This special place is bordered by two major rivers, the Marañon and the Ucayali, putting it literally on the edge of civilization. Our ship “anchored” as we do on the river (you tie up to a sturdy tree), and just across from us we could see an oil drilling site. The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve is a stronghold for the wildlife of the upper Amazon. We had exceptional views of that wildlife, from jabiru wood storks to three-toed sloths and an anaconda that had just eaten another resident, a spectacled caiman. How fortunate that someone had the foresight to set aside this wild place so that others could enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of an intact tropical rainforest.
On our last full day exploring the Upper Amazon, the namesake of this area made its presence felt with lots of rain in the rainforest. Sheets of rain fell last night, obliterating the view of the shore across the river less than a mile away. It’s this rain that feeds the tributary rivers and is such a critical part of the rainforest cycle of life. Fortunately, it let up this morning, and we were able to do our walk in the protected forest area of Casual with an occasional drip from above. Our findings included the Goliath tarantula, a rosy-tailed boa, and a couple of poison dart frogs that looked like they were wearing colorful Freddy Mercury tights. The images tell the story of our forest findings and the community that calls this magnificent place home.