Today we are far away in the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve. This place is full of wildlife, and it is considered the jewel of the crown. There are no people living here, just some stations with park rangers. The variety of animals you can see in a few hours along the Pacaya River is just astonishing. We visited the reserve early in the morning when the wildlife is very active. Our galley team did an excellent job preparing food so we could enjoy breakfast in the jungle. We put together our three skiffs to form a makeshift restaurant.
We explored the river. At the beginning, we spotted hundreds of snowy egrets and cattle egrets along the riverbank. We observed cormorants fishing for catfish, and then came the big surprise! One of our fearless guides spotted an anaconda in a shallow part of the river. This huge snake had caught a juvenile caiman. Anacondas are constrictors snakes, and it was strangling its prey. It was the kind of “wild action moment” that you see in documentaries. The story ended in favor of the caiman; in a careless second, the caiman escaped while the hunter disappeared under the water. The morning was spectacular. Storks, jabirus, horned screamers, blue-and-yellow macaws, eagles, and herons were flying everywhere. In the canopy, we saw howler, capuchin, and squirrel monkeys as they jumped from branch to branch. We spotted more surprises: a few river otters swimming in the river and many grey and pink dolphins. When you are surrounded by such a variety of wildlife, you feel like you are in the movie Avatar at certain moments.
After exploring the Pacaya, we motored for a while to reach the Dorado River a few hours later. We were ready to explore this area for part of the afternoon and the beginning of the night. Many animals finish their journeys at around 6:00 p.m. Just a few minutes later, the nocturnal wildlife starts working.
Spectacled caimans, capybaras, bats, owls, etc. are part of the nocturnal wildlife found in the jungle as soon as the sun goes down. Our guides stopped the skiffs in the middle of the river, and the boat drivers turned off the engines. We stayed quiet and sat in silence for five minutes to enjoy the symphony of the jungle. The experience is just amazing. You can hear thousands of sounds coming from all directions. Some of the sounds are loud and others very high pitched. You can even hear insects flying around your head. What an impressive moment!
We finished our day very happy and exhausted but very pleased. Today was amazing!