Friday, May 24, 2019

We went to the rain forest and guess what? It rained.

Actually what they refer to as a 'cold front' from Patagonia has come through. Temperatures in the low 20s with humidity 100%.  We teased our guide Edwin about it being 'cold'.  To get to the Tambopata Lodge required a short plane ride from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, a 45 min bus ride, then a 2 hour boat ride on the Tambopata River which flows about 1400 km before it reaches the Amazon. Then about 3000 km more to get to the Atlantic. 

Puerto Maldonado is a large city (100,000) and most of it looks pretty grim by Canadian standards. Lots of corrugated metal and brick buildings but plenty of fertile land for growing a large variety of foods. Streets full of scooters and 'moto-cars':



The bus we were on had to be escorted to the river with a police escort as the area is under a state of emergency due to gold panning - I’m assuming illegal panning and clashes between licensed gold panners. 



The river is wide and muddy and the journey gave us our first glimpse of a white caiman - from the alligator family - and often found on the river banks. 



A whole family of capybara - the world's largest rodent - continued bathing in the mud as we motored by. 



We also saw some brown splotches that apparently were monkeys and some black dots that were macaws. I need to get better glasses if I hope to see the wildlife better. Toucans were spotted as well but too far away to appreciate their colours. 

The Tambopata Lodge is quite impressive - each hut has 2 suites c/w flush toilets and solar powered showers. There is no electricity so candles illuminate the huts. There is a large dining room and a bar for which Ross was grateful. 

Our hut at night:



And the inside was very comfortable- you can tell it’s our room - Ross’s hat is already on the bed:



And the dining area:



We arrived in time for a night walk. We saw a few unusual plants and insects and our guide lured this lovely tarantula out of her (or his) hole. 

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The next morning we waited for the rain to ease a bit before heading up the river and doing another walk through the jungle. Again some insects, flowers, birds, fruit but the overwhelming feature was the mud. Thankfully rubber boots were provided. 

A lot of the path looked like this:



Our guide paddled us in a canoe across a swampy lake - a few bits of crackers brought sardines and piranha to the surface. Unfortunately they're a bit camera shy. 

The rain forest has some impressively large trees. This group photo was taken next to a 300 year old, 50 m high kapok tree. 



The night before we left it rained a lot -  by the time we boarded the boat to head back in the morning, the river had risen 1.5 meters with a lot of debris making it difficult to navigate. As the temperature had dropped a few more degrees we donned most of our warm clothes so that by now Edwin was teasing us about the 'cold'. 

3 comments:

Darlene said...

Love your adventures! Seems incredible that you have internet...and I’m glad...Love you!

Kate said...

I love that tree. Did you get a shot upward so we can see the canopy?

Lynn said...

I did get a few shots of the tree Kate - I’ll have to look for it.

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