If we cannot save the Amazon rainforest, we can give up all hope of keeping global warming to a level we can handle. The most important lung of our globe covers 5,5 million square kilometres spread over nine countries. As Ecuador happened to be one of them, we decided to take a look.
It was a small look into a small corner of the Amazon basin, it must be said. Neither ES nor DHH are strangers to the jungle, however. between us we have visited tropical forest areas in South America, Central America and Asia various times. ES once spent three weeks on a work assignment travelling the coasts and forests of southwestern Colombia. DHH, on one of his more adventurous journeys, spent a week on horseback in the jungles of northern Guatemala visiting the hidden and mysterious Maya city of El Mirador.
Compared to trips like those, our five days at the Liana Lodge on the Rio Arajuno in central Ecuador was a walk in the park. Still, it renewed our feelings for the enormous eco system that keeps the world from suffocating. The Amazon is home to several million species of animals, insects, birds and plants, many of which can be found nowhere else. And even though we were far from the big river itself, we had a direct line. Our lodge was only a few hundred meters from where the Arajuno joins the Rio Napo, and the Napo goes straight into the Amazon River near Iquitos, Peru, some 700 kilometres to the south east.
We were picked up in a lodge lancha some 50 kilometres from the town of Tena, and taken to a nice little lodge on the eastern river bank. A double room cost 200 USD per night, but it included all the meals and excursions. The best way of experiencing a tropical forest is by doing walks with local guides, but as ES’ boots are not made for long distance walking anymore, we preferred some easier options. One of them is a local zoo and animal rescue centre, the amaZoonica, set up in cooperation with the lodge with the purpose of rescuing animals from the thriving pet-industry. Birds, snakes, monkeys, turtles and reptiles are being held and traded illegally, very often with the lucrative Chinese market as an intended end station. Latin American corruption helps oil the wheels of the trade, but many animals are also recaptured. The lucky ones end up in rehabilitation centres like this one. Those who can be returned to the wild are set free, and those who can’t are taken care of for the rest of their lives.
Another neighbour to the lodge is the Anaconda Island, with a name more frightening than the place really is. The island is a green spot on a mud bank in the middle of the Napo, very much at the mercy of the moods of the river. On occasions it gets totally flooded. The anacondas are long gone, the only one we came across was kept at the zoo some miles away. We did meet up with some parrots and river caimans, however. We also met the local farmers, people who live from a combination of farming the land and utilizing the natural flora. As visiting tourists, we are also part of their regular daily life. We are treated to a delicious fruit- and cocoa-dish, produced on the spot and included in the tour the lodge gives us.
If you want to dig deep into the jungle – literally speaking – there are many more daring adventures on the map than this one. If all you want is a small taste, then this is a very nice one. You get to experience the sounds and the smells and heat and the moist of the tropical forest, and you get a glimpse of a world that is very far away from the urban civilisation that ES and DHH and their friends spend their lives in. But do not just go for a couple of nights! Take a few days, and let it sink in what a marvellous place the rainforest of the Amazon actually is!
One thought on “Forest Green Rovers”
Those shots of the caiman are ominous looking. I think I would tend to Not be swinging on a rope into the river. What a great adventure your having my friends.