One of the highlights of our trip to Peru was the expedition to the Amazon rainforest. We flew after doing the Inca Trail from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado. There we were received by the representative biologist from the Rainforest Expedition who was to be our guide and saviour for the next four days. He spoke perfect English and had advanced degrees in biology and eco-tourism. It is fair to say that this expedition wouldn’t have been half as fun or informative if it was not for him. He took us first to the company’s office in Puerto Maldonado and then on a three hour boat ride to our refugio deep in the Amazon jungle. On the way there we spotted a whole family of capybaras and saw turtles sun bathing on a log of wood.
When we arrived at the refugio we couldn’t believe our eyes. The eco-lodge was stunning. It has to be one of the most beautifully constructed buildings I have ever seen. It was made entirely of natural materials and was standing on stilts. The best thing was that it completely integrated with the natural surroundings as if it was meant to be there. I love that kind of architecture.
We were then shown our room which to our delight only had three wall giving us complete access to the jungle and its sounds and smells. Over the next four days my husband and I felt like little kids in disneyland. Our days were filled with activities starting from trekking in thick forest to reach parrot clay lick to feeding piranhas in a lake. We also went out for caiman search in the dead of the night and were rewarded by not only sights of several caimans but also flying spider and other critters that only come out at night. I was also amazed at the millions of stars shining on us due to zero night pollution and it being southern hemisphere. One evening our guide also gave us a lecture on the local habitat and the current challenges it faces due to invasion from corporates who want to deforest large parts of the reserve for the purposes of mining. The Amazon is living the real world “Avatar” story.
The four days in the forest passed away so quickly and sadly it was time to leave. I would recommend using Rainforest Expeditions if you are planning to visit the Tambopata Reserve. They have 3 refugios. The one furthest away from Puerto Maldonado is also an active research centre but you need more days to get there and back.
Here are some pictures.