Peru
Juan Pablo

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    • Day 60

      #20 Amazonas

      June 29, 2022 in Peru ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

      Nach Bergen, Wüste und Küste fehlte noch: Regenwald. Peru hat auch das zu bieten - nur eine weitere Nachtfahrt von Cusco entfernt.

      Aber Ist das wirklich noch das gleiche Land? Die schwüle Hitze Puerto Maldonados sowie die nun flache und tiefgrüne Landschaft ließen uns erstmal daran zweifeln. Der Gegensatz zu den Anden war einfach zu groß. Zumindest am ersten Tag genossen wir die fast vergessene Wärme sehr.

      An diesem ging es auch direkt zu unserem Quartier. Dafür fuhren wir rund zwei Stunden flussabwärts den Madre de Dios - einen Zufluss des Amazonas - entlang. Dann erreichten wir unsere Lodge, die für die nächsten vier Tage unser Zuhause war - fernab jeglicher Zivilisation. Freiwillige Quarantäne im Dschungel quasi.

      Mit unserem Guide Ivan erkundeten wir die folgenden Tage Flora und Fauna des angrenzenden Naturreservats. Bevor er uns aber ins Tier- und Pflanzenreich einführte, erzählte er uns von seiner eigenen Lebenswirklichkeit der vergangenen zwei Jahre. Denn die ausbleibenden Tourist:innen machten ihn vom einen auf den anderen Tag arbeitslos. Und so begann er zwangsläufig - wie so viele - in einer offiziellen Goldmine zu arbeiten. Er erzählte uns von Unfällen, von den Umweltauswirkungen, vom weiterhin grassierenden illegalen Goldabbau in der Region - und von seinem Glück, nun wieder als Guide tätig sein zu können. Puerto Maldonado gilt seit langem als Hotspot des illegalen Goldabbaus und -handels. Auch wir sahen an den Ufern des Madre de Dios Menschen, die im trüben Wasser nach Gold suchten. Wen es näher interessiert: in einer Folge der Netflix-Dokureihe „Dirty Money“ geht es um Ursachen und Wirkungen der illegalen Goldsuche in Peru.

      Aber zurück zu schönerem - und dem puren Leben im Regenwald. Tiere und Pflanzen überall, mal versteckt in Löchern wie die Tarantula, mal weit oben in den riesigen Baumkronen wie die Tucane. Auf zahlreichen Aktivitäten zeigte uns Ivan diese Welt von ganz nah. Ob mit dem Boot auf dem See Sandoval, in einem Baumhaus in luftiger Höhe oder auf etlichen Wanderungen nachts und tagsüber durch den Wald. Dabei forderte die Natur stets alle unsere Sinne. Etwa bei dem Versuch, die zahlreichen Vögel durch die dichten Zweige zu entdecken, den Duft von Schlangen zu verfolgen - oder für fünf Minuten inmitten der Nacht und ohne Licht den Geräuschen des Waldes zu lauschen. Wahrscheinlich der magischste, wenngleich auch gruseligste Moment.

      Was ein Naturerlebnis. Und was für eine Katastrophe, dass dieser Lebensraum so gefährdet ist. Mit diesem Gefühl aus Bewunderung und Besorgnis ging es ein letztes Mal zurück nach Cusco.
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    • Day 17

      Puerto Maldonado - Madre de díos

      April 14 in Peru ⋅ ☁️ 28 °C

      🇩🇪 Adiós Cusco, hola Amazonas! Im Flugzeug nach Puerto Maldonado konnten wir nochmals die Schönheit dieses Landes bestaunen. Von oben wird uns bewusst, wie imposant und immens diese Berge sind. Nach nur 35 Minuten Flug landen wir in Puerto Maldonado bei 32 Grad und 90% Luftfeuchtigkeit. Mit dem Boot auf dem Fluss Madre de Dios geht es dann zu unserer Lodge. Wir können bereits ein Affe sehen und verschiedene Kaimane. Jetzt sitzen wir im Boot und machen einen Nacht-Ausflug. Wir haben Glück und können einen weissen Kaiman sehen, 1 Faultier mit Baby, verschiedene Affen und Fledermäuse. Wir lassen uns von der Strömung treiben und lauschen der Dschungel-Sinfonie.

      🇮🇹 Adiós Cusco, hola foresta Amazzonica! Sull'aereo per Puerto Maldonado, abbiamo potuto ancora una volta ammirare la bellezza di questo Paese. Dall'alto ci rendiamo conto di quanto siano imponenti e immense queste montagne. Dopo soli 35 minuti di volo, siamo atterrati a Puerto Maldonado con 32 gradi e il 90% di umidità. Abbiamo poi viaggiato in barca sul fiume Madre de Dios fino al nostro lodge. Abbiamo già visto una scimmia e diversi caimani. Ora siamo seduti in barca e facciamo un'escursione notturna. Siamo fortunati e vediamo un caimano bianco, un bradipo con un piccolo, varie scimmie e pipistrelli. Ci siamo lasciati trasportare dalla corrente e abbiamo ascoltato la sinfonia della giungla.
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    • Day 1

      The Peruvian Amazon

      October 19, 2021 in Peru ⋅ ☁️ 77 °F

      A morning flight from Lima brought us to Puerto Maldonado, at the confluence of the Tambopata and Madre de Dios rivers, in the Amazon rainforest of Peru. Even though we associate the Amazon with Brazil, the river originates in Peru, near Bolivia.

      We connected with our guide, Alejandro, from Amazon Planet, which is one of several eco-lodges in the area. We set off on an hour-long boat ride to the lodge. After settling in to our open-air (but screened) cabin, we were served the first of many sumptuous meals (lunch, in this case) of traditional Peruvian fare.

      Amazon Planet arranges multi-day activity packages designed to introduce visitors to the rainforest. After lunch we walked the ecolodge’s trails, where Alejandro talked to us about the native trees, plants, insects and birds we were hearing (and sometimes seeing).

      As dusk came on, we watched the 50 or so squirrel monkeys heading back to their beds for the night. Full dark is by 6:30pm, so we went on a night walk with Alejandro before dinner and saw SO MANY tarantulas outside their burrows at the bases of trees. We also got to see a nocturnal monkey (black-headed night monkey).
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    • Day 2

      Over and Under the Amazon Rainforest

      October 20, 2021 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 91 °F

      In the morning we walked through the rainforest to a canopy lookout built into a Kapok (Ceiba) tree. The platform was built for researchers to monitor the fauna of the forest canopy. Since 2004, over 150 species of birds have been recorded from this platform.

      Along the way to the platform, Alejandro pointed out more interesting trees and plants. The ‘garlic tree’ perfumes the air around it with a pungent smell. The sap of the dragon’s blood tree, which starts out as deep red drops can be rubbed into the skin where it is emulsified into a cream for treating wounds. The walking palm tree, which we learned about in Australia, sends out leg-like roots above ground to move the tree closer to water sources.

      We also spotted our third species of monkey of the trip, the Tamarind monkey. There is a better photo of this monkey that we saw at the rescue center in the afternoon (see next entry).

      The swinging walkway to the canopy platform was long and a bit scary, but the view over the forest is spectacular.
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    • Day 2

      Wildlife Rescue Center & Cayman Spotting

      October 20, 2021 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 91 °F

      Later on our second day in the Amazon, we walked through the forest to visit the Taricaya Conservation Research Reserve and its wildlife rescue center.

      Taricaya is a private entity, not government funded, and relies solely on grants and donations to carry out its work of rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing animals that have been poached, or orphaned, or in one case, kept in cruel conditions in a circus. We met the founder of this organization, Fernando. He is passionate about conserving the flora and fauna of the rainforest, and one of his many projects is to teach the local people how to plant more sustainable farms. He said they tend to plant bananas, which are easy to grow, but exhaust the soil after 4-5 years. He’s working on getting them to plant mahogany trees among the bananas so they have a source of quick income from the fruit, and a more long-term crop when the bananas stop producing.

      Like everything else, Taricaya has been affected by the pandemic because they rely heavily upon volunteers. When the world shut down, most volunteers had to leave and no new helpers could come in. Several of the research projects had to go on hiatus because of lack of volunteers. They have had to scale back their turtle rescue project, where volunteers collected turtle eggs from the riverbank beach before poachers came to collect and sell them. Taricaya workers built artificial beaches in boxes at the center and dug the eggs into the sand to incubate. When the turtles hatch, they are gathered up to be returned to the same beach where they were initially laid. We watched a short video of the turtle release, and as soon as they were out of their tubs, they ran right to the river. Our photos show just some of the variety of animals that have been rescued and will eventually be released.

      Some of the birds weren’t rescues, they were just on the property. One in particular that we hear all the time is the oropendula bird. It has a funny almost hiccuping call, and it tips its whole body like a pendulum. The ‘oro’ is because of its yellow wings. Check out our short video.

      Later that day, after dark, we went out on the boat to see if we could spot caymans (alligator relative). We saw several, but usually they swam away from our flashlights pretty quickly. The one in our photo posed nicely for us.
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