For travel to Bolivia, you must have a passport with at least six months of validity beyond your date of departure and two blank visa pages side by side. U.S. citizens traveling to Bolivia for tourism must apply for a tourist visa, which is valid for 10 years. With this visa, you may stay a maximum of 30 calendar days per trip, not to exceed 90 days total per year. You can apply for a Bolivian tourist visa through any Bolivian Consulates in the United States.
We have found that working with the Houston Consulate is very efficient. Following is a link to their site, which provides all of the details and requirements: http://boliviatx.org/consular-affairs/visas/tv You can either take the required documentation directly to their office (if you live in the Houston area) or FedEx it to them and include a return FedEx label for the return of the passport and visa.
Note: One of the requirements for obtaining the visa is an invitation letter, which will be provided by our office. Please contact us when you begin the visa process and we will prepare and send your invitation letter.
Travel to Santa Cruz is easy. American Airlines has daily one-stop overnight flights from Miami each evening, arriving Santa Cruz the next morning. COPA and United Airlines have one-stop flight service from Houston and Miami. Flights back to Miami usually operate early morning or late evening. A departure tax of approximately $25.00 is assessed upon departing Santa Cruz. We strongly suggest that you allow plenty of time between flights to make your connections.
For shooting-only trips: Guests are met upon arrival in Santa Cruz and transferred 1.5 hours via private vehicle to Las Palomas Lodge. Arrival is in plenty of time for lunch and an afternoon hunt. On the last shooting day, after the morning hunt, guests will have lunch then drive back to Santa Cruz to either their day room at the Camino Real or Los Tajibos Hotel (if the flight home is late that night), or for an overnight (if their flight home is the next morning).
For fishing-only trips: Guests are met upon arrival in Santa Cruz, and transferred directly to the charter aircraft terminal for their 2 hour flight to Caño Negro Lodge. Arrival, weather permitting, is in plenty of time for lunch and an afternoon of fishing. On the last fishing day, guests will have a morning of fishing followed by lunch and a 2 hour air charter back to Santa Cruz to either their dayroom at the Camino Real or Los Tajibos Hotel (if the flight home is late that night), or for an overnight (if their flight home is the next morning).
For fishing-shooting combos: Guests will be met upon arrival in Santa Cruz, transferred to the private charter area, then fly 2 hours to Caño Negro Lodge, arriving in time for afternoon fishing. On the last fishing day, guests will have a morning of fishing followed by an early lunch and a 2 hour air charter to Las Palomas lodge. On the last shooting day, after the morning hunt, guests will have lunch then drive back to Santa Cruz to either their dayroom at the Camino Real or Los Tajibos hotel (if the flight home is late that night), or for an overnight (if their flight home is the next morning).
NON-EMERGENCY/EMERGENCY PHONE CONTACTS
ROD & GUN RESOURCES: 800-211-4753 BOLIVIAN ADVENTURES: 011-591-7767-0890 LAS PALOMAS LODGE: 011-591-7709-5852
It is standard procedure to have your bags weighed before boarding the charter flight (40 lb. maximum allowed – you will be asked to lighten your load if your luggage is overweight). It is requested that everyone bring soft-sided bags with minimal casual clothing, one gun case (if you bring your own guns) and one rod case. Please do not bring hard luggage or coolers – they will not fit on the charter aircraft. There is daily laundry service, so keep clothing to a minimum. IMPORTANT: Be sure to pack your medications and two full changes of tropical clothing in your carry-on luggage, and travel in fishing/tennis shoes.
CAMPS & ACCOMMODATIONS
The Shooting: The Molinas offer guests two lovely lodging options—their original Bolivian-tropical-style lodge, Las Palomas, or their stylish new addition, Los Guaduales lodge and spa. Both offer well-appointed suites and guestrooms with private baths, a massage room, a beautiful pool and adjacent palapa bar, Jacuzzi, satellite television, internet access, and any and all amenities that make for a wonderfully luxurious stay. The lodges were constructed specifically as dove hunting headquarters, and are located quite close to huge concentrations of birds.
The Fishing: Caño Negro/Green Forest Lodge is a traditional wood-constructed facility on the Rio Caño/San Simon system. The new lodge features four spacious, double occupancy air-conditioned rooms with private baths, large dining and bar/conversation areas, and a lovely view overlooking huge adjacent spring-fed lagoons. Please note that the generator is turned off each night from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Temperatures late in the evening/early morning will usually be in the mid to upper 60s, but will occasionally go into the mid 70s.
FOOD & BEVERAGES
The lodges provide both quality and ample meals throughout your stay—particularly at Las Palomas, which is known for fantastic meals. A breakfast buffet is typically served from 6:30 to 7:00 each morning. Pastries, eggs, toast, fresh fruit, bacon, cereal and fresh coffee are all standard fare. Lunch is a sit -down field barbeque at Las Palomas (or guests can return to the lodge). At the fishing lodge, guests return to the lodge for lunch or may request a cooler with various cold cuts, cheeses, breads, fruit, etc. for lunch on the river. Appetizers are served when all guests return from the day’s events, followed by dinner. A mixture of Bolivian and American foods is featured in the dinner menus. Fresh fish, beef, pork, and chicken are accompanied by an assortment of delicious soups, salads, rice, bread and mixed vegetables. The camps supply bottled water, soft drinks, local liquor, beer (limited for safety reasons to six per person during the hunting/fishing day) and wine
with dinner. Bring your own specialty liquor.
Both lodges have diesel generators that produce 220-volt electricity. You may need a converter (depending on your electrical device) and you will need an adapter – European two-prong and three-prong plug ins. The generators at the fishing lodge go off at 10 pm and are turned back on at 6 am.
Spanish is spoken in Bolivia. The guides only speak some fishing/shooting English, but both facilities have a full time bilingual host.
Each lodge/camp has daily laundry service. All dirty clothes should be left on the foot of your bed before you go out in the morning. The laundry personnel will pick up the clothes and wash them while you’re out and return them to your room, usually before dinner. At the fishing area, if the day is excessively rainy, laundry will not come back until the following day, as all clothing is air-dried.
Most Latin American currencies fluctuate against the U.S. dollar, so it’s pointless to list even approximate exchange rates. Bolivian hotels and shops readily accept U.S. dollars, so there is really no need to exchange money, even for gratuities.
Import allowances restrict import of excess amounts of liquor and tobacco, so keep them to a minimum (one carton of cigarettes or 25 cigars, and 2 liters of alcoholic beverages maximum). Beer, local liquor, soft drinks and wine are included in the weekly rate at all lodges/camps.
The Bolivian guides are hard working individuals that really aim to please. They do not speak English very well, but will be able to help you select the right lures/flies, help with fishing techniques and shooting and assist with shells, drinks, etc. in the shooting area.
The suggested gratuities at the hunting and the fishing camps, for the bird boys, guides and staff are $60 per day per guest. Approximately 1/3 can be given directly to the bird boys or fishing guides and 2/3 to the camp host to be divided among the staff. Please do not bring traveler’s checks for tipping purposes. Tens and twenties are appreciated and most easily divided among the staff.
All of our lodges and camps are located in remote areas. Those who have serious health problems should think twice about going to such a location with limited medical attention available. Both camps use bottled water and also have their own deep wells for water, therefore water-born contagious diseases are uncommon. Do not drink the tap water in any hotel rooms or public areas! The fishing and hunting areas have some mosquitoes and biting gnats. Be sure you have some long-sleeved clothing and bring insect repellent—use a product with at least 50% D.E.E.T. Also, clothing with insect shield works well.
A Yellow Fever vaccination is no longer required to enter Bolivia. For further information regarding inoculations/precautions for travel to Bolivia, we suggest you contact a local international medicine physician or the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Travelers can get up-to-date information on health precautions by calling (toll-free) 888-232-3299. The CDC’s web site address is http://www.cdc.gov
Semi-tropical temperatures prevail in the fishing and shooting areas with day-time highs in the 80s to mid-90s. At night, the temperature drops to a very pleasant 60-70º F. Rain may occur throughout the week, so bring along a good quality, lightweight rain suit.
We recommend wearing loose fitting, lightweight cottons or synthetics (Orvis, Patagonia, ExOfficio insect shield). Long pants and long sleeves are best to protect from sunburn and hide ankles and wrists from biting insects. The camp/lodge has daily laundry service, so please don’t over pack (remember weight restrictions).
BOATS AND MOTORS
The fishing boats vary from aluminum sleds to local custom-made wooden boats. They are quite adequate for the various river and lagoon conditions, and are equipped with outboard motors, casting decks, comfortable seats, and ample coolers to store drinks and lunches.
Hunters may either take their guns or utilize Bolivian Adventures’ shotguns—they have a fine selection for rent at $65/day. Most are new model Benelli and Beretta auto loaders in 20 and 12 gauges. Hunters bringing their own guns need to complete a gun permit pre-registration form and return it to Rod & Gun Resources, along with a copy of your passport and a copy of the completed US Customs Form 4457 no later than 45 days prior to the trip. There is a $50/gun entry fee when taking your own guns.
Bolivian Adventures uses top quality shells (from Europe and Argentina), available in 12 and 20 gauge at $14/box, $15/box for 28 gauge and $16/box for .410 gauge (subject to change). At the end of your stay, a shell bill will be submitted, payable in cash, check or PayPal– credit cards are not accepted. If paying by check, there is a $20 fee added for processing.
SPINNING OR BAITCASTING TACKLE
Take medium-heavy to heavy largemouth bass tackle with long-handled 6 to 7 foot rods and strong reels of at least 80 to 100 yards capacity with high-speed retrieve ratios. Bring at least two rods and reels. For lines, we suggest 30-65 lb. Spectra or Power Pro braided line or similar. Peacock bass do not require steel leaders, which take some action out of the lure. For payara and pacu, use a 30-pound plastic coated, bronze color, steel leader (Tyger Leader). Use a firm-action-tip rod, as the fish may exceed 20 lbs. We recommend breakdown travel rods.
SPINNING OR BAITCASTING LURES
Topwater – a mixture of around 8 total lures for a full week:
Barboleta Nitro Peacock Bass propeller lures: 3 ½” – 5”, All colors
Heddon Zara Spook and One Nocker Spook: 3 ¾” – 4 ½”, All colors
Heddon Baby or Magnum Torpedo: 2 ½” – 3 5/16”, All colors
Spinners and Spoons—a mixture of 12 total lures:
Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon: 3/4 – 1 oz., All colors
Acme Kast Master: 3/8 – 1 oz., All colors
Diving Minnows—a mixture of around 8 total lures:
Bomber Long A, Original: 4 ½” – 6”, Fish colors
Rapala or Cordell Redfin, shallow: 3 ½” – 5 ½”, All colors
Diving jointed minnows:
Yo-Zuri Hydro Squid: 7 ½“, Purple, pink, red
Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow: 5 ¼”, Fish colors
XCaliber Rattlebaits (rattletraps): ½ — ¾ oz., All colors
NOTE: Single laser-sharp hooks work best for payara.
For spinning and bait casting tackle and lures, contact J.W. Smith at (800) 211-4753 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FLY FISHING TACKLE
The aggressive jungle species are well suited to fly fishing with many fly fishing world records to be set.
Eight or nine-weight, four-piece travel fly rods are recommended for payara. A six-weight fly rod is best for peacock bass. Reels should have a smooth drag, hold at least 100 yards of 30-pound. backing, and be spooled with weight forward bass taper or saltwater floating or clear intermediate sink tip lines such as Orvis floating Wonderline, Rio or similar. Bring a 200-300 grain fast-sink-tip line for payara. Use 30-40 pound monofilament for leader/tippet. When fishing for payara and pacu, use 20-30 pound plastic coated, bronze color, steel leader (Tyger Leader). Take two rods and reels.
FLIES – 6 total topwater, 40-80 total underwater flies for a full week – BARBLESS HOOKS ONLY
Large Poppers (topwater): 2/0 to 3/0, red, white, yellow, chartreuse combinations
Minnow and deceiver patterns (underwater): 2/0 to 3/0, chartreuse/white, blue/white, red/white, orange/white, yellow/white, all with flash
Spuddler or Clouser type payara flies: 2/0 to 3/0, black/red, silver grey/red, blue and olive, with weighted eyes, all with flash Clouser for Sardinata: #4 to #2, red, white, yellow, chartreuse combinations
For flies,contact Feather-Craft Fly Fishing www.feather-craft.com , (800) 659-1707 or J.W. Smith 800-211-4753.
For payara, pacu, peacock bass and exotic catfish mounts, we recommend: Ron Kelly, Artistic Wildlife Gallery, (214) 663-5299, http://www.fishcreations.com
FISHING – CLOTHING
Two light-weight long-sleeved shirts
Two pair light-weight fishing pants
One pair shorts or swimsuit
Several polo or tee shirts
Light-weight rain jacket
Fishing hat, preferably with long bill
Fishing gloves, socks, bandana
Cash for camp tips, etc.
Passport and photocopy of first two pages
Sunscreen and sunblock lip balm
Insect repellent with DEET or Geraniol
Small first aid kit and Band-Aids
Personal items and toiletries
Small flashlight and batteries
Waterproof gear bag or large zip lock
Camera with extra batteries
Travel dictionary English/Spanish
Credit cards and personal checks
Amber polarized sun glasses
Line clippers or scissors, small knife
Hook sharpener (important for payara)
Clear plastic tackle boxes for flies
Extra line and leader material
Fly line cleaner if fly fishing
HUNTING – NEED ALL PERSONAL ITEMS PLUS
Hunting shirts: dark brown, dark green or camo
Medium to lightweight cotton or synthetic pants and/or shorts—in browns and greens
Hat in green/brown or camo
Shooting safety glasses: yellow for dark days, dark for sun (either is a safety fundamental requirement)
Thin, soft leather shooting gloves to protect hands while loading and firing
Earplugs for protection while shooting
Recoil reduction device to wear under/over shirt or vest