I work as a trainee in Sustainable Bolivia. I have to promote and develop sustainable tourism in Riberalta as well as in its region. A real daily challenge in this region where there is so much to see or do but only if you really want it (and act about it!).
All the volunteers in SB recently had the chance to discover one of the most famous spots in Riberalta, Lake Tumichucua. Indeed, it’s only been two weeks since I arrived and many people asked me: You didn’t go to Tumi?
Well, let’s go for the discovery of this place I have heard so much about.
After refilling the tires of the car, we left at 6 in the car (yes, it is very common in Bolivia to enter in a 5-seater car with actually more than 5 people, and fortunately, for us, we were only 6!). For me it already sounded like the beginning of the adventure. Once out of the city we are on the road. How can I describe it to you? It’s not a path because it’s very wide. But it’s not really a road either, because there’s no asphalt and no stability. But this IS the main road that leads to La Paz. Only after a big half-hour drive, embellished by Bolivian music from the 80s, here we are!
A bit of history
We were told that a large number of missionaries have settled around. Then, progressively, tourism was developed. Large investments were used to create houses and pontoons directly overlooking the lake. Now, it is an area protected by a municipal law, which determines the area as a protected reserve. Indeed, this lagoon, like many of them here, has been created by an old arm of Beni river. The central island of the lake is drawn like a drop of water. According to the local legend, this drop would move every night. It is possible to go around by boat or kayak to admire the ancestral and gigantic trees which are on this magical island.
A calm and relaxing day
For us the program was a little more relaxing. We took advantage of this idyllic location to dive into these emerald green waters. After this refreshing swim, we were pampered by a gargantuan barbecue. On the menu of the fish from the lake, beef, rice (always), yuca, green papaya (excellent for digestion), salad and banana crisps. We had the chance to take a boat ride for some, and for other to go on an inflatable hot dog ride, the sensations were optimal!
To end this day perfectly, we had the privilege to have a boat ride to view the sunset. It was the perfect time to make plenty of photos with exceptional light. But, especially, to enjoy the calm and serenity that emanated from the lake and the forest. It is a feeling that is difficult to describe but which I am sure was shared by all. It was an extraordinary moment that I particularly enjoyed sharing with my colleagues from the association as well as the founding members of the Aquicuana reserve. It was also a privilege to discover one of the ecotourism places of Riberalta and I will make you discover others for sure!