The Amazon Rainforest covers more than 2 million square miles over 9 countries. 13% of the forest is located in Peru, with the majority in Brazil at 60%. Woven within, and on its outskirts is a variety of local villages made up of mainly local farmers that send produce all over the region. Papaya, for example, is the main crop produced by the Infierno village in the Peruvian Rainforest because of its high demand and profitability. You can also find mango, lucuma, camu camu, passion fruit (or it’s sweeter cousin, granadilla), olives, tomatoes (that grow on trees), and my favorite, cacao (chocolate)!
I should also mention that you can find Brazil nuts in Peru. Brazil nuts should really be called Amazonian nuts since they are found all over the Amazon rainforest, but since Brazil claims 60% of the forest, it has claimed the Brazil nut name. Fresh out of the coconut hard shell and small crescent shaped pod, they are creamy, mild and slightly nutty – nothing like what they taste like in the mixed bag nuts you buy at the grocery store, I assure you.
For our Amazon trip, we decided to book a tour at Posadas Amazonas. This open-air, tranquil resort is about 1.5 hours from Puerto Maldonado airport (via bus, then boat). You are picked up directly from the airport, given your own guide for your duration of the trip, and off you go! The itinerary for our 4 day, 3 night stay started off with a climb up a 120 foot high canopy tower to watch the stunning sunset from atop the rainforest canopy followed by a delicious candlelit dinner with our group and tour guide.
Day 2 was an early morning trip around a local lake in a catamaran for wildlife watching, followed by hiking trails around the resort and a visit to the local shaman who through ceremonial practice, helps to heal the surrounding communities through his knowledge and farming of medicinal vegetation. Such medicinal plants aid to remedy every ailment from fever to arthritis to a toothache (or extraction..eek!). Who would have thought that the properties of these plants actually yield some of the main chemicals that pharmaceutical medicines use today? Sounds a bit strange, but after chewing on a small piece of stick that made my tongue go slightly numb for about 3 minutes, I believe it! After an early morning, we ended dinner with a relaxing evening. Also, might I mention that following Day 2, Kyle proposed! WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!
Day 3 was a bit rainy, but relaxing, as we took advantage of the hammocks in the lobby area before going on a 2 hour hike to find wildlife that had surfaced after the rain. We saw snakes, giant snails, butterflies, tropical birds, cayman, strange insects and LOTS of monkeys. After dinner we went on a nightwalk to find even more cool looking bugs that come out only at night.. oh and a small snake or two! Overall, it was was an incredible experience, that I would highly recommend to nature lover who isn’t afraid of getting a little dirty ;-).