A great place for tubing and a sunset

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August 30th 2008
Published: October 24th 2008
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Another stunning sunset
After one night in Bélen we took a short boat ride (we really could have walked but didn't turn down the free lift) to the neighbouring community of Raista - the two communities are basically separated by the airstrip - where we would spend 2 nights and were met by a new guide.

Aside from watching thunder storms and shooting stars in Yamari we had the most fun in Raista. Shortly after arriving and dumping our bags in another impressively well built room, this time in a sort of longhouse, we jumped onto a long boat and headed across the lagoon for a guided walk in the forest followed by some tubing down the river!

While we didn't get to walk in pristine forest we did get to walk around for a couple of hours in some pretty dense vegetation that had all the pre-requisites of a rainforest - giant spiders, huge trees, lots of insects, masses of vegetation etc etc. It wasn't quite the 3 day trek that we originally planned to do if we had gone to Las Marias but nevertheless it was good fun and short enough that poor old laura, who struggles in the heat

This is our guides finger thankfully. He could just pick these guys up and attach them to things, like his nail here. I didn't attempt it but for some strange reason I wish I had..
and humidity, didn't get sick of things.

It's so hot when you're trekking through the forest that it's great to have the reward of jumping into a beautiful, cool and clean river at the end of your walk and then float all the way back to the lagoon where we started. We had fun splashing around for a while and falling out of our tubes but when you're not splashing around or talking it's amazing because you can hear nothing but the sounds of the forest and you see loads of wildlife, which aren't intimidated by you when you're floating quietly by.

In the afternoon of the second day we took a walk around the community again and saw an enormous iguana, the biggest ant nest I've ever seen and learnt about the community and about various uses of different plants.

The rest of our time here was spent wandering around on the beach, which was great. As in Bélen the town is located on a narrow spit of land (a few hundred meters wide) with the carribean on one side and Laguna Ibans on the other side. The beach has miles and miles of empty sand
Hard WorkHard WorkHard Work

Each dugout canoe is literaly dug out from one tree and they can be really big.
and while there was too much rubbish around (because nobody walks around cleaning it up) it was still beautiful. In the evening we went down to watch sunset and took a seat on big piece of driftwood. There were horses wondering around on in the distance and the sand was being whipped up around our feet, erasing all the footsteps as if nobody had ever been there. After watching the sky turn a multitude of colours and seeing the stars come out we slowly wandered back to our cabaña in total darkness appreciating the complete lack of development in this area.

Additional photos below
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Of all the places you might have expected to see a chopper La Moskitia is not one of them!
Getting wetGetting wet
Getting wet

Walking through the forest involved a few water crossings for which a long wooden stick was absolutely essential to test the ground in front of you. Some places the stick would sink through very soft mud for about four feet before it encountered any resistance at all and you would REALLY not want to fall in there

These spiders, which seem to be common all over the tropical areas of the world, never cease to amaze me with their enormous webs and ferocious looks. As far as I know they're not really dangerous though.

As with most tropical forests it all looks the same at first but when you start to look closely at all the little things around you then the whole place really comes to life.

Yes I do look ridiculous with my collar done up like that but we ran out of insect repellent while we were walking and I had quite enough bites already
Getting ComfortableGetting Comfortable
Getting Comfortable

Talk about capturing the moment - Laura nearly fell out but just managed to regain her balance
A storms brewingA storms brewing
A storms brewing

I've never heard thunder like I heard from this storm, of which only the edge of the clouds are visible. The sound was incredible and literally ear splitting!

Relaxing on our balcony by candlelight in the evening.

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