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Amazon holiday dream realised

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Sacha Lodge Entrance Ecuador

Amazon holiday

Botanist and biologist Margaret Jarvis talks about finally realising a desire to the world’s greatest rainforests – the Amazon.

 

She writes:

“At 79 I have seen a bit of this planet, including tropical forest in Malaysia and Indonesia, but not the Amazonian rainforest.

A longstanding ambition was achieved in April this year when Andean Trails arranged my hugely successful visit there.

I flew from Lima to Puerto Maldonado. A window seat is recommended on this flight – the changing scenery below is fascinating.

After landing there is a short bus trip to the office of the lodge operator where luggage can be reorganized so that only essential items need be taken to the lodges – I was on Tambopata Research Centre trip.

Then there is a three hour boat ride up river to the lodge, caiman and capybara can be seen; a tasty savoury rice mixture , served wrapped appropriately in a rainforest leaf was passed round for lunch.

 

Wildlife

My personal guide, Carlotta, took great care of me from then on. We were up early for a walk through the forest; I marvelled at the diversity of the trees, the lianes, at the huge leaves,the tiny tree frogs, so well-camouflaged that without Carlotta I would never have noticed them. It was wonderful to be there.

And…we were lucky enough to see a harpy eagle chick on its nest, other birds new to me and several kinds of monkeys. The lodge had some adventurous families with children staying; there were child-orientated activities arranged for them and a popular jungle play area .

 

Up river

The Tambopata Reseach Centre is several hours further up-river. It is smaller, with fewer facilites (less electric lighting, shared bathrooms). I liked it even better and enjoyed the contact with the researchers studying the macaws, of which there are several species.

There was an early morning visit to see them gathering in the tops of the trees and finally, slowly making up their collective mind to go down on to the mud bank and eat some of the clay which provides the minerals they need – an exciting moment – a whirring of brightly coloured wings and they were there at the clay lick after all the indecision.

 

Morning call

While we were waiting Carlotta identified a male red howler monkey as the source of the curious early morning noises we had all decided must be a plane flying overhead.

I specially appreciated being at the top of the canopy tower, looking down on the trees – I could have stayed there all day, just looking.

The way I was looked after was amazing; the food was excellent, and really interesting .

I would love to return there.”

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