Department of Beni The department of Beni is located in the Bolivian Amazon. It is a region with a great variety of unique flora and fauna. It features extensive plains that represent a natural wealth and rich Amazonian forest where great rivers of many colours converge.
Beni is also known as the territory of the Great Moxos, a land of infinite mysteries and unparalleled charms. It was also the site of several expeditions beginning in the year 1538. The Jesuit funded missions and, together with the various ethnic groups, established the basis for a community culture, only to be banished many years later.
Beni is the land of rubber and nuts, of plains and cattle breeding, of exuberant beauty and a wealth of traditions - where the down-to-earth people harvest hospitality and joy. The capital is Trinidad, a place that houses nature, culture, history and ancient traditions.
In the city
The Trinidad Cathedral: It is a very large modern temple that shows the selected tastes of the period, with its white facade in Romanesque Revival style and two high bell towers with a central block in between that opens into the lower body of the church. There is a great rosette in the upper level, and a mosaic medallion which represents the holy trinity to which the church is dedicated.
Native town council church and artisan centre: The church is located to the southeast of the city where the indigenous community's government body holds its meetings. Across is the Artisan Centre that represents a space for production and commercialization of the varied and creative traditional handicraft of the Moxos.
The Kenneth Lee ethno-archaeological museum: It sits atop an artificial hill surrounded by lagoons where Regia Victoria (large rose) and Tarope grow. This suggestive environment attempts to visually recreate the look of a Moxo landscape. The museum displays archaeological finds from that great pre-Columbian civilization known as the Kingdom of Moxos.
Ichthyology museum: With over 400 varieties of fish, this constitutes one of South America's most important collections. This centre displays the richness of Beni's aquatic fauna, which stems from rivers in the Amazon valley such as Madre de Dios, Beni and the Mamore.
The surroundings of Trinidad offer a great variety of activities for visitors. The lagoons, forests, rivers and plains allow for a direct contact with nature and the archaeological heritage. A wealth of folklore is testament to a persistent missionary culture.
Suarez Lagoon: Just 5 minutes from the city, this is an ideal site for those who want to enjoy water sports, observe the local fauna or simply relax. There are many resorts and spas on the shores of the lagoon, which are popular weekend spots.
Almacen port: A commercial port on the Ibare River only 11km/9mi from Trinidad. During the rainy season it becomes abundant and it connects the Beni capital with the department of Cochabamba, Santa Ana del Yacuma and Guayamerin. It features small restaurants, which offer a variety of fish. It is often visited during the summer by tourists who await cargo ships to have an adventure on the Mamore River.
Varador port: It has become a great lagoon due to a shift in the Nanore's riverbed. It is visited throughout the year by people who wish to enjoy its water, practice sport fishing and try culinary delights of the area.
Suarez hill: 12km/7mi, northeast of Trinidad is another mute witness to the wealth of rubber and chestnuts. Impressively tall palm trees adorn the entrance to this hill, atop which the Romulo Suarez Mausoleum rests. There is also a small township with a port on the Ibare River.
Ballivian port: This is a small town, 8km/5mi from Trinidad, on the shores of Ibare River. It is a place for nature walks.
Chuchini: Meaning the "Tiger's Den", is a rehabilitation centre for wild animals that sits atop an artificial pre-Hispanic hill and offers a variety of natural landscapes and endless species of birds.
Loreto: This was the first Jesuit Mission of Moxos, founded in 1682 on the shores of the Mamore River by Father Pedro Marban and some 600 Mamore natives. Today it is the religious centre for Virgen de Loreto, Reina y Mamita de Las Lagrimas (our Lady of Loreto, Queen and Mother of our tears).
Casarabe: This is a small town, 51km/32mi away, on the asphalt road to Santa Cruz. It is a scenic and welcoming place where you find Ibiato, the community of the Siriono natives.
San Ignacio: This is a living display of the deep relationship between the jesuit traditions and the popular native beliefs. Its folklore is characterized by an abundance of plumage and colourful garments used by the Macheteros, as well as the moxeño musical instruments, very traditional to this region.
Guayaramerin: This border town sits on the shores of the Mamore River to the northeast of the country. Together with Riberalta, it makes for two centres with a strong production and commercialization of Amazonian products as well as tourism.
Rurrenabaque, Reyes and Santa Rosa: Perfect places for trips which will take you directly into nature. Visitors can observe infinite plant life and a variety of animal species, especially birds of many beautiful colours. It is also the best place to come into contact with the indigenous communities and marvel at their ancestral traditions.
San Borja: This is a small town with very urban characteristics. It has become a centre for artisan development and farming. 50km/31mi away, one can find Beni's Biosphere Preserve Biology Station.