Tag Archives: Lagunas

Toda es posible….nada es imposible…in Parque Pacaya Samiria

1 Oct

“You get these tourists, they have a list of what they want to see in the jungle. So on day one of the tour they tell you..

Quiero mire un puma, una anaconda y unos caimanas…(I’d like to see a puma, an anaconda and some caimans)”.

These were the words of one of our guides on my tour through the rainforest at Parque Nacional Pacaya Samiria, 2 million hectares of virgin rainforest (about 1.5% of the landmass of Peru) in the selva (jungle) of Northern Peru.

And his reply “toda es posible, nada es imposible” – everything is possible, nothing is impossible.

The tourists ask again….”But will I see a puma?” He replies “es posible”, it’s possible. The tourists probe further “But will I see an anaconda?”. He replies “es posible”. And will I see caimans. He replies “es posible”.

That’s the thing about the jungle. Everything is possible and there are no guarantees about what you will see. It is not, and the guides emphasise this, a zoo and these are wild animals who do not appear on demand, even for tourists!

Even if I didn’t see a puma or an anaconda and this was of course possible, the parque is still a wonderful place to visit.

There are no motorised canoes so transport is by dug out canoe in a canoe made from the wood of an indigenous tree called Kachawi. The resin of this tree is highly poisonous. They make the canoes in the jungle (it takes about a week) and then they transport them from there to the river. The canoes last about 3 years and then they use the wood as llena (fire wood) and go build another one!

I saw brown capuchin monkeys, black monkeys, squirrel monkeys, pink dolphins (boy these guys are cool!), countless birds with wonderful colours (they move too fast to photograph them!), even otters who played a game with us by following the canoes and then disappearing at the last minute. I walked over a caiman on the way to the outside toilet..it eyes shone orange and it looked like someone had dropped a cigarette butt on the ground.

I went night fishing…the guides like night fishing as the fish are asleep (do fish sleep?) so it is easier to catch them with the harpoon. Day fishing produced a delicious fish (called fasaco) for lunch.

I saw baby turtles. Man these little guys are cute. They hatch the eggs in special areas so the turtles shells have a chance to harden up and the tiny, little turtles are not eaten by the fish. They then put them in the water when they can survive. I held one in my hand. This was amazing!

On a walk through the jungle our guide made a rubber bouncing ball from the resin of a rubber tree. He also made a remedy from a tree for one of the others on the tour who was feeling a bit sick..he boiled the bark of the tree…then Claudio had to put his head in cold water so that the remedy did not go to his head but to his stomach..he then drank the remedy..a few minutes later he was violently sick..the guide said that this was because he had taken a little water in the morning and it’s mixed with the remedy! The guides strongly believe in the powers of the jungle plants..there is a remedy for everything in the jungle they say.

Sleeping outside (in a little cream mosquito cover) was wonderful. Just after dusk the jungle comes alive. It is like a concert out there with each animal playing his instrument at different times. You have the sounds of the frogs, the birds , one of the birds called Wancawi uses her song to send the snakes to sleep before she kills them! Another bird sounds like a flute..our guides told us that there is a tale that this bird had 7 children but could only look after 5 so let 2 go. The song is a lament for the lost children.

In the middle of the night at the outside camps people just arrive and cook up. Some of them canoe through the night to get to places in the park to work. At one point I asked my guide how far we were from the next camp. He said “a good six hours by canoe”. This is really a different world!

I didn’t have a list of what I wanted to see in the jungle. But that doesn’t really matter. After all, toda es posible in the jungle!

(I went into the jungle with Estypel, a small family run company based in Lagunas. Their contact details www. estypel.com, telephone number (065) 401080, Padre Lucero No 1345, Lagunas).

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