6 Common Misconceptions About the Amazon

Original article written  By Danielle Krautmann – Peru This Week on 16 Feb 2012

  1. It’s easy to see animals in their natural environment: Many people travel to Tambopata with expectations of seeing jaguars, anacondas and giant otter swimming around their boat. The truth is that the Amazon is a habitat, not a zoo.  Animals often disguise themselves for protection from predators. In order to spot wildlife, you need to be very quiet and use each of your senses. The scent of a peccary might be what leads you to a pack of them. Listen to leaves rustling in the tress and you may just see a monkey. If you’re lucky you may see some colorful birds, such as Macaws eating clay along the bank of the Tambopata River.

  2. The Amazon is dangerous: While the Amazon is filled with amazing creatures such as jaguars, anacondas, and caiman, they have little interest in human contact. They prefer their natural diet. Most snakes and spiders in the Amazon are not venomous. They are afraid of humans so when they see them coming, they go in the opposite direction. Guests who visit the Amazon rarely encounter dangerous animals because they stay on well maintained trails.
  3. The Amazon is unbearably uncomfortable: Some people think of the Amazon as deathly hot, humid and filled with mosquitos. While the Amazon is indeed humid during the rain season, the dry season can offer a pleasurable climate. Yes, it’s hot in the sun, but the canopy provides a comfortable shade year-round. The majority of mosquito bites can be avoided by wearing tightly-woven long-sleeved clothing.
  4. It is only for expeditionaries: Tambopata, Peru offers a variety of activities and experiences for people wanting to visit the Amazon.  While some lodges offer adventure tours, most have well-maintained trails for mild jungle walks. Many accommodations provide a hammock and have yoga classes and spa activities such as massages or facials.  While some visitors prefer to climb trees, kayak or bush-wack through the forest, for others the Amazon can be a great place to relax and rejuvenate.
  5. The natives are armed with bows and arrows: Some uncontacted tribes still exist in the Amazon. They are not aggressive and prefer to stay away from other civilizations. However most native people in the Amazon live much like you and me. The indigenous people in Tambopata have a strong appreciation for and dependence on the forest for their livelihood. While they recognize their ancestry and engage in traditional customs, they wear modern clothing, go to school and participate in business.
  6. The Amazon is like any other rainforest: The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world. It covers roughly 40% of the South American continent and is in part of eight countries. It is often referred to as the “capital of biodiversity” due to its incredible variety of plant and animal species. It is the ancestral home to around one million indigenous people who can be divided into around 400 tribes. The Amazon has an abundance of cultural traditions, natural properties, medicinal uses, and animal life than cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Photos by Mr Langston (April 2015)                                                                                                                                                                                              Tambopata – Sandoval Lake Lodge 3 days & 2  nights program
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My Inca Trail Porter : My Heroe & My Friend

Everybody is excited when planning a trip to Peru and specially if they are hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

All the information is about the places to visit and how to avoid altitude sickness or soroche. Porters are never mentioned and they are the kings of the trail.

Last week, some clients  met Fortunato, a 54-year old porter. He was one of 8 porters and 2 chefs that carried all the gear on their backs during the 4 days they walked in the Inca trail until reaching Machu PIcchu, in this opportunity, for the 3 persons  family.

I quote Mrs Derrick´s words “They are the heroes! They literally run up and down the trail at a wicked pace most of them with sandals or Converse tennis shoes WITH up to 13.5 pounds .”

Well, if you think they carry only this….. you dont know that those 13.5 pund is only the clients belongings. You need to add 5 to 6 pounds for the sleeping bags ….. and dont forget they also help carrying the the crew belonging and the camping gear(consisting of tents,  toilet, kitchen provisions, stove, chairs, etc – as NOTHING is left behind at the camp site – not even trash as there are no trash cans). In total they carry 50 to 55 pounds maximum on their backs – This is regulated by the government and monitored on the trail so as not to overload the porters .

While you enjoy the walk some are running to get  the spot for lunch and others continue their way to campsite so set up tents so that when you arrive you have you tent ready to be used.

We reccommend to  “spend time with your porters.  They have some amazing stories to tell.”   The ideal is to at least know how to thank them for the amazing job they do in their native language as you will not have to much time to interact as they are running ahead of you.

Try and learn a few words of Quechua – see glossary below
Hello = Rimaykullaykil
Hi = Napaykullayki
Good day = Allin p’unchay
Goodbye = Tupananchis-kama
Bye = Ratukama
Yes = Arí
No = Manan
Please = Allichu
Thank you = Sulpayki
You’re welcome = Imamanta
Excuse me = Dispinsayuway
Sorry = Pampachayuway

You will love their smile when they realize you are speaking their language to thank them for their work.

Treat them with respect. They are noy just working, they are making the  “ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE” happen!!!!

© Carmen Maria GUEVARA PROTZEL
Photo by Marci Derrick