Blogs from Madre de Dios, Peru, South America

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South America » Peru » Madre de Dios September 1st 2019

Manú National Park, or Manú Biosphere Reserve, is a giant area of Peru’s Amazonian jungle. Only a small fraction of it is available to tourists, with the vast majority reserved for wildlife, native tribes and researchers who have managed to get a permit. Since UNESCO officially recognized it as a World Heritage site in 1977, the Peruvian government has been buying large areas of land that border the park. These buffer zones are open to tourists, but closed to logging and most development. The reserve itself has never been logged or developed, although the native tribes who inhabit the area still follow their traditional way of life. In the information I was given before the trip, I was surprised to see we were instructed that if we saw any of the native people, we were to ... read more
More Jaguar!
Cat Nap
Watching Us

South America » Peru » Madre de Dios June 15th 2016

600 breakfast leave 630. Today we had an excursion to some lake. We took the boat 10-15 minutes then the walk was 2 km. It took about an hour and a half with stops. We split into 2 groups. I stayed with Julio. Julio found a suspected tarantula hole and got a small plant to make vibrations and lure it out. He put us all in position and told us to stay still. No moving, no screaming. He got it out and one of the girls screamed and jumped so it ran back in. He tried again and got it out but again but it only came out very quickly before running back into its hole. Long enough for everyone to get a good look but not long enough for anyone to get good photos. Todays ... read more

South America » Peru » Madre de Dios June 14th 2016

Today didn't leave until 9 so a bit of a sleep in but again woke at 630. We went by bus to airport then flew to Puerto Maldonado. The flight was really quick pretty much an up and down like a Sydney / Canberra flight back home. There was no service though. When we landed we met our 2 Amazon guides and then drove to the G adventures office. Here we were handed a duffel bag to pack down. Much easier then packing for the Inca trail as no weight limits and plenty of room in the duffel. We drove around and got a small city tour before picking up a solo traveller from the airport again and headed 45 minutes to the port. The boat ride was then just under 2 hours to the lodge. ... read more

South America » Peru » Madre de Dios May 20th 2016

This morning was the first time we were allowed a lie in - we didn't have to get up until 7:00. We headed up river close to Puerto Maldonado to a site illustrating local subsistence farming techniques. The family own 25has and farm 18has on a rotation. I was reminded that most of the nutrient in the rainforest is in the vegetation so that after burning and clearing an area and then planting crops it is left to regenerate. The speed of regeneration is very rapid - we were shown a balsa tree, perhaps 5m high that had grown that high in 3 months. The trees have long horizontal roots because all the nutrient is in the top of the soil. After an introduction to the medicinal properties of local plants and Brazil nuts we took ... read more
Cocoa
Brazil nuts
Small terrapin

South America » Peru » Madre de Dios May 19th 2016

The alarm went off at 5:00 again this morning, breakfast at 5:30 and off at 6:00. Breakfast is just my sort of thing - a chance to select a variety of fresh fruit, pineapple, papaya and water melon with different grains, raisins and this morning dried bananas. The latter were sticky and sweet. A short boat trip took us down river to Tambopata National Reserve. We then walked along a muddy track for about 3km. We passed an entrance hut with a map of nature reserves and national parks in Peru which I felt obliged to take a picture of. We are in the bottom right hand corner. We passed an impressive termite mound and eventually came to a collection of long canoes. The lake is the remnant of an oxbow lake from the main river ... read more
Leaf cutter ants
Termite mound
Tiny bats in a line up a tree

South America » Peru » Madre de Dios May 19th 2016

After lunch we headed down river for 25 minutes going past an island in the middle. The river is about 500-700 metres wide and the soft bank sediments are constantly being eroded. We were heading for the original Eco lodge which was established on a small scale in the mid 1970s. Until relatively recently there were just four such lodges, now there are 25. We were headed for an aerial walkway 27 metres up in the air - at the canopy level. 80% of solar radiation is absorbed by the canopy and only 5% reaches the ground. Many small animals live in the canopy where they can avoid their predators. The walkway has been in place for 11 years and the two towers are 30 metres above the ground at either end and the planks are ... read more
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South America » Peru » Madre de Dios May 18th 2016

This morning Martin's alarm went off at 5:40 so we could be ready to leave for the airport an hour later, having eaten breakfast. The area around the airport is less salubrious and the terminal itself modern with a variety of shops. Our plane didn't take off until 9:40 so there was quite a bit of hanging around. Lima Airport is very busy, not so much with international flights, but rather internal flights because the Andes present such a barrier to road transport. We flew to Cuzco first over a barren landscape with snow capped Andes to gaze at. The approach to Cuzco was dramatic - paralleling the runway and then following down a ravine to make a sharp turn left and land. We waited on the plane before taking off again after refuelling for Puerto ... read more
Aerial view of Cuzco
Martin on board river boat
Hacienda Conception

South America » Peru » Madre de Dios October 10th 2015

Human Impact on the Amazon Basin, Gold Mining. Puerto Maldonado is a large town on the confluence of the Madre de Dios and the Tambatoto rivers in the Peruvian rainforest. The headwaters of these rivers are in the Andes, near the famous Inca capital, Cusco. When the Spanish arrived in Cusco they found temples lined in gold plate and a massive number of gold statues, ornaments.This gold came from the surrounding mountains and over millions of years much of it has been eroded and transported down to the flood plains of these rivers. Sand bars on the rivers, and the forested flood plains, contain the sediment that has been deposited from the mountains, and in it there is gold. This gold is extracted by washing massive quantities of sediment over wooden ramps, the heavier sediments get ... read more

South America » Peru » Madre de Dios October 7th 2015

South America » Peru » Madre de Dios August 19th 2015

The next country for us to explore was Peru, and first home base was Iquitos. Iquitos is home to over 500,000 people, is well known as the tourist gateway to the Peruvian Amazon, and due to the river systems surrounding it, it is one of the few major cities that doesn't have road access, only being accessible by boat or air. Due to this difficulty, there are very few cars in Iquitos, but many thousands of Motocars, and these are the form of taxi’s so more commonly known as moto-taxis. If you don't know what at a Moto-Taxi is, it is a single wheel and motorbike motor at the front (with accompanying handlebars for steering), and a covered, double bench seat at the back. It's the mullet of motor vehicles. (get it, business at the front, ... read more
The Freshwater tuttles at the Rescue Centre
A hungry Manatee
Renee feeding them




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