Exotic holiday Travel

Magic Monkeys: Exploring the Amazon with Rainforest Expeditions

By Paradis Harirchian

When I was a little kid, I remember being captivated by nature documentaries. One of the many things that really captured by imagination were the bone rattling howls of a creature that seemed almost mythic: the howler monkey.

These formidable guys seem to have the manes of lions, and purse their lips into a perfect O to make a loud howl that can be heard from up to three miles away! Unfortunately, due to human predation (some people keep these guys as pets, whilst others -ugh!- eat them), this species is under threat. So, when the chance to see some in their natural habitat arose, I couldn’t refuse, and I boarded a plane for Rainforest Expeditions in the Peruvian Amazon.

When my plane landed into Puerto Maldonado Airport, a 35 minute plane ride from Cusco, I was nervous as to how I would find my guide, but as soon as I exited, Listen, our Rainforest Expeditions guide, found me! He quickly escorted me to  the Rainforest Expeditions main office, just 5 minutes from the airport. We were greeted with warm smiles and cool passionfruit juice, and were asked to repack our luggage into duffel bags for the 15 minute walk to the lodge itself, since duffel bags are easier to carry than suitcases.

The way to to the ecolodge was dense with wildlife: we saw loads of caiman alligators, two bighorn birds, countless snowy egrets, one male capybara (the largest rodent in the world – they kind of look like huge hamsters) and many more beasties I couldn’t name.

An Amazonian Eden

When we arrived to our lodging at Refugio Amazonas we were given healthy, homemade snacks, packed in woven baskets and palm leaves which were super cute and ecological. Listen, our guide, pointed out local fruits papaya and bananas, and informed us that rice, Brazil nuts, and gold are major exports of this region. Our snack packs had Brazil nuts, and our guide told us that the food is cooked with this rich nut oil in the lodge, and our soaps and shampoos were made from it as well. They even make a Brazil nut beer!

The Amazon is damn hot, and the staff here know it – they’re constantly offering us cool towels to wipe our sweaty faces and refreshing  passionfruit juice. I was fortunate enough to have the deluxe suite at Refugio Amazonas, and it was simply stunning. All the rooms in all the lodges I stayed at – Posada Amazonas, Refugio Amazonas, and Tambopata Research Center – have only three walls, with the fourth being open to the jungle. It feels like you are sleeping outside, and you have absolutely gobsmacking views of the wildlife; in fact, it can get quite loud sometimes with all the birds, monkeys and insects tweeting, chirping and buzzing.

I awoke at 4am for a morning hike that began at 5:20am. We saw many trees and plants, but it was too foggy to see any wildlife. During the boat ride to the Tambopata Research Center, the river got pretty wild! It was very shallow in some parts, due to it being the dry season, and our guide needed some occasional help with a large tree branch to get us unstuck from the mud.

One highlight from the ride was sighting the majestic Ceiba trees, which some people say was the inspiration for the tree in the movie Avatar. Sadly, just like in that move, there is some illegal mining activity going on along the river, even though it’s prohibited, and it’s polluting the river and killing the wildlife. We stopped at Chuncho clay lick and saw two huge, beautiful macaws and a large family of capybara laying by the riverbank. But although I could hear them on occasion, I had yet to see what I really wanted to since my childhood: a howler monkey.

Learning at the TRC

When we arrived at the Tambopata Research Center (TRC), I was delighted to be given a deluxe suite yet again – and I must say, it was even more spectacular than the one at Refugio Amazonas! It boasted a huge outdoor patio, with an outdoor shower and a gorgeously deep bathtub surrounded by lush jungle.

An exquisite lunch was served at 1pm featuring local vegetables, fruits and fish, packed with subtle flavors and beautifully presented, too. It was a definite step up from the food at Refugio Amazonas, although I am told the menu there will be changed soon. At lunch, Gabriela Orihuela, the Communications Manager at Rainforest Expeditions, ate with my group and answered all of our questions – she is an absolute treasure trove of knowledge, and knows all the scientific names of all the flora and fauna in both Refugio Amazonas and the Tambopata Research Center, as well as internal information on Rainforest Expeditions.

She explained that Rainforest Expeditions at TRC, was the first of the three lodges, but it started as a research center when it was established in 1989. It became a fully functioning lodge in 1992. The research that went on during those beginning years allowed for the National Reserve to be created, as well as the National Park, located just across the Tambopata River from TRC. Once an area is a National Reserve, the government actively protects it, and stripping of natural elements or logging of any kind is prohibited.

Helping communities, helping wildlife

We were told that the second lodge, Posada Amazonas, started 22 years ago as a joint venture between Rainforest Expeditions and the local community Infierno. In 2016, 100% of ownership moved to this local community, who have used the profits from this lodge to better their local school, start a new lodge of their own, and be able to protect and conserve the beautiful jungle that surrounds them.

Refugio Amazonas, the third lodge, is located on a giant Brazil nut concession. Before Rainforest Expeditions arrived, this land experienced a lot of logging, and the animals were heavily hunted during every Brazil nut harvest. But for the last 13 years since it’s ownership, Rainforest Expeditions has been actively conserving this land and all the flora and fauna on it through their deal with the local farmers, the Valeras, that come to harvest, every year from January to mid-February. Every year, Rainforest Expeditions feeds these farmers, so they don’t hunt the forest out, and they prohibit logging.

I also learned that Refugio Amazonas and Tambopata Research Center are both major research stations. In Refugio Amazonas, the guests that come to stay in the lodge have major opportunities to help with research. Through the Discovering New Species and the Wired Amazon projects, guests have helped discover 12 new species of tiger moths, and they got to name them, too! Through AmazonCam and Zooniverse.org anybody can help scientists spot wildlife in the area.

With Zooniverse.org also comes Aerobotany, which is a drone’s assessment of the Brazil nut trees to project production for the coming harvest. Guests (and anyone with access to the internet) can help analyze the drone’s data by counting Brazil nut trees and spotting flowers. The Macaw Project, which coincides with the start of Rainforest Expeditions and the Tambopata Research Center, is a joint venture between TRC and Texas A&M University in the United States. The first macaws that were part of this project still come to have breakfast with the guests, more often than not (although, it’s really not healthy to feed them). Part of the lodges’ profits goes towards continued research and continued conservation efforts.  

Our first jungle trek

After this informative chat, we embarked on our first jungle trek. We saw a big mama tarantula, living in a hole in a tree, and drew her out with bait- a leaf on a stick. We saw many scarlet macaws and many large, beautiful trees. All the shrubbery has such unique patterns and leaf structures. We spotted lots of mushrooms, some of which were edible.

On the way back to our rooms, we saw two medium sized spider monkeys, so-called because they can jump from tree to tree and even to the ground from a high branch on a tree. I took a warm shower in my outdoor bathroom (there’s an indoor option as well) and my view of this vivacious jungle was nothing short of spectacular.

The moment arrives

I awoke to all kinds of birds chirping and lots of very colourful moth and butterfly wings scattered like confetti all over the floor of my bedroom. We went to the nearby Clay Lick to see parrots and macaws licking clay. One of the top theories as to why they do this is that they are not getting sufficient sodium from the food they are eating, and therefore are supplementing with this mineral-rich delicacie. And then we saw some real action: a giant flock of green parrots and scarlet macaws swooped in for their daily clay fix. The flurry of colours of all the birds flying in together was mesmerizing!

Walking to breakfast, I could hear howler monkeys howling SUPER CLOSE to the bridge that extends between the rooms and the common areas. At breakfast, there were macaws accompanying us at the tables and I saw a wild, red brocket deer that was super cute, with a fluffy tail – but still no howler monkeys.

The second day, we heard howler monkeys again, and decided to follow our ears. Sure enough, they were very close to our rooms – we saw one alpha male and several mamas and babies – so precious, and so playful! They kept wrestling with each other and swinging from branches, even as their mom lay down for a nap. Listen said Howler monkeys are one of the laziest monkeys in their region; all they do is sleep and eat leaves- 70% of their diet are the leaves of trees, which is very unusual for a monkey. Sounds like a pretty good life to me!

The final day

Thrilled at having fulfilled a lifelong dream, I then set out with the group to hike through a bamboo forest. On our way, Listen painted our faces with sanipanga leaf, which functions as a natural mosquito repellent and antiseptic. It has a gorgeous violet color once applied. Soon after, we ran into a group of wild white lipped peccary pigs; they smelled absolutely HORRIBLE! We saw many “walking trees” which constantly grow new roots in the direction of the sun whilst losing their old roots. They move around 25 cm per year. We saw many birds: powhil, pale winged trumpeters, blue and gold macaws, and green and red macaws which are apparently super uncommon to spot.

What an unforgettable experience this was! Exploring the Amazon is like visiting another planet; here, man takes second place to the flora and fauna that rule this mysterious place. Although the food was delicious, the rooms beyond comfortable, the guides knowledgeable, I never felt that I was a tourist in a hotel; rather, I was more like an astronaut exploring a new frontier. If you’d like to see the Amazon Jungle, I would highly recommend Rainforest Expeditions, especially Tambopata Research Center. Who knows? They may well help you, too, fulfil a childhood dream.

For more information visit: @Rainforestexpeditions   www.perunature.com #Tambopataresearchcenter

This site uses affiliate links with brands we trust, and if you make a purchase using a link, we may receive a commission.

Did you enjoy this post? Want to show your gratitude? Please support us on Patreon!

Patreon logo Become a Patron

Loading...

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses affiliate links with brands we trust, and if you make a purchase using a link, we may receive a commission.

Privacy Policy

The Eluxe privacy policy applies to all your personal information, given and received. Personal information is information that might identify you, like your name, address, phone number, email, or website. When you visit our site, we may gather information about you such as your name, email, cookie information, and IP location. We may contact you regarding your preferences for information and updates. This information allows us to honour your requests for products and services and to improve our service to you. We never share or sell your personal information, unless we need to do so in order to provide a product, information or service that you have requested. Please note that no data transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed to be 100% safe, thus, we cannot warrant that your information will be absolutely secure. Eluxe Magazine has a variety of safeguards – technical, administrative, and physical – in place to help protect against unauthorised access to, use, or disclosure of user information. We guarantee adherence to industry best practices that ensure complete security, and we fully comply with all federal regulations. If we change our privacy policy, we will tell you.

Copyright

All material on our site is original unless stated. Original content is fully copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission. We make every effort to ensure all published images respect appropriate copyright. Should there be any issue, please contact us immediately.

Third party links

Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.

Eluxe Magazine uses affiliate links throughout the site. We may be compensated if readers click on those links. We only provide links to products and services we genuinely like and trust.

Our Site will also occasionally contain links to, and quotations of, material from other sites. Eluxe Magazine is not responsible for the content or the privacy practices of other sites and expressly disclaims any liability arising out of such content or practices. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave Eluxe Magazine’s Site, and to read the privacy statements of any website that may collect personally identifiable information. Some of the links found on our site may be links that have been paid for by the sponsor. Under no circumstances does Eluxe Magazine accept responsibility for, nor shall Eluxe Magazine be liable for any violation of personal or proprietary rights of you and/or any third party (including, but not limited to, copyright, trademark, patent, service mark, misappropriation, unfair competition, trade secrets, privacy publicity rights, etc.), false advertising that is harmful, or violates any law or governmental regulation and/or any media that may constitute libel or slander of any person or entity or infringe upon or violate the right of privacy or any other right of any person or entity arising out of content, practices, or other media of any third party links.

Eluxe Magazine is not responsible for the content or the privacy practices of other sites we link into and expressly disclaims any liability arising out of such content or practices. Under no circumstances does Eluxe Magazine accept responsibility for, nor shall Eluxe Magazine be liable for any damages or detriment arising out of content, practices, or other media of third party links.

Editorial Statement and Disclaimer

The views expressed at here are the views of the Eluxe staff and do not necessarily represent the views of Eluxe sponsors and/or partners. Eluxe content is for informational and entertainment purposes, and any views expressed should not be accepted as a substitute for qualified expertise. Though we make every effort to provide accurate information, it is up to you, the reader, to use Eluxe’s content responsibly; in return, we promise to publish responsibly. We stand by our content, our writers, and our editors. In the rare case we make a mistake, we will take whatever reasonable course of action we can to acknowledge and correct it.

Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, YOU EXPRESSLY UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT THE SITE, CONTENT, PRODUCTS AND/OR SERVICES ON THE SITE ARE PROVIDED “AS IS” AND ON AN “AS AVAILABLE” BASIS. TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW AND EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, TGT DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. ELUXE MAGAZINE DOES NOT REPRESENT OR WARRANT THAT THE SITE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, THAT ANY DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE SITE OR THE SERVER THAT MAKES THE SITE AVAILABLE ARE FREE FROM VIRUSES OR ANYTHING ELSE HARMFUL. FURTHER, EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, ELUXE MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE ACCURACY, ADEQUACY, USEFULNESS, RELIABILITY, OR COMPLETENESS OF THE SITE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES, CONTENT, THE CONTENT OF ANY THIRD-PARTY SITE LINKED TO OR FROM THIS SITE, COMMENTS, INFORMATION, INFORMATION PROVIDED BY OUR VENDORS, OR ANY OTHER ITEMS OR MATERIALS ON THE SITE OR LINKED TO FROM THE SITE.

ELUXE ASSUMES NO LIABILITY OR RESPONSIBILITY FOR (A) ANY, ERRORS, MISTAKES OR INACCURACIES OF THE CONTENT, PRODUCTS, SERVICES, INFORMATION, SITE AND MATERIALS SET FORTH ON OR MADE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE SITE, (B) PERSONAL INJURY OR PROPERTY DAMAGE, OF ANY NATURE WHATSOEVER, RESULTING FROM YOUR ACCESS TO OR USE OF THE SITE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITE(S), PRODUCTS OR SERVICES, (C) ANY UNAUTHORISED ACCESS TO OR USE OF THE SERVERS THAT HOST THE SITE OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITE(S) AND/OR ANY AND ALL PERSONAL INFORMATION STORED THEREIN, (D) ANY INTERRUPTION OR CESSATION OF TRANSMISSION TO OR FROM THE SITE OR THIRD PARTY SITE(S), (E) ANY BUGS, VIRUSES, TROJAN HORSES OR THE LIKE, WHICH MAY BE TRANSMITTED TO OR THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITE(S) BY TGT OR ANY THIRD PARTY, AND/OR (F) ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS IN THE NETWORK OR ANY CONTENT, INFORMATION AND MATERIALS (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THIRD PARTY SITE(S)) OR FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OF ANY OF THE FOREGOING.

NO PERSON (INCLUDING ANY AGENT, DEALER OR REPRESENTATIVE OF ELUXE MAGAZINE) IS AUTHORISED TO MAKE ANY REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY CONCERNING PRODUCTS AND BY USING THIS SITE, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT YOU HAVE NOT RELIED ON ANY OTHER WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS.

IN NO EVENT SHALL ELUXE OR ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, AGENTS, SUPPLIERS, VENDORS, MANUFACTURERS OR DISTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, INCIDENTAL, EXEMPLARY OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF USE, DATA, REVENUE OR PROFITS, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, OR LOSS OF BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY OR GOODWILL, ARISING FROM OR IN CONNECTION WITH (A) THE USE OF, OR INABILITY TO USE, THE SITE; (B) THE PROVISION OF OR FAILURE TO PROVIDE SERVICES, PRODUCTS, MATERIALS, CONTENT, OR SOFTWARE AVAILABLE FROM, ON OR THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY THIRD-PARTY WEBSITE(S); OR (C) THE CONDUCT OF OTHER USERS OF THE SITE, WHETHER BASED ON CONTRACT, TORT, NEGLIGENCE, STRICT LIABILITY OR OTHERWISE, EVEN IF ELUXE MAGAZINE HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. YOU ASSUME COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR USE OF THE SITE. YOUR SOLE REMEDY AGAINST TGT FOR DISSATISFACTION WITH THE SITE OR ANY CONTENT IS TO STOP USING THE WEBSITE. THAT SAID, IF ELUXE MAGAZINE IS FOUND TO BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR ANY DAMAGE OR LOSS ARISING OUT OF OR WHICH IS IN ANY WAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR USE OF THE SITE, ANY CONTENT, OR PURCHASE OF ANY PRODUCTS OR SERVICES ON OR THROUGH THE SITE, ELUXE MAGAZINE’S LIABILITY SHALL NOT EXCEED $100.00 IN THE AGGREGATE.

These Terms of Service (together with our Privacy Policy, which is expressly incorporated herein by reference and which can be accessed on this Site, and any other terms that may appear on the Site from time-to-time) contain the entire understanding between you and us with respect to your use and access of this Site, and supersede all prior agreements, terms, conditions and understandings, both written and oral, with respect to such use and access of the Site. No representation, statement or inducement, whether oral or written, not contained in these Terms of Service (and any other terms that may appear on the Site from time-to-time) or the Privacy Policy shall bind any party to this agreement. No additional or different terms or conditions will be binding upon us unless expressly agreed to in writing by an officer of ELUXE MAGAZINE. No other representative has any authority to waive, alter, vary or add to these Terms of Service. Before using this Site please read through all referenced documents carefully.

Aggregate information (non-personally identifiable information)

Eluxe Magazine may, from time to time, automatically collect aggregate information about our visitors to our advertisers, sponsors, promotional partners and affiliates. This aggregate information includes, but is not limited to, IP addresses connecting to our site, how many persons visited a particular page or activity, dates and times of image uploads, device characteristics, operating system, browser type, type of connection, page and image viewing statistics, and incoming and outgoing links.

Like most websites, we use log files to store this information. None of this automatically collected technical information is associated with any identified person at the time it is collected, but it could be associated with you under two circumstances: First, if you choose to give us personal data about you as described above, the technical information we collect that would otherwise be anonymous could instead be logged as coming from you. Second, if we are required to disclose our server logs as a result of a subpoena or other legal process, some third party such as your internet provider could match our anonymous technical information with you, using information beyond what is found on our servers.

Eluxe Magazine may use cookies, web beacons, pixel tags, or other anonymous tracking information to improve our server’s interaction with your computer, and we may partner with third party advertisers who may (themselves or through their partners) place or recognise a unique cookie on your browser. These cookies enable more customised ads, content, or services to be provided to you. To trigger these cookies, we may pass an encrypted or “hashed” (non-human readable) identifier corresponding to your email address to a Web advertising partner, who may place a cookie on your computer. No personally identifiable information is on, or is connected to, these cookies. Although our servers currently don’t respond to “do-not-track” requests (see below), you can block these cookies in other ways, for example by searching “[your browser] + disable cookies.”

Eluxe Magazine will never share, sell, lease, or rent PII to unaffiliated third parties, except in the following circumstances:

a) If we have a good faith belief that we must disclose such information for legal reasons, such as to enforce our Terms of Service, protect or assert the rights, property interests, or personal safety of Eluxe (including its employees, directors, suppliers, distributors, service providers, users of the Website or others), or if we are otherwise required to disclose such information by law. We will disclose information only to the extent necessary to comply with the purpose of the request.

b) We may share aggregate, anonymous or summary information regarding our customers and their behaviors with partners, advertisers or other third parties. This data is not personal information and so will not identify you personally. We may share information with companies that provide support services to us, such as a printer, mailing house, fulfillment-company, credit card processor, email service provider or web host, amongst others. These parties may need personal information about you in order to perform their functions. However, these parties may not use any personal information we share with them about you for any other purpose other than in connection with performing supporting functions for us.

You have the right at any time to prevent us from contacting you for marketing purposes. If and when we send a promotional communication to a user, the user can opt out of further promotional communications by following the unsubscribe instructions provided in each promotional e-mail. Please note that notwithstanding the promotional preferences you indicate by unsubscribing or opting out in some other fashion, we may continue to send you administrative emails including, for example, periodic updates to our Privacy Policy.

In order to access a profile on Eluxe Magazine’s shop, you must first create an account with a username and password. The registration system requires that a valid email address be used to confirm the account. You should choose a username that does not include your last name and does not specify your city or your address. Eluxe Magazine asks that you use your first name only, or an alias, for your display name. This is to safeguard your privacy and protection. We do not use and cannot access this information.

Eluxe Magazine is 100% opposed to unsolicited commercial email (“spam”). We do not have any desire to send unsolicited marketing emails to anyone without permission and we do not sell or provide user email addresses to any unauthorised third party in violation of this Policy. All of our newsletters and other general email marketing communications also include an “unsubscribe” opt-out link that you may use to tell us to stop sending you marketing emails.

In the event of a change in control resulting from, for example, a sale to, or merger with, another entity, or in the event of a sale of assets or a bankruptcy, Eluxe Magazine reserves the right to transfer your personal information to the new party in control, or the party acquiring assets. We will only do so if the party we transfer the information to agrees that they will abide by our Privacy Policy for as long as they hold the information, and that they will not transfer the information to any other party who will not abide by our Privacy Policy.

We use third-party advertising companies to deliver online advertising. These companies facilitate the delivery of ads, conduct market research, and use cookies for record-keeping purposes. These cookies sometimes enable the companies to serve you ads tailored to things you have shown an interest in based on your prior web activity. This is generally known as behavioral advertising. For example, this means that if you frequently read movie reviews online, it is possible that you might see ads on other websites relating to upcoming movies. Online advertising companies generally conduct this activity in an anonymous format, with online information not combined with information that would allow for your identification.

The third-party companies that will be serving advertisements on Eluxe Magazine may include DoubleClick, Google and Taboola.

We may periodically modify, alter, or update these policies. We will alert users to any material changes to this policy by posting the revised information here. We encourage you to review our Privacy Policy on a regular basis to stay informed about how we are protecting the personal information we collect. Your continued use of TGT’s website constitutes your agreement to this Privacy Policy and any future updates.

This site uses affiliate links with brands we trust, and if you make a purchase using a link, we may receive a commission.

Did you enjoy this post? Want to show your gratitude? Please support us on Patreon!

Patreon logo Become a Patron