For The Karikuy blog, Evan Burawa tells of his visit to the Amazon rainforest via Puerto Maldonado.
What do you think of when you think of the Amazon rainforest? What comes to mind? Do you think about colorful birds and insects? Perhaps plants that eat those said insects? Jungle cat’s maybe? I know I do. Even with certain preconceptions that I’ve developed over the years from a myriad of sources ranging from National Geographic magazines to Disney’s “The Jungle Book”, I still didn’t really know what to expect when arriving at the Puerto Maldonado airport. Was it going to be just like the nature films I watched in high school Biology class, or was it going to be something different. Upon researching Peru prior to my arrival, when I learned that part of the rain forest stretched into Peru I immediately booked a tour. So my jungle adventure began with Corto Maltes.
The plane touched down at the Puerto Maldonado airport around 8 in the morning. My guide and some of the staff from Corto Maltes greeted me upon my arrival. I met with the rest of my tour group (a lovely family from North Carolina and a couple from Spain) and we headed down to the river. We took a boat down the river to the Corto Maltes lodge. I was in complete and utter shock when we pulled up to a gorgeous property with an assortment of beautiful bungalows (with hot water!) After catching up on some sleep in the hammock outside my bungalow, I met up with my group to go on a tour of the plant life in the jungle. Our guide explained to us about the various kinds of jungle fruits that were only found in the jungle. We even had that opportunity to eat some right off the trees. Supposedly 20% of medicines are derived from plants found in the jungle. We got to experience the plant responsible for certain aesthetics. After putting it to my tongue, I immediately felt its numbing effects. He showed us the spikes on a plant that were used in conjunction with bamboo to make a “blow gun” used for battle or hunting purposes. We were introduced to the strangler vines. The strangler vine basically grows around trees and eventually overtakes them like a bad zombie movie. After our tour we headed back to have dinner.