Browsing: Amazon

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Rafting the Amazon River. From left, Nathan, Adam, Andreas and Isis.

Nathan Paluck

Last year, three friends and I built a wooden raft and paddled 200 kilometers down the Amazon River in Peru. The Amazon River Raft Race. The only one of its kind in the world. It was one of the funnest things I’ve ever done. It was also, at times, similar to mild torture.

Adam, Andreas, Isis and I took off at the start of the Amazon River in the small town of Nauta with 40 other teams. Three days and 20 hours of raft time later, we arrived to the finish line in Iquitos, Peru’s largest jungle city. We were exhausted but happy.

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Achiles Amasifuen, right, is the man to call for a adventurous tour of Peru’s Amazon forest. All photos courtesy of Matthew Barker, shown on the left.

By Matthew Barker

As Peru continues its slow but steady transition from a low budget backpacker’s paradise towards the world of tour packages and luxury hotels, options for escaping the Gringo Trail into the Amazonian wilderness are fast diminishing.

Most visitors these days opt for a stay in one of the countless lodges in the tamed and controlled jungle surrounding Iquitos in the north and Puerto Maldonado to the south. The Manu reserve is still a genuine wilderness, but one that sees increasing numbers of travelers each year.

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A traveler catches a Peacock Bass on Peru’s Amazon River. (All photos courtesy of Ciro Moron)

By Douglass G. Norvell

“Good things just seem to happen by accident,” says Ciro Moron, formerly a full time mototaxista but now known as the Amazon Fish Eagle. “One day the Hotel Acosta called me to take this professor for a City Tour, and five years later, I am working almost all the time as a fishing guide.”

In the Amazon Basin there are two distinct markets for guide services. One is to take out aficionados, or very serious anglers who come from other countries to fish for Peacock Bass and other exotic species in a once-in-a-lifetime experience. These anglers bring tons of equipment and expect to pay hundreds of dollars a day, and travel deep into the rainforest in search of virgin fishing grounds.

Ciro, however, focusses on giving the Amazon fishing trips for the recreational anglers.

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A member of Matse community in Peru’s Amazon Rainforest. (Photo by Anna Kovasna)

By Anna Kovasna

This must by far be the craziest thing I have ever done! That was my thought as, after eight hours in a dugout canoe, I climbed up an impossibly slippery riverbank under the intense scrutiny of 40 Matses Indians. After waiting through two weeks of flooded landing strips and crashing planes, I had finally arrived to Estiron, a Matses settlement on a small tributary to the Yavarí in Peru’s Amazon Rainforest.

I was there to do fieldwork for two months, and I came alone. My host and interpreter had suddenly left me at a military base the day before. In addition, the goods I had bought in Iquitos to trade for food, lodging and information was on a boat still safely anchored in Iquitos, at least a week’s travel away from me.

After a few days, just as I was starting to find my bearings after nearly being kicked out because of a rumor that I was a Petro Peru agent, the village chief woke me up at dawn and asked whether I wanted to go to a hunting camp for a week. Twenty minutes later I was on my way to a very close encounter with real life in the jungle.

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Into Manu: Peru's bounty in the Amazon
A Woolly Monkey in Peru’s Manu Biosphere. (All photos by John Meils) See slide show.

By John Meils

We smelled them on the way to the oxbow lake — a pungent, pervasive stink. Peccaries, jungle pigs, a sizeable herd. They were thrashing just out of sight on either side of the trail foraging for roots, fruit, maybe a snake. Small branches snapped wherever they went. Our guide was nervous. Earlier he told us that when threatened or surprised, peccaries will attack. En masse.

On the way back from the lake, we ran into the same troop at a different location. A big male emerged on the trail 50 feet ahead and barked at us before raising the bristled hair on his back. “He’s very angry,” said Nicolas, the guide, as we froze. Then: “Get ready to climb a tree.” I looked around. Trees in the rainforest grow fast and tall to compete for sunlight high up in the canopy; they don’t have low branches. At all. And their trunks are usually slick or protected with thorns.

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