Expedition to Investigate the Central Bolivian
Original Collection Site

of La Rinconada Victorias
Text by Tonchi Ribero -- Photos by Chiqui Arroyo
Click images to enlarge

(Some images also have links to full size images for more detailed viewing - average size 300K)

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To try to solve the mystery La Rinconada Victorias, Santa Cruz, Bolivia -- What Are They? and to answer questions raised by some viewing the original article The Largest Victoria Pads Ever Recorded!, our Bolivian friends undertook an exciting trek to the central part of Bolivia. Based on the GPS coordinates they sent us (14º 51' 14.7" S and 65º 9' 0.8" W), we were able to find the exact location of the site using Google Earth, images below.    

We made it there !! And it was a real Victoria Adventure !!! There were three of us: Chiqui Arroyo, Raul Ortuño (the worker I sent before to collect Victorias for La Rinconada) and myself.

We took off from Santa Cruz Tuesday, January 24, 2006, at 4:30 am and traveled for 9 hours by a very nice road to Trinidad. As soon as we arrived we went for lunch to the shores of the Ibare River, on the way to the Victorias. When arriving there, Pepe (José Ribero) called telling us that you sent another mail with more instructions for collecting the plants. So we went back to Trinidad to receive your mail and were off on the road again.

Trinidad is surrounded by rivers and ex-rivers that form lakes. The first one was the Ibare River which we crossed over by bridge. The second, also a branch of the Ibare River, is like a big lake. It took us 25 minutes to cross on a special boat that carries cars and trucks. The third one was the Mamore and, although the crossing is usually not as long as the former (about 15 minutes), it took us more than 25 because the current and the wind where so strong that the small motor was not able to push the boat as it usually does. 

We are in the peak of a very rainy season, so rivers are especially high in volume and the dirt roads are especially bad. The next piece of road was soft clay with deep tracks that stopped us a lot of times, so we had to push the car to go on, and sometimes to go back.

A couple of times I though we wouldn't make it through and would have to spend the night on the road (praying that it wouldn't rain). I was also concerned because we were running out of time and daylight. But we went ahead and reached the last "small" river according to Raul who came both times in the dry season. The small river called the Tijamuchi was not small at all. It took us about 10 minutes to cross it by boat.

After crossing the river it is only 1300 meters to the place of the Victorias. We were incredibly excited at the sight of them. There was water on both sides of the road forming two quite deep ponds connected under a small bridge. Most of the Victorias were on the right side with only three individuals on the left. They were about the size of the ones of La Rinconada, maybe a little smaller and a lot more deteriorated. We noticed rims of two colors: green and reddish. We did not see leaves with the deep red rims we have in La Rinconada.

Continued next page > 

Map from OnlyMaps.com

 Google Earth satellite imagery showing the city of Trinidad as a reference point. The arrow points to the collection site.

Zooming in
Image from Google Earth

The lake
Image from Google Earth

Left (south) side of the road
Click for large image | Full size image

Right (north) side of the road
Click for large image | Full size image

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< La Rinconada Victorias, Santa Cruz, Bolivia -- What Are They?
The Largest Victoria Pads Ever Recorded!


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