Unknown to me until I visited but Peru has the fourth largest area of tropical forest in the world after Brazil, Congo and Indonesia. About 60% of Peru is in the Amazon basin, the second largest share (13%) of the Amazon basin, after Brazil’s 60%. I spent a memorable few days exploring by foot and boat, by day and night.
From the hub town of Puerto Maldonado, where the heat and humidity hit me as I got off the plane (though it turned out to be far more manageable than expected), it was a 58km, three hour boat ride up the Rio Tambopata to Explorer’s Inn lodge. This is the oldest in the area, established in 1975, and was far more (almost disappointingly so) civilised than expected, with ensuite showers and flush toilets, and three course meals.
The wildlife spotting started from the boat ride, seeing turtles lined up, a large black bird, black vultures, and capybara, the world’s largest rodent, which lives on vegetation on river banks.
There were also a few other boats on the river, laden with plantain destined to be sold in the town.
A night walk before dinner was an experience to remember, seeing a frog, these huge tarantulas, and a cats eye snake.
The next day we took a slow boat ride around Tres Chimbadas, a lake reached by a half hour walk from the river. There were many Hoatzin birds with their spiky heads, long nosed bats lined up on a tree, squirrel monkeys, black caracaras, and a pair of macaws, one with it’s head sticking out of the tree hole nest.
Another walk took us past a rubber tree and a constant trail of ants carrying leaves, before heading up a 42m high canopy lookout to get an idea of scale and what was above us in the gloom of the rainforest floor.
After dark we headed back to the river to find a few juvenile caimans on the river banks, and to listen to the natural music of the rainforest at night.
To end with some rather lovely sunsets.