From Lima, the INTREPID tour took us to Puerto Maldonado, via Cusco.
Puerto Maldonado is the largest city in the Madre de Dies Region of Peru. We transferred to Intrepid’s office in Puerto Maldonado, where we met our tour guides Christian and Josleen for this Amazon adventure. We repacked clothes for two nights into duffel bags provided by Intrepid. Nice burnt orange coloured duffel bags.
Tambopata Nature Reserve
The Tambopata National Reserve was created on 26 January 1990 to protect the tropical rain forests which had been exploited by illegal logging activity. The Reserve has two ecosystems which are notable for their biodiversity, containing 165 species and 41 families of trees, 103 species of mammals, multitudes of insects species including 1300 species of butterflies alone. There are reported to be 90 species of amphibians, not to forget the extremely diverse and very audible birds of the Amazon.
A bus and boat ride up the Tambopata River took us to the Explorer’s Inn in the Tambobata Nature Reserve, our base for the next two nights. The boat ride was about 1.5 hours along the River, providing a first insight into the nature of tropical rain forest regions and the way in which local people adapt to their environment.
On the river boat
Along the Tambopata River
The Explorer’s Inn is approximately 58 km up the Tambopata River from Puerto Maldonado. Very pleasant stay, great meals, comfortable bedding.
We arrived at the Explorer’s Inn and had lunch time to settle in and enjoy the peacefulness and calls of the birds. A very nice jungle lodge, which challenged the hardiness of some with fantastic COLD showers.
Coming from Aotearoa /New Zealand tramping experience, cold showers were nothing new to me but they certainly helped conserve water during our stay due to the short showers most chose to have..
The first activity we had was a night walk after dinner on first evening. Lots of insect and arachnid life, and toads, with a few examples of what we came across (guided bybshown in the following images. One walking group faced up to a snake.
On the second day of our Amazon adventure, a jungle walk to Lagos Cocacocha was an amazing experience. Piranha, birds, turtle, lessons on uses of different plants, including a taste of fresh Brazil nuts, a 45 metre high viewing tower which the unfit old man (me) did not see and surprise, surprise torrential rain in a rain forest. Some of the following images suffered from wet lens syndrome but they still give a cute reminder of some of the fun. I learned how easy it is for a heavy person to sink into mud on the trail after waterways formed into hiking track.
The hide at Lagos Cocacocha (rainy lens syndrome affects some pics)
Setting off on the boats
Torrential rain arrives
And back at the hide. …. Getting ready to trek back to the Explorer’s Inn…
On the track learning about plant use (rainy lens syndrome affects some pics) and other customs…
And we made it back in the rain, poured water out of our gumboots, and after lunch a rest period
New Year’s Eve
Off we went in the dark to spot the caimen. High water conditions made it difficult but we saw a couple on the bank and one midstream before it dived.
Back at the Inn, a quiet new year’s eve drink and some saw in the new year.
Some of the birds and animals seen (names not remembered)
On New year’s day, it was over, and we left the Amazon region to travel to Cusco for the next part of the tour … the high altitudes of the Southern Sierra region of Peru.