Friday, April 3, 2015

Iquitos, the gateway to the Amazon

Iquitos is a 500,000 inhabitants city located in the North Peruvian Amazon rainforest. Iquitos is surrounded by the Amazon River, Nanay River, Itaya River and the Moronacocha lake.

The city is famous by its Rubber Boom heritage. The Rubber Boom (1886-1914) was the era of wealth for the Peruvian and South American Amazon. It led to great wealth for a few, most of them newcomers from other provinces of Peru, but also foreigners from the United Kingdom, United States, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, etc. Also it led to slavery for indigenous tribes. The effects of the Rubber Boom were substantial. Mainly Iquitos in Peru and Manaus in Brazil grew from small settlements in 1886 to important cities by 1914. Other jungle villages in these countries also grew.

Nowadays, Iquitos has historical buildings in its downtown as the Iron House designed by famous architect Gustav Eiffel, the Former Palace Hotel, Pinasco House, Fernando Lores School, Main Church, among others.

Iquitos is also the most important city in the Peruvian Amazon. Most travelers arrive in Iquitos with the dream to discover the rainforest and its wildlife but basically there are two jungle areas to visit from Iquitos:

  • Surrounding jungle areas (Momón, Amazonas and Nanay Rivers). Most jungle lodges, tour operators and guides offer itineraries to these areas. Places along the rivers near Iquitos has natural landscapes, but because are very close to the main city there are no chance of seeing animals in the wild. That is the reason that programs to these areas include visits to zoos and snake farms to observe animals, also included visit to tourist native tribes as bora and yagua. Most of these places can be visited without an organized tour using available public transports. Required time: From a couple of hours to 2 days.

  • Virgin jungle or primary rainforest (places located more than 80 km or 50 mi south of Iquitos, especially within protected areas). Far from main cities, these places has healthy ecosystems. These places are very rich in biodiversity hence is possible to observe wildlife in their own habitat. Two awesome options are the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (RNPS) and the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Regional Conservation Area (ACRCTT). These reserves are not possible to visit on your own. It is required a formal tour company. Required time: Minimum of 3 days and 2 nights.

Tours in Iquitos are not as cheap as in the rest of Peru. Tours for the surrounding jungle areas are around USD 50, and for protected areas around USD 130, in both cases per person per day.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Great discounts on Amazon Rainforest trips

Because we are grateful to our readers, we got some discounts from 5 to 12% off for most of the expeditions organized by two formal and reputable tour operators based out in Iquitos, Amazon Rainforest, Peru. Both tour operators are focused on real wildlife-spotting.

Curassow Amazon Lodge

  • Curassow Amazon Lodge. Located in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Nature Reserve, around 3 hours by river from Iquitos, this is an area plenty of wildlife according researchers of the Chicago Field Museum from the USA. Curassow Amazon Lodge is suggested for those travellers wishing to discover the real Amazon jungle and Amazon river with comfortable standards as woodden private rooms (bungalows) with en-suite bathrooms, 24-hour running water, full board and English-speaking guides. No electricity is provided to keep the experience as natural as possible.
Amazon Explorer
  • Amazon Explorer. This is an operator for people looking for something more real, more extreme. They camp in the middle of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve or perform adventure expeditions to remote jungle areas or native lands belonging to the non-touristic indigenous tribes Matses and Shuar, as well as adventures to the off the beaten track. If you are a survivalist or like a challenge, they are the one.

If you require information to plan your trip to Iquitos, airlines, accommodations and get the discounts, contact us ( mayantuperu -AT- ). This promo is available during 2015 and 2016.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Amazon Rainforest in Google Street View

Google Street View is now in the Amazon Rainforest. As a result of a partnership with the Brazilian NGO Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), Google has taken pictures of around 500 km (more than 310 mi) of jungles, rivers and lagoons of the Amazon rainforest, from the forest floor to the upper canopy.

The first time that Google took pictures of the Amazon was in 2012. With this project everyone can visit this paradise from their computers.

An advantage for Google is that privacy won't be an issue in this project, but it is probable somebody will find unrecorded wildlife since distracted insects and birds are visible in the pictures.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pacaya-Samiria as the World's Best Place for Wildlife

Photo courtesy of Amazon Explorer.
The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve located in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest (South America) is nominated as the World's Best Place for Wildlife by the travel portal of USA Today.

The portal seeks to get the 10 best places for wild life in the world, among 20 destinations selected for wildlife experts. These destinations has been selected by its diversity of flora and fauna; and experiences that visitors may have.

The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (PSNR) is the largest government-protected area in the floodable Amazon rainforest (ecosystem named várzea) in South America with an area of 2'080,000 ha or 5'139,792 acres, an area slightly larger than Slovenia or a half part of Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands or Costa Rica. It is considered as a RAMSAR site since 28 August 1986. It is home to some of the largest wildlife populations in the Amazon: pink and gray river dolphins, howler monkeys, elusive sloths, flocks of brilliant macaws and bright butterflies. Lagoons covered in giant lily pads teem with fish and caiman. Read more about the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve.

Pacaya Samiria compete with other destinations such as the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), The Pantanal (Brazil), Costa Rica, Madagascar (Africa), Antarctica, Alaska's Katmai National Park (USA), etc.

Voting for this denomination, will be open until 12:00 on February 9th, 2015:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve

Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve is a small protected area located around 23 km south of Iquitos, Peru; along the Iquitos-Nauta Highway and the Nanay River that flows through the northern part of the reserve.

Within its 57'667.43 ha (14 249 932.3 acre) Allpahuayo Mishana protects white-sand forests, a very uncommon ecosystem within the South American Amazonia and the flooded forests of the Nanay River.

It has two kinds of habitats: varillales and floodable forests. Varillales grow in white sand areas and has a diversity of soils. While the forests that flood under black water of the Nanay River has species of restricted distribution.

This is the habitat of the rare bird Iquitos gardnatcher (Polioptila clementsi), an endangered species with around a hundred of individuals. Also there are 145 mammal species, 297 bird species, 83 amphibia species, 120 reptiles species, 115 fish species and 1900 plants.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Community Reserve

A map of the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Community Reserve, Iquitos, Amazon River, Peru
The Área de Conservación Regional Comunal Tamshiyacu Tahuayo (ACRCTT) was founded on 15 May 2009 with 420,080.25 ha or 1'038,040.9 acre is located around 145 km or 90 miles south Iquitos. This reserve conserve floodable and non-floodable jungles and promotes the sustainable use of natural resources.

In 2003, Chicago's Field Museum's Rapid Biology Inventory #11 found more species of mammals and trees in the ACRCTT than any other documented natural area in the world.

It is wild Amazon rain forest with high levels of biodiversity, it has 13 species of primates, on of the largest primate levels in the Amazon.

Visitors at Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve, Iquitos, Amazon River, PeruRepresentative species within the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Community Reserve are monkey as the huapo colorado or uakari (Cacajao calvus), the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus), the red howler monkey (Alouatta seniculus), the pink dolphin (Inia geoffrensis), grey dolphin (Sotalia fluviatilis), brown-throated sloth (Bradypus variegatus), capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) and black caiman (Melanosuchus niger).

Team of the Rapid Biological Inventory number 11 by the US Chicago Field Museum in 2003 recorded the following:

Species found
Species estimated
Terrestrial mammals
Information source: Chicago Field Museum.
By: Edwin J. Villacorta.

The only access to this reserve is by boat. There are a few cruises and companies that goes there as Curassow Amazon Lodge and Tahuayo Lodge, both located inside it.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve

The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (PSNR) is the largest government-protected area in the floodable Amazon rainforest (ecosystem named várzea) in South America with an area of 2'080,000 ha or 5'139,792 acres, an area slightly larger than Slovenia or a half part of Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands or Costa Rica. It is considered as a RAMSAR site since 28 August 1986.

The reserve is triangular shaped by Marañón River in the North and Ucayali River in the South, just before their junction originating the Amazon River. There are around 50,000 inhabitants within its buffer area, most of them descendants of the Cocama Cocamilla tribe.

The PSNR is the habitat of 527 bird species, 102 mammal species (among them the pink and the grey dolphins), 69 species of reptiles, 58 species of amphibians, 269 fish species, and 1024 species of wild and cultivated plants. The reserve is a refuge for different endangered species like the charapa turtle (Podocnemis expansa), the spider monkey (Ateles sp.), the giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), the red macaw (Ara Macao), cedar trees (Cederla odorata), and others.

Most of the local population is involved in protection and natural resource management projects as repopulation river turtles taricaya and charapa and paiche fishing.

In the Amazon there are 2 seasons: the flood season from November to April and the dry season from May to October. During the flood season is easier to spot birds, monkeys and anphibias and during dry season there are river beaches to swim and is easier to observe alligators and river turtles.

To reach the PSNR is mandatory to has a guide or company registered on the SERNANP, the Government Authority for Protected Areas. It is nost possible to visit alone or with non-registered guides.