no dinner if we didn’t catch any fish. 🙂 BUT in reality, this is true… no fish = no dinner 🙁
But of course, they wouldn’t just let the guests starve, so there is a backup plan… it still involves fish… so we still get fish for dinner… what happens is that if we don’t catch enough to fish to eat, then they get a giant net out, and use the net to catch TONS of fish all at once.
Our group caught barely any fish, so out came the net…
Basically, the net works by being dragged across the lagoon from both sides, and pulled towards the end of the lagoon and onto the land, where the fish can be removed from the net.
So, plenty of fish for dinner that night…. 🙂
Lazing in a hammock
A very popular activity at Chuchini, is just lazing in a hammock – we didn’t really do this, as we preferred to use the hammock area as a bird-watching spot 🙂 Lots of woodpeckers near the hammock area….
Guided trail walks
There are several trails around the property which go into the jungle, and the guests get a guided jungle walk, where they learn about the various plants and animals in the area. We joined one of these, and it was very interesting.
In our spare time, we were able to go off and walk in the jungle by ourselves in search of wildlife…. but more about that later….
And finally… at night there are boat tours out on the lagoon to look for caiman. There are TONS of caiman in the lagoon of all different sizes. The boat glides towards a caiman, which can be seen by the reflection of its eyes, and then the guide is able to pick up the caiman straight out of the water to give everybody a closer look, and then drop it back in again.
These are yacare caiman, which grow only up to about 2.5m and they are not agressive and so not very dangerous to humans (luckily for us….). Apparently they are very relaxed when you stroke their belly?!, which is what we did while we were holding them in the boat for a closer look. So I will leave you with some pics of us and the caimans…