Seen from above, (with the aid of google)
Puerto Maldonado Rainforest Lodge.
We arrived by boat, there is no alternative except parachute or possibly helicopter, there being very few roads fortunately. The area is under strict ecological control by the Peruvian Government Getting ashore was generally the hardest part, the image above is of the river journey start near the airport and had real steps. The landing stage at the Lodge, by comparison, was just rocks, the steps having been lost to some unknown cause. The rainy season hadn't started but the meandering nature of the river wouldn't suggest rapid flow, perhaps it floods the entire area, or really big logs go drifting downstream. I'll have to go back to find out. Here we are arriving, the soil is very thin, (I'm told it's because there are no earthworms), so a boardwalk protects the soil from erosion when dry, In the wet season the mud is very sticky and it would be hard going. You hear of fragile environments, but it never occurred to me that the jungle would be so thin, the fertile bit is just a centimetre thick. The huge trees stand for one reason only, there haven't been any strong winds in a while. There are a few with deep tap roots, but most, rather like many Scottish trees, are shallow, like wide plates. Mum's shoes are a bit pink, the soldier ants loved them. The ants we met were probably nothing special, but so much more aggressive than the ones at home that they get a special mention. One actually managed to bite me an hour after I pulled it's head off, though I suppose it might have felt a bit aggrieved. Here's our first sight of Puerto Maldonado rainforest Lodge. It is mostly made of wood and has rather steeper pitched roofs than I had expected, it might get rid of the heat more easily in the dry season, or it might be because the roofing material is rather thin and not very waterproof, this way the water runs off easier. The large grassy area in front is most important as all young South American Males need to play football regularly or they get fractious. It burns off a fair bit of energy and, involves a lot of emotional gesticulation, but the score is usually disputed. The native Peruvian doesn't seem to do much dozing in the sun. I think that was one of the more noticeable characteristics of both the Peruvian and Ecuadorian, they like to be doing something. The huts were excellent and the beds comfortable, we were pleased to find flush toilets, although we didn't think too hard about the disposal system, I suppose there must have been an ecologically sound method. Cooling, especially for beer, was provided by blocks of ice from the local town (at least fifteen kilometers away) and cooking was largely by gas. The only electricity was in the central octagonal building. Actually, now I look at it, it was six sided, is that septagonal or sextagonal? I should have kept at the Latin a bit longer. That was solar powered. The huts were candle lit, and fortunately none of the digital cameras ran out of power, or at least nobody admitted to it. When we went out on a nightwalk in the jungle, headmounted LED torches performed best, and they run for a long time. As you'll have seen on the aircraft picture at the top, the Lodge is surrounded by rainforest, so you can't see far at ground level, and most of the communication is done by sound, much louder than I expected. Flying is difficult in a dark forest, so the birds are brightly coloured and are out in the daylight but much of the wildlife stays hidden during the day (6am to 6pm) and comes out at night. Here's a couple of cute critters for going AAAAH or aaaaah at. We had recovered somewhat from the effects of altitude and jetlag by now, but the tendency was to sit and read, and even indulge in a cold beer, when possible because of the forced marches (at what must have been 110% humidity). The guides considered them to be required exercise to keep the gringos busy and out of trouble. In reality, any incipient grumbling was forgotten the moment we set off because of all the wildlife that popped into, and scuttled out of, view, or shouted from behind trees, even at six in the morning. However, there were a few breaks, and here are some of us relaxing and waiting for the dinner gong. The food was excellent and so healthy that we just had to have another beer (except possibly at breakfast) to prevent our bodies from going into shock at all this fresh fruit and organic vegetables. From the Lodge we went out on foot or boat by day and night to various destinations in the area including a local hotspot for parrots, a riverside hide, and the haunts of several particular creatures, which, presumably by accident, included the soldier ants and more deliberately:- Ugly Birds, locusts, frogs, beetles stick insects, monkeys, butterflys, and more spiders. And trees that walk, I kid you not.
Riverside Jungle Accommodation