Peru has many different systems, but the country is divide into three vertical strips. Last week I wrote about the western strip, which is all desert. This is because the middle strip is the Andes Mountains and no moisture can get over them. The eastern strip is jungle and the beginning of the Amazonian Basin. My entire trip happened in the southern part of the country and today I want to tell you about my time in the jungle outside Porto Maldonado, which is an hour from the Brazil and Bolivia border and just about as east as you can get in Peru.
I had a friend who recommended a small little resort about a 30 minute boat ride outside of town called Corto Maltes and is a perfect little get away. The resort is all inclusive, minus alcohol, and usually runs around $285 a night for a couple, but my friend got us a bit of a discount. They even had a parrot named Lola that lived at the resort (she could fly anywhere, but liked it there) and has a love affair for gringo males. It is funny because she will fly right to your shoulder if you are a white dude, but steers clear of females.
The best part of the resort is being led on many excursions by Holio. He took 2-3 trips a day. Our first one was an hour long botanical walk where we learned about the flora and fauna. I learned hat there are as many plants in the jungle hat will hurt you as on a reef. That night we took a boat ride around looking for caymens (related to crocs) which we did find, but more impressive was this rodent called a capybara. These suckers were as big as a medium sized dog.
The next day we woke up at 5am and took an 8 hour hike in Tambopata National Reserve all the way to a lake that use to be the river until the river changed courses. Here we saw macaws, parrots, monkeys, caymans, giant river otters, howler monkeys, and so many other animals and birds I can’t remember them all. We even got to feed some smaller monkeys. This hike was the highlight of my time in the jungle. But once we got back Holio was not done and took us to a 100 foot tower to bird watch and that night we hunted for tarantulas.
The next morning we went to a cliff next to a stream and watched as 50 or more parakeets came to like the salt from the cliffs. Then before you knew it we were back on the boat heading to town to catch a plane to Cusco in the south central part of the country. This is the starting spot for a visit to Machu Picchu, which I will tell you about on Tuesday and on Thursday you can read about my experience tasting guinea pig and alpaca.