More than 300 species of birds live in Pacaya-Samiria, including five of the eight species of Macaw found in Peru. The prehistoric-looking hoatzin bird is seen here as well. Accommodations on the trip to the Pacaya Reserve are at the Amazon Refuge wildlife conservation center: The Amazon Refuge is a complex built on 200 acres of primary rainforest and is surrounded by a 2000-acre nature reserve. Buildings are constructed in sustainable forest management using naturally felled trees salvaged from the rivers and thatched palm roofs. Each building is atop tall pillars to account for the rise in river waters during the rain season and are completely screened. Bungalows have ample room for a family of four with private bath facilities.
Wildlife is abundant in this area with many kilometers of rainforest trails, river canoeing, and lake environments. Wildlife includes pink and gray dolphin, caimans, anaconda, tapir, several species of monkey, and myriad of bird species including Macaws. Accommodations within the Reserve are called Refugios: Refugios are small cabins at Indian villages built in typical local material, protected by a mosquito net, with capacity and equipment for 8 - 10 people with an indoor bath facility. Electric light is produced by solar energy and communications are assured by a radio.
Day 1: Iquitos - Amazon Refuge. Arrival on morning flight to Iquitos from Lima. Depart from Iquitos city, we boat up the Amazon River for 2-hours and onto the tributary river Yanayacu. Here you will be meet by your hosts, the San Juan de Yanayacu Indians. Visit to the Indian community San Juan de Yanayacu where we will have an encounter with the Shaman of the community (curandero). We will learn his methods of healing and learn as well about our traditions, legends and myth from the Amazon. Afternoon activities at the Amazon Refuge exploring rainforest trails. Overnight Amazon Refuge.
Day 2: Amazon Refuge. A full day exploring the rainforest with a hike to our YanaYacu Lagoon (Black Water Lagoon), an isolated lake and home of the Amazon paiche (Arapaima gigas). Paiche is a South American tropical freshwater fish. It is one of the largest freshwater fish in the world, reportedly with a maximum length in excess of 3 m (9.8 feet) and weight up to 200 kg (440l b). It is one of the most sought after food fish species in South America. Along the way we will see monkey, birds, and a variety of spiders and frogs. Overnight Amazon Refuge. Night excursion by canoe viewing caiman and nocturnal river life.
Day 3: Amazon Refuge. We will take lunch on board and go to a black water lake named Corriente for the observation of water lilies (nenufares plants), and to observe (and swim with) pink and gray dolphins. Overnight Amazon Refuge.
Day 4: Amazon Refuge. Camping option: By river canoe we travel 2 - hours up the Yanayacu River and hike inland to a very special place where macaws and parrots congregate to eat mineral clay (often from the bark of special trees). These minerals help with the digestion of toxic seeds eaten by the birds especially during the dry season when their regular food supply is in short supply. Excursion to view Tapirs and night monkeys. Overnight camping (all equipment provided) under the stars of the Southern Hemisphere.
Day 5: Pacaya Samiria Reserve. Morning we head out by speedboat up the Amazon River and then 1-hour up the Marañon River to the entrance ranger station of Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. We arrive at the Yanayacu-Pucate black water rivers in the Samiria reserve to meet the local Indians, the home of the Veinte de Enero Indian Community. Jungle walk to the rain forest, learning about the medicinal species from the area, look for monkeys and wildlife. Dinner and overnight Veinte de Enero community Refugio. Night walk to observe tarantulas, scorpions, insects, night monkeys etc.
Day 6: Pacaya Samiria Reserve. Early morning viewing wildlife followed by a visit to the Indian community of Buenos Aires in the Pucate River, learning about their hand work and crafts with plant ivory and native projects with heart of palm. As well visit to the curandero (shaman house) from the community. Afternoon on the river to view pink and gray dolphin and excursion swimming with dolphins and canoeing. We will learn about the medicinal plants from this area and learn basic Indian survival skills. Overnight local community Refugio. Night excursion in searching of caimans and night birds among the river bank.
Day 7: Pacaya Samiria Reserve. By boat farther into the national park, we will sail for 5 - hours up the Yanayacu of Pucate River until we get to the Yarina Indian community. Here we will find monkeys, sloth, dolphins, birds etc. We will use an open wooden boat for viewing wildlife. Yarina Indian community is a very small community and the last one in the park, there is a community Refugio where we will spend the day and night. Afternoon jungle walk to look for snakes and monkeys, learning about the different medicinal plants from the area.
Day 8: Pacaya Samiria Reserve. Early morning bird watching. By boat 1-hour up river to a very small creek named Chingana to look for Giant River Otters. Overnight community Refugio. Evening nocturnal canoe ride to look for boas, anacondas and caimans as well as nocturnal rodents.
Day 9: Pacaya Samiria Reserve - Iquitos. By boat down river to the ranger station where we board larger boats to go down the Marañon and Amazon rivers. Arrival Iquitos and transfer to hotel (or airport depending upon your flight to Lima).
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