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Why First Time Travelers to Peru Should Consider the Amazon on Their Itinerary

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 26, 2017 2:51:34 PM / by Pat ODonnell posted in Amazon, Peru, Posada Amazonas

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Thinking of going to Peru? Congratulations on picking one of the most exciting and interesting destinations on the planet! But where to go? Most people put Machu Picchu at the top of their bucket Peru list and with good reason; it's probably the most intact, scenic, and accessible of Incan sites. It's also easy to include a tour or two of Lima, a trip to Paracas, and a visit to the Nazca area but what about the other side of the mountains?

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Strangler figs: Silent assassins, diversity engines, rainforest timekeepers

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 19, 2017 12:50:06 PM / by Varun Swamy posted in Tambopata Research Center, Amazon, Peru, rainforest, Tambopata, rainforest fruits, keystone species, frugivores, Buttresses, Canopy, Megaflora, Strangler fig, Ficus

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(Borrowing from a J&B whisky commercial from the 1990s…)

Tradition says: "A tree must begin its life from the forest floor".

Tradition says:  "A tree shall form a relatively cylindrical trunk".

Tradition says: "A tree shalt not kill another tree".

Well, strangler fig trees clearly did not receive these edicts...or perhaps they did, and decided "To Hell with tradition!" - much to the delight of aficionados of bizarre, spectacular tropical nature of the floral kind. 

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Can I Travel to the Jungle Alone?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 12, 2017 12:26:32 PM / by Pat ODonnell posted in Amazon

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The jungle! According to popular culture, tropical rainforests are deep, dark woods that hide countless perils. Enter at your own risk and expect deadly snakes, spiders, and other ferocious creatures at every turn! While such frightening descriptions are an easy means of formulating fiction, such tall tales about Amazonia are only encountered in the realm of books and movies. The truth about this famous rainforest is that it's actually much safer than most cities, and animals of all sizes are a lot more afraid of people than they are of them. But, that said, can you really travel to the Peruvian Amazon alone?

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Five Bizarre Birds from Posada Amazonas

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 15, 2017 2:28:20 PM / by Pat ODonnell posted in Rainforest animals, Amazon, rainforest wildlife, birds

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The rainforests of Tambopata, Peru harbor more bird species than most places on this planet. With that in mind, it's always a challenge to say which species are the most colorful, which ten birds are the most common, and which birds happen to be the oddest ones in the jungle. Since we have more than 600 species to choose from, there's a lot of rare and bizarre to birds we could talk about. However, today, we might as well begin the conversation with five exotic and bizarre species found on the trails of Posada Amazonas.

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Beautiful River Birds of Tambopata Peru

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 28, 2017 5:53:14 PM / by Pat ODonnell posted in Amazon

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Literally hundreds of bird species live in the rich rainforest habitats of south-eastern Peru. However, the irony of that avian abundance is that many of those bird species are naturally rare and/or just hard to see. Our canopy towers and trained guides help in seeing more birds but the places where we look for them also play important roles.

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My Senses are Heightened in the Rainforest

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 3, 2016 3:01:00 AM / by RainforestExpeditions.com posted in Amazon

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Despite being legally blind in my right eye, I can see more clearly than ever before....maybe there’s just more to see. Something as simple as sunlight illuminating a water droplet on a leaf is a vivid representation of the complexity of nature. I look up to the trees and can imagine which leaf the drop fell from and how many leaves it rolled off before it landed on this one. I look at the plant it sits on and hypothesize the path the drop will take to the ground and which of the surrounding plants, trees or vines will be nourished by it.

I hear birds calling back and forth. Some chirp timidly, others caw obnoxiously, while occasionally I’ll hear a terrifying screech, only to figure out that was also a bird. Tree branches fall, monkeys bicker, insects buzz all at the same time. Its loud, but I’ll take it any day over the noises of a busy city.

Its really not that much quieter than Lima, especially in the morning, but its far more pleasant to listen to. Trying to distinguish who’s saying what is initially overwhelming, but when I listen closely, I realize how harmoniously the creatures calls come together. Its as if the all the plants species of the forest along with her animals are in collaboration, functioning exactly as they should be. If I concentrate and sit quietly, I can listen in on a conversation between two birds. On a walk today, I heard a rain shower five minutes before it arrived. The sound of the raindrops hitting the leaves became louder as the downpour approached giving me just enough time to find an umbrella tree to stand under while the worst of it passed.

I’ve always had a keen sense of smell, but try to suppress it in the city since the scents of food, diesel fuel, and urine do not appeal to me. I had almost forgotten that to truly experience an odor you must use more than your nose. It involves breathing through your mouth and using your sense of taste. You must then allow the odor to infiltrate your entire chest cavity and head until it brings back a memory or creates a new one. Locals from Tambopata can smell Howler Monkeys from two miles away. I’m not that good yet, but can appreciate the fresh air, jungle fruits and nuts, flowers, leaves, even dirt.

There’s another sense. I’m not talking about that creepy movie with that little kid who hangs out with dead people. Its the same full body sensation you get when you first fall in love, or in like with someone. When I hike in the forest, no matter how hot it is, or whether its raining and I’m soaking wet, my energy increases and I could hike for hours. Worries cross through my mind for no more than a minute before I’m distracted by a jumble of vines, trees and plants competing with each other for sunlight. They wrap around each other, always moving upward in a beautiful chaos until they explode through the canopy spreading their branches in every direction to celebrate their triumph. My worries are forgotten and I realize I’ve been studying the forest for what feels like hours, but maybe was only seconds. This sense is timeless and unquantifiable. Its the same as falling in love, only this time I’ve fallen in love with a place.
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