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Published: February 19th 2011
Flying into Puerto Maldonado you can see the Madre de Dios river far below: a great, wide, swirling brown mass of water pouring away towards the mighty Amazon. We reached our lodge after an exhilarating boat ride followed by a 20 minute hike through dense jungle. Although midday, hot and sunny, it was half-twilight under the tree canopy and wet and muddy underfoot - conditions that barely changed for the next 4 days. When it rained (which was often) it came down in buckets. We became accustomed to being wet - or at best damp - the whole time, but the lodge was comfortable, with rooms open on one side to the jungle, candles & kerosene lanterns for light, effective mosquito nets and many bats roosting up in the rafters. There were lots of birds: macaws, parrots, parakeets, amazon kingfishers, cormorants, swallows and many more. Ditto monkeys, including the incredibly noisy red howler monkeys whose calls travel over 5 km. A 4.00 a.m. start was necessary for a rare sighting of giant river otters: the largest otters in the world, over 6ft long, who eat up to 7 kg of fish (mostly pirhanas) every day. The pirhanas, although small, had most
impressive teeth - they pull chunks out of their prey by biting and then swimming away backwards. It was a great experience, but the rainforest and its many biting and stinging creatures can be an inhospitable place, so it was with some relief that we flew back to Lima for our final night in Peru. Next stop:Buenos Aires.
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