AF1 – Golden Dorado Fishing Expedition in Bolivia – Angling Frontiers
South American Fly Fishing Adventure in Bolivia.
- This trip is definitely not for the faint of heart, you will need an adventurous spirit for this one.
- The water levels on this river allow for it to be fished by either wading or drifting, and there are plenty of opportunities to do some sight casting.
- There are 2 Adventures that are offered: An 8 day with 6.5 days fishing and a 10 day with 8 days fishing.
- Golden Dorado are the primary target species, but you will also catch muturo, pacu, sabalo, surubi, Silver Dorado, and yatorana.
- The season runs June-October. Prime months are August- October due to water levels and clarity.
- Difficulty level is moderate to difficult (be able to cast large flies).
Explorers from Europe risked it all for gold, adventure and glory, now you can, in a small way relive their adventure on this amazing Bolivian fishing excursion for Golden Dorado in the jungles of Bolivia. These jungles are one of the only places on this Earth of ours that are still completely wild, where the fish that you encounter will probably have never been seen by a man, let alone caught.
Price for 2018 Season:
Group of four anglers – $4,995 + $550 (Indigenous Territory fee)
Total $ 5,545
*Prices subject to change at any time without notice.
- Airport meet and greet, accompanied to hotel for check-in.
- One night hotel (first night upon arrival) at the luxurious 5 star Hotel Buganvillas in Santa Cruz, with breakfast included. (Double Occupancy rooms, but single rooms available for $100 extra) If extra night is needed before departure, it can be arranged at an extra cost (approximately $100 a night).
- All airport<–>hotel transportation.
- Round-trip private charter flights to jungle airstrip. (2.15hrs travel each way)
- Professional fly-fishing guides and local indigenous guides, guide operated boats.
- Camp accommodations at fishing location, laundry. – Chef preparing 3 meals/drinks a day in fishing areas. Soft drinks, local beer and local liquor/wines included. (Bring your own specialty liquor and/or tobacco).
- Heavy spinning and bait-casting fishing equipment available for clients who wish to try their luck with giant catfish.
- Limited supply of an assortment of hooks and other tackle provided (extra tackle available for purchase).
- Trip Insurance
- All commercial international air travel. Airport taxes and fees.
- Extra hotel nights.
- Visa expenses.
- Gratuities to fishing guides and camp staff, host/ess. Recommended tip for the staff is at least 8% of the trip cost, per client, to be given to the camp manager to be then equally distributed to the staff.
- Phone calls, satellite phone calls and any purchases of personal items.
- Any imported or specialty alcoholic beverages, cigars, cigarettes, etc.
- Any meals or drinks outside of fishing areas (hotels and restaurants while in Santa Cruz)
You’ll be fishing the Casare’ River
This river is located in an indigenous territory at the point where the Bolivian Amazon and the Eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains meet. This is one of the most isolated and remote places in the world.
The structure of the river allows for it to be fished by wading or drifting, and even offer opportunities to sight cast at fish. The most unique characteristic of this fishery is the ability to catch trophy Golden Dorado (and an array of other species) on the fly, in a small mountain-stream-type river like that of the Rocky Mountains. In addition, you are surrounded by jungle that is alive with an incredible collection of plants and wildlife. The landscape here is simply surreal in beauty, with its lush jungle covering the hills and mountains that choke the banks of this clear water river. The isolation and remoteness of this area has kept it pristine, holding healthy populations of fish in quantities seldom seen in any river these days.
The target species is Golden Dorado
Golden Dorado are the primary target, but you will also encounter Muturo (a.k.a. Jau); Pacu or Pirapitinga; Sabalo; Surubi or Striped Catfish; Tabarana- The Silver Dorado; and Yatorana.
The Culture, Nature, and People are Amazing
At Angling Frontiers one of our main objectives is protecting the environment, the cultural integrity, and way of life of the Tsimane people. To make this happen Angling Frontiers has formed an alliance with the indigenous communities. They have joined forces in protecting the flora, fauna, and culture. Angling Frontiers aims to show the world the Tsimane people’s unique home and their fascinating life but to also educate people about the factors that threaten the existence of this unique land and people. Among these, are ecological degradation, loss of biodiversity and loss of cultural identity. Working together, we will be able to stop the illegal logging and other illegal resource extractions that have plagued the area in the past, and help to rekindle the value placed on the Tsimane traditions.
We want to show the Tsimane people that they can make a better living through tourism, while still protecting their home and securing a future for their children. With this conservation project, and through catch-and-release sport fishing, we aim to contribute to their communities with not only funding but also through job opportunities, education, alternative project development and with an all-around improvement in their standard of living.
Lodging and Accommodations
The main camp comes fully equipped and acts as the base camp for the expedition. The camp consists of large safari tents with comfortable beds and meshed in dining areas to help clients feel right at home in the jungle. Clients will have the use of camp showers, simple flushable toilets, and electricity for lighting and to power electronics.
- Specialized Tents: BareBones tents have proven to have a quality and innovative design for durable and all-weather safari tents. (Both expeditions are double-occupancy)
- Sleeping Accommodations: Guests will enjoy the comfort of a bed, sheets and a pillow, nightstand, fan and essentially everything needed for our guests’ extra comfort. Cool nights usually help resting easy. Each tent will have enough walking space where you will be able to easily move and accommodate and organize your personal belongings in your personal clothes rack.
- Dining Area: Our dining room is quite spacious and comfortable, doubling up as our hang out area as well. Our meshed windows keep bugs outside so that guests can relax without the annoyance of biting insects, and stay protected from even the harshest tropical elements. The dining room is always stocked with wine, beer, cold drinks, bottled drinking water, hot water (tea/coffee), liquor, and snacks. There are also cards and dice for the occasional game.
- Washrooms and Showers: Our bathrooms are fully equipped. Each bathroom has two showers/changing areas, and two toilet cubicles, as well as a sink/mirror. We also have outdoor tin urinals in order to conserve water. Water pressure is constant and the water is taken straight from the river.
- Power Source: Gasoline generators and solar batteries power our main camp. You can charge your electronics whenever you need in designated areas. Speakers will be available for playing music from any device with an AUX port or wireless via bluetooth. The dining area will also have fans to keep the temperature cooler during the day.
Expedition camps are set up on the spot, but are well equipped and comfortable. These camps are needed in the most remote of areas, during extensive explorations that take us far enough away from or in between our main camps. These have a slightly more rustic construction, but still have solar showers and an outhouse style toilet. In these camps, more of the outdoors experience can be had with bathing in the river, sleeping closer to the jungle, and hear more sounds all around your tent. Animal tracks can and will be seen all around the campsites and monkeys and other fauna will come check you out as they probably haven’t ever seen a human before!
- Solar Batteries: Only solar batteries will be available at the Expedition Camps, and they will provide us with a lighted camp, and also available to charge electronics (limited use to conserve energy).
- Domed Tents: At our expedition camps we will use extra-large rectangular domed tents. Each guest will enjoy the comfort of their own where campsites allow. Sometimes campsite conditions are limited in space, so we pair up two people per tent, but still are comfortable and each angler has more than enough living space to organize their belongings.
- Sleeping Accommodations: We will provide extra large cots and a tent light. Each tent will have enough walking space and storage where you will be able to easily and efficiently accommodate your personal belongings. Guests must bring their own sleeping bag and pillow.
- Washrooms: Our expedition camps will have out-house style bathrooms with actual toilet seats built inside a small tent enclosure, and are maintained to keep clean facilities for your use. Toilets are set up to be used in classic “out-house” fashion, pouring sand/ash into the pit after each use.
- Showers: Our showers will be built using solar heating bags in a shower house set up. Plastic tarp will be used to give guests the proper privacy at any time of day, and also to protect from insects. Each guest will have to bring their own toiletries.
- Dining Area: A large no-see-um mesh screen house is used for the dining and social area. Guests will be able to enjoy each meal and relax without insects, and still get to enjoy a cool breeze through the mesh. The screened area is large enough to be comfortable for all guests and still allow some moving space. There will be lights set up inside and outside to provide proper lighting. Also, a cooler with cold drinks, beer, bottled water and liquor will be arranged every day.
Our goal is to provide you with a great culinary experience to compliment your adventure and angling experiences. Our cooks will prepare 3 meals a day for our guests to enjoy. Because we want you to have a taste of Bolivia, some meals will be either traditional local dishes or locally “inspired” dishes. For the adventurous eaters, there will be opportunities to try various jungle snacks and treats. Our cooks will also prepare some international dishes. Local fresh ingredients will be used so that our guests can experience a bit of the delicious bounties the jungle has to offer!
Breakfast will be particularly filling, with a variety of protein and carbs to get your day started with the necessary fuel. Your breakfast buffet will consist of scrambled eggs or egg tortillas with sausage and vegetables, potatoes, bacon, ham, cheese, bread, jelly and butter, pancakes or crepes, bread, cheese fritters, empanadas, and various others among a selection of local fresh fruit.Tea, coffee, mate and juice will be served every morning. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so we make sure you make the most out of it!
Since lunchtime will usually find us out fishing in a random spot in the middle of the wilderness, we will have previously prepared meals for lunch. This will, of course, give you more time out on the water, and increase your chances at catching that trophy of a lifetime!
Our chef will prepare sandwiches, salads, and local dishes and snacks with beef jerky that will not only be delicious and filling, but also give you the energy needed to finish your day of fishing. Nuts, cereal bars and dried fruit will keep your appetite entertained in between. Cold bottled water and beverages will keep you hydrated. If the fishing rotation brings us to have lunch in main camp, we will arrange a full buffet style lunch with various sides (plantains, yucca, potatoes, fresh vegetables, rice, beans, salad, pasta, etc) and usually steak, fish or chicken as the main protein. Either way, we do everything possible to keep our clients appetite satisfied and entertained, so that they can concentrate on their hunt for dorado!
Before dinner, our guests enjoy appetizers with Serrano ham, smoked and cured meats, salami, various cheeses, olives and sausage along with some red wine, beer or a mixed drink to accompany these. The menu: Our cook will prepare Bolivian beef, chicken, pork or fish as the protein to our meals. Sides will include rice, pasta, salad, potatoes, yucca, plantains, vegetables, and other delicious ingredients either grown on site, or brought by Cessna to our camps. Our camp cook will work hard to give you nutritionally complete and delicious meals and keep you satisfied throughout your expedition. Local liquor, beer, and wine will be served in the evenings after your day of fishing, a time when guests can unwind and share stories of the days adventure!
Having spent their younger years fishing all over Bolivia in search of only the best fisheries, this team is comprised of a tough, adventure-hungry, up-for-anything group of guys who have explored places that no man has been to before. It’s their passion for fishing that has naturally led them to want to share their experiences with those looking for a fishing adventure only few will ever experience.
For your trip, you will fly to Santa Cruz, Bolivia where you will meet your outfitter. You will stay in Hotel Buganvillas Suites and Spa and rest up for an early morning departure to camp. You will then catch an early chartered flight to the Jungle Airstrip. This Estimated flight time is 2:35 hours. Upon arrival at jungle airstrip, you will begin transfer to your first camp via dugout boat.
On Thursday night or Friday morning you will fly into Viru Viru International Airport (IATA: VVI, ICAO: SLVR) in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Stay in Buganvillas Suites and Spa, a 5-star hotel Friday night (1st night is included in price).
Saturday morning have breakfast and head into camp via airplane (2 hour flight) once at the jungle airstirp load up on dugout canoes and head to Base camp ½ day of fishing.
Base camp sits on two rivers from there can do fly camps farther up river or fish each day returning to base camp.
Depart Friday AM from base camp or early Saturday AM depending on water levels fishing your way back to the airstrip. Saturday night get late flight out or stay in hotel again (~$100) departing from Santa Cruz the following morning.
All US citizens require visas to enter Bolivia. Bolivian tourist visas are valid for five years from the date of issuance and allow the bearer to enter the country three times in a year for a cumulative stay of not more than ninety days.
There are two options for securing a Bolivian visa:
1) You can apply for the visa in advance through your local travel company..or
2) You can apply and receive your Bolivian visa in Santa Cruz while you are going through customs. In order to do this, you will need the following: Completed Visa application form • 2 passport photos (not wearing glasses) • Your vaccinations card • Hotel reservation or invitation letter (This we will provide) • Sufficient funds (cc, cash, or bank statement) • Fee: $160 US to be paid in cash. With all these, you can secure your visa on site quite rapidly.
*All guests will be required to sign a disclaimer forms prior to participating in any activities.
Inoculations and Health Risks:
All visitors to Bolivia require a Yellow Fever Vaccine certification (done one week prior to trip date, need to show documentation) as Santa Cruz is considered a Dengue affected area.
There are also rare cases of leishmaniasis, a potentially deadly tropical disease if left unchecked and untreated. Although these diseases are rare cases, ALL guests are strongly encouraged to wear long sleeve shirts and pants, closed toed shoes, gloves, a buff and always use insect repellent at all times, even during their stay at the various camps. We also advise our guests to be current with hepatitis and tetanus vaccinations.
The closest medical facility is in Santa Cruz. Guests have the responsibility to disclose any special medical, physical, or dietary needs to the lodge ahead of time. For emergencies, we recommend Global Rescue, Spot or other popular medical evacuation services.
Before our departure to the fishing area, we will notify a local helicopter rescue team of our trip details and (at your cost) be called by satellite phone to our location at any point in the expedition.
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Suggested Gear List
- The fishing at Casare’ river is very diverse. Therefore, we recommend bringing different types of equipment and more than one set up.Fly Fishing Tackle/Equipment List:
- Rods: 7-10 weight rods are the recommended sizes for the different species and conditions. A 9’ 9wt. being the most practical all around rod. 10wt are for the upper-most sector of the river, where shallow pockets among lots of boulders and structure force you to use a rod with more backbone, especially with those 30+lbers!
- Reels: Any quality reel with a good drag system and at least 100 yards of 30 pound backing.
- Lines: Most fishing is done with freshwater or saltwater floating lines and lines with built in intermediate tips. Lines like the Rio Saltwater Versi-Tip or a 300 grain saltwater sinking head are handy as well and allow anglers to get down deep when needed. While not mandatory, it can be nice to have two rods rigged, one with a floater and one with a sinking tip.
- Top 3 lines: Rio Outbound Fresh, Clouser Freshwater and Wulff Ambush.
Leaders/Tippet: 9 ft. leaders with 20-60 pound tippet and wire are the norm. Bring along spools of 20, 25, 30 and 40 pound mono as well as 2 spools each of 30, 40 and 60 pound coated wire tippet. With these diameters we typically fashion our own simple leaders. Titanium leaders are also a very good choice.
- Top 3 lines: Rio Outbound Fresh, Clouser Freshwater and Wulff Ambush.
- Flies: In general, this trip favors large dark 4-8 inch patterns. However, when the water levels drop smaller and lighter colored flies become crucial. When a sudden downpour muddies the river, the big dark flies are back in favor. As an absolute minimum, we suggest arriving with 4-6 dozen flies.
- We will have some flies available for sale, and we do have flies made specifically designed for the rivers you will fish so you will be able to purchase or restock some flies on-site. They run about $8.00-$10.00 each. Keep in mind if the fishing is good you will most likely end up buying 2-3 dozen flies on site with cash.
- Fishing is mostly done using baitfish imitations. Full black, and combinations of black and red, purple or orange are very effective.
- The most popular fly used is the Andino Deceiver. It is just like a regular Deceiver but has lead eyes and a muddler head.
- Another popular fly used is the Lefty’s Deceiver. Small imitation of fruits (figs) and nuts in green and dark patterns are irresistible to pacu and yatoranas.
- For large catfish, (if desired) we recommend the following: (we will have some heavy gear for our guests, should they not have it and choose to fish for these giants)
Recommended Packing List:
Packing for an adventure of this nature is not easy. On a trip like this it is very important to have everything you need and nothing you do not. Below you will find the detailed list of items we recommend bringing on this trip. Please feel free to ask any questions regarding your packing items, we will be glad to personally help you by phone or email.
- Passport, plane tickets, visa [or visa application with valid passport photos (2), vaccination card (with yellow fever vaccination), invitation letter (or hotel reservation and/or itinerary), proof of funds (Copy of current bank statement, personal checks, and cash), and $160 Visa fee.]
- Rods: 2-3 rods of your choosing (4 piece). For purposes of keeping the weight down we take our rods out of individual metal tubes and put into one lightweight rod case.
- Reels: Two-three large arbor reels.
- Floating Lines: 1 floating line and one sink-tip. Heavy headed lines like the Rio Outbound or Clouser (we feel the freshwater versions are slightly better than the saltwater versions but both are adequate). Also, the Wulff Ambush line performs well. It has a very short heavy head and throws large flies well. We recommend bringing one spare floating/sink-tip and sinking line.
- Sinking Lines: One intermediate tip line and one 300-grain line (optional). Tippet:
- Four spools of tippet – 30lb, 40lb, 50lb, 60lb.
- Wire: Four spools of coated wire – (2) 30lb, (2) 40lb, 60lb optional.
- Flies: Approximately 4-6 dozen flies. As water conditions will vary you need to be prepared with everything from big heavy and black to light weight and multi colored. Often times a fly will only last for one or two fish.
- Pliers: One good pair long nose pliers. Clippers: One line clipper. Hardware store wire cutters are the best, large Dr. Slick scissor pliers also work well for wire.
- Knife: One medium size knife.
- Boots/shoes: 1 pair of quick dry closed toed shoes for camp, and for Fly Fishing/wading- one pair of felt-sole wading boots with good ankle protection.Waders: Although this is a tropical climate and lightweight waders are mostly unnecessary it is not a bad idea to have them. Alternatively you can bring a pair of expedition weight long underwear for warmth.
- Socks: Four pairs of wading socks. You need to take care of your feet! You should keep your feet as dry as possible when not fishing and to bring antifungal foot powder/cream. Also bring good amount of cotton socks to wear and keep your feet dry when not fishing.
- Shirts: 4-5 long sleeve quick-dry shirts. Pants: 4-5 pairs of quick dry pants with zip off legs. Hats: Two hats. Rain Jacket: One lightweight rain jacket.
- Warm Layer: Although this is a tropical climate we recommend bringing one fleece or lightweight down jacket as well as a pair of fleece pants or sweat pants. Also one long sleeve thermal layer just in case.
- Camp Shoes: One pair of lightweight shoes for around camp.
- Gloves: One pair UV protection fly-fishing gloves/stripping Gloves.
- Buff: Two “Buff” facial sun/insect protectors. Sunglasses: Two pairs of polarized sunglasses. It is great to have a lens cleaner and a soft cleaning cloth as well.
- Sun Screen: One full bottle 50SPF +. Lip balm: Two tubes of 50SPF+ lip balm.
- Tape: (For Fly Fishing) 1 roll of athletic tape (Coban) -used for taping fingers. Alternative is stripping guards or gloves.
- Repellant: One or two bottles of at least 80% deet repellant.
- Backpack: One waterproof backpack. Camera: Don’t forget extra batteries, chargers and waterproof case/bag.
- Headlamp and flashlight: One small LED headlamp and flashlight with batteries.
- Baggies and/or waterproof bag: Six medium sized Ziploc baggies for storing cigarettes, phone, lighter, lens cloth, etc. and waterproof bag for camera, etc.
- Toiletries Kit: Toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, Advil, band aids, Bactroban (prescription anti-bacterial ointment), Benadryl, Goldbond powder, seasickness pills (for charter flight), and anti-fungal ointment.
- Liquid band-aid: Paint on super glue for finger cuts
- Candy and treats for native kids
- Tape Measure, notepad/pen
- Travel dictionary and/or translator (English-Spanish)
- Any personal medications you use.
- Credit cards, personal checks, cash for tipping and personal expenses.