Continuing our journey we took a flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, which lies at the shores of the Madres de Dios river in the Amazon rain forest. We had booked a 5 day, all inclusive program at Corto Maltes, so we didn't have to worry about lodging, tours or transportation for a few days.
What we had to worry about though were mosquitos and heat. As we arrived and left the climatised airport I instantly began to sweat. The days we spent in the rainforest were like a wet sauna, 100% moisture and around 40°C in the shade. And most of the time we wore long trousers and longsleeves. We had entered a Malaria risk zone, so besides using some heavy insect repellents precautions had to be taken, which also included taking Malarone. Not my favourite medicine.
The program we had booked was a good mix of learning about local culture, exploring the rainforest and some time to relax at the lodge. During the hikes we were accompanied by a guide at all times, which was comforting considering all the insects, spiders and other animals, which live in the forest.
Just think of an ant, whose bite will cause you a 24 hour pain comparable to being shot. It's called bullet ant and right on our first day our guide showed us a tree near the lodge, which they occupied. One advice our guide gave us was to better not touch anything since besides poisonous animals there area also poisonous plants - very soothing.
But we also saw monkeys, giant otters, lots of birds including colorful aras, kaymans, water pigs, tarantulas and butterflies. I think a wildlife photographer with the right equipment - at least a 400mm lense - would have taken many photos. My motivation to take photos though wasn't very high since the chaotic forest didn't provide good subjects for landscape photography. And I still don't get the same joy from photographing wildlife.
So most of the time the camera stayed in the backpack, which after seven weeks of travelling was a nice change. Below I have a little selection of the occasional photos I took during our tours.
A brown capuchin monkey photographed on a little island in the middle of the Madres de Dios river
My girlfriend who feeds the Ara Pepe some para nuts
One of the two parrots at Corto Maltes lodge, who liked to greet us with a cheerful "hola"
Visiting a family of native Machiguenga, one of the ethnic groups that exist in the Peruvian Amazon
Typical scenes from the market in Puerto Maldonado
After those five days in the jungle it was time to head back into the mountains again. While we took the plane towards Puerto Maldonado on our arrival, the way back was again along some winding roads by bus. But more on that in the next article in the series, in which I travel to La Paz in Bolivia. Make sure to subscribe to not miss it.