Susan Etheridge(Chalalan Lodge + Jesuit Missions, Apr 2009)
The Chalalan was wonderful, amazing they can maintain such high quality so far from civilization. Reasonable Hotel in Santa Cruz but great in Concepcion - amazingly nice place so far from everything.
The people at Chalalan are amazing, superb guide Rigoberto, great food and everyone trying so hard and accomplishing so much. They should be encouraged as what they are doing is very difficult but necessary.
Mercedes is amazing and her driver Javier the safest we have ever had. She speaks beautiful English, knows everyone in the Mission area of Bolivia and has wonderful insight on the area. I was not very excited about this part of the trip BEFORE we did it but LOVED it. There is much to do there and a nice hotel - the Grand Hotel of Concepcion. I would definitely recommend it. Bolivia is like Costa Rica with more historically interesting things to do, much cheaper and far fewer tourists. We were able to go to the Madidi - amazing more monkeys than I have ever seen. The group there are superb. They are from a local village and have intimate knowledge about the jungle. The guides are smart, speak several languages and can actually call animals and birds to them. The lodging is very nice, appropriately rustic but safe, clean and fun. The food was amazing especially since one is so far from civilization. It was very exciting and a definite must for the jungle lover. The forest is pristine, no garbage - none, the river clean and beautiful. We should support this group as they are trying to start eco-tourism in Bolivia and save the jungles, rivers, and the animals from the oil and natural gas industry.
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