After a few days along the Ucayali River, this morning we explored the other side of the Pacaya Samiria Reserve in Peru. The Ucayali and Marañon Rivers are two of the three main tributaries of the majestic Amazon River. The Upper Amazon in Peru comprises 60% of the country; with 782,880 square kilometers, Peru has the second-largest portion of the Amazon Rainforest (after Brazil).

The Amazon is not only its amazing wildlife, but also the people that inhabit the riverbanks in small villages — like the one we are visiting this morning, called Amazonas. As soon as we put our feet on land, a few locals came to give us a warm welcome. They invited our guests to explore the village, to see their houses, to learn of their culture, traditions, food, and way of living. Our guests enjoyed this visit; the interaction with locals is an incredible way of learning and discovering. Around the little town are many kinds of birds and wildlife, and the artisan market is a great spot to see. They make multicolored handicrafts with local materials like fruit rinds, the straw of certain trees, and various seeds.

In the afternoon we visited Casual, a varzea forest that is a seasonal floodplain area. Here the trees are humongous — especially the ceiba tree, which is considered the tallest one. It is home to many types of birds, insects, monkeys, and epiphyte plants. Walking further into the jungle, the symphony of hundreds of sounds was simply magical. Our intrepid guides found many species of medicinal plants that the local people use to cure different illnesses and medical situations; here the pharmacy is the jungle!

At the end of this enriching experience, the rain poured and the winds blew for a few minutes; it added a special touch to our incredible journey.