Rurrenabaque’s tourist boom was in part inspired by the adventures of Yossi Ginsberg, an Israeli traveller who in 1981 tried to reach Rurrenabaque independently from the highlands with his two companions, trekking down through what’s now Parque Nacional Madidi. Lost in the forest and running out of food, the group split up. Ginsberg continued and eventually reached the Río Tuichi, where he was rescued and taken to Rurrenabaque. His two companions were never seen again. Ginsberg’s account of the ill-fated expedition, Back from Tuichi, became a bestseller in Israel, inspiring many Israeli backpackers to visit the region, while his rescuer founded Rurrenabaque’s first rainforest tour company (see Private tour operators). A film is in the works.

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