Day one at Los Amigos Biological Field Station (CICRA)

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Yesterday we left Puerto Maldonado and climbed into an oversized canoe that had a motor attached to the back of it and traveled up-river about six hours to the Los Amigos Biological Field Station (CICRA). Along the way we saw several cayman, parrots, toucans, herons, and a cow!  It was a really pleasant ride, I think most of us fell asleep for at least a portion of the trip. We spent the rest of yesterday settling in, meeting some of the people here, and going over the course outline. It is so amazing here! I don’t really know how to explain it but this place is just exactly what I expected it to be only the food is better and the showers are much, much colder.

Everyone here is very nice. Some of the researchers we’ve met are covered in black markings… apparently there is a particular plant here and if you break it open and draw on yourself with the clear liquid inside it will turn black after a couple of days. It looks kind of like a black henna tattoo and lasts for a couple of weeks. So they all decided to draw on each other with it. I guess that’s what you do for fun after a couple of weeks in the jungle. 😉

We went into the jungle for the first time today. The trail system is very extensive, we hiked for 5 hours non-stop this morning on trails that were pretty challenging. I slid a bit down a muddy bank (the first fall of many, I’m sure), almost stepped on a snake, my boot was about 1/8 of an inch away from it (note to self: watch where you step), and learned that brazil nuts come out of a shell about the size of a small coconut.

The highlight of the morning for me was spotting two bats peeking out of a termite mound on a tree. They just popped their heads out and looked at us for a few minutes before going back in. It was so awesome! We also were able to see some Saddleback Tamarins (monkeys) as they crossed overhead on their way to their next meal! They were so small and incredibly fast. I can’t wait to find more of them. Today I realized that monkeys are not as easy to find in the jungle as I thought… We will try again tomorrow. Hopefully we will see some Caupuchins soon.

Traveling up the Rio de Madre de Dios.

The group.

Super awesome bats climbing out to say hello.

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3 responses »

  1. What a great start to your adventure! I’m super jealous you’re hanging in the rainforest. We didn’t get a chance to go when we were in Peru. I’m digging all the wildlife you’re getting to see. Make sure you take some snake pictures for me… dart frogs too! Any idea what kind of snake you almost stepped on? Hopefully it wasn’t the type that would have ended your trip really quick! Keep up the reports and be safe.

    • You are going to love it! Advice: Bring lots of snacks (cliff bars and dried fruit are gold) and a multi-outlet plug (outlets are limited). Download a wide variety of research articles before you go, the internet connection stinks. I would also print several out. You only have power for a couple of hours a night and computers die fast. Feel free to message me if you have any questions! I’m on the Facebook group.

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