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
Heath River WIldlife Center  – 4 days & 3 nights program
Manu – 7 days & 6 nights program
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Discover Cabo Blanco, Piura, Mancora and its surroundings

Last week article Seduced by Cabo Blanco was about Hemingway and his experience at Cabo Blanco.

Today I will share with you some information on how to reach Cabo Blanco,, Piura and Mancora 

How to get to Mancora

You can only get directly to Mancora and/or beaches nearby by road, through the Northern Pan-American Highway. Several bus companies from Lima, Tumbes, Piura, Guayaquil (Ecuador) and other cities of Peru  get to Mancora. As well as taxis and other transport services from airports near Mancora.

There are various routes to get to Mancora. The fastest way to get to Mancora and/or nearby beaches is to take a flight (of approximately two hours) from Lima, capital city of Peru, 1165 km south of Mancora, to the city of Piura.

From there to reach Mancora and/or nearby beaches, take some land transport  like rental vehicle, private taxi, shared minivan, interprovincial bus ;trip lasts between two and three hours approx.

Lan Airlines and Taca Airlines currently offers daily flights from Lima to Piura

Once you arrive in Piura, there are various ways to reach Mancora.  These are:

  • Rented vehicles
  • Private Taxi
  • Shared Van or minivan
  • Interprovincial bus

Car rental:
There are car rental services in Piura . Just ask for the service ahead of time.

Private taxi:
Direct service from the Piura airport to the resort you will stay in the city. Prices vary according to the service. We recommend consulting with us and not hire a street service.

Shared Van or minivan:
Directly from the airport, these van or minivans have capacity for approximately 8 passengers. We recommend consulting with us and not hire a street service.

Buses :
The second and most recommended (and economic) option to get to Mancora from Lima or another city in Peru is taking a direct bus to Mancora or nearby beaches.
There are bus companies that offer a very good service and although from Lima it is a long journey (1165 km, 16 hrs on bus), it is not as terrible as it sounds; if you choose correctly the bus company and its different services. This option is the most used by tourists from Lima.

The General characteristics of the best Lima – Máncora bus routes are:

  • They depart from quiet residential districts, (ABC1) in Lima, such as the neighborhood of San Isidro.
  • They take 16 hrs approximately. Usually buses depart in the afternoon from Lima, arriving in the early morning of the following day in Mancora.
  • Do not make stops along the way, except for the switching of drivers.
  • Two floor buses, where the first floor is usually Executive class (with more spacious and wide reclining seats) and the second floor is Economy class with good reclining seats (some are semi bed (reclines up to 145°).
  • They include in their services on board dinner and breakfast.
  • Air conditioning system, two bathrooms, TV with DVD.
  • The price of this service is between US $ 50.00 to US $ 70.00 *, for one way tickets.
  • Some buses offer Wi-Fi (wireless Internet for laptops and notebooks) for a big part of the journey.

* Reference prices. Bus companies usually raise their prices in high season; dates close to 28 July (Peruvian independence festivities) New Year, local festivities and long weekends.

 Economic buses:
There are buses Lima – Mancora, some of which stop at many places along the highway. The journey takes much more time than the above mentioned buses. Some of these buses leave from the popular “Fiori” bus station in Lima.

From other cities in Peru:
From the rest of Peru (Trujillo, Chiclayo, Chimbote, Tarapoto, etc.), it would be more appropriate to take a bus to Piura (or Tumbes) and from that point take any direct service to Mancora or nearby beaches. If you come from Cusco or cities south of Lima (coast, mountains or jungle), you must first get to Lima and depending on the arrival time you can catch an afternoon bus or spend a night in Lima

I can not end this blog without telling you that Inkaterra has already recovered “Mrs Texas”, the famous boat and now is at La Punta, Callao waiting to return to Cabo Blanco Fishing Club by the end of 2016 for the 2017 Summer Season that they are planning to have ready the hotel and opened to public.

© Carmen Maria GUEVARA PROTZEL
Photos by Roberto Carlos CASTRO

Seduced by Cabo Blanco in Northern #Peru

Being an avid reader is one of my hobbies among many others I have.

I have been lucky to come across some books that Hemingway wrote.

(1929) A Farewell to Arms
(1937) To Have and Have Not
(1940) For Whom the Bell Tolls
(1970) Islands in the Stream
(1986) The Garden of Eden

But I have not yet read all the others……

(1926) The Torrents of Spring
(1926) The Sun Also Rises
(1950) Across the River and into the Trees
(1952) The Old Man and the Sea
(1999) True at First Light

Suddenly, while reading some of the cover pages of the books yet to read   I realized one of them was about the time he spent in Cuba but when they made the movie they choose Cabo Blanco, #Peru, (Mithical beach: Sea and waves stories) (1952) The Old Man and the Sea,

Well, then I began to read some more about the place that seduced Hemingway and  about the fishing possibilities of its Black Marlin and the Blue Fin Tuna Fish.

Located on the 1137 km of the North Pan-American Highway is just 30 kms south from Mancora, Cabo Blanco is a fishing village in northwestern #Peru, 3 km northwest from El Alto, Talara, Piura. It was famous in the past among big-game fishermen and today is a noted surf break. The village takes its name from the light colors of the nearby mountains.

Cabo Blanco was a private Fishing Club for a reduced group of Millionaires interested in one thing only: the ‘granders’ or 1000 pound marlin which congregated in so-called Marlin Boulevard only a few miles off the Cabo at the spot where the cold Humboldt Current meets the warm Ecuadorian Current.

The Cabo Blanco Fishing Club, was a small luxurious and modernistic establishment (only 10 rooms) for members and their guests. It was built on land leased from the Lobitos Oil Company.

At that time it was hard to get there. After a 10 hours flight from Miami with several stops you needed to spend around 3 hours by a bone-rattling drive from Talara.

In the 1952 season an astounding 17 granders were landed by a handful of fishermen, including the (still-standing) 1560 lb world record fish caught by Texan oilman, and true Cabo Blanco pioneer, Alfred Glassell.

In the 1950s , the fishing possibility at Cabo Blanco was unlike anything ever seen before or since: in any other place. Not only the fishwere bigger, but they were closer to the shore and they could be found easily, and caught without the need for trolling.

Cabo Blanco at the time (1956) had a special charm, but this  was not the reason that people was attracted to this spot. Everyone who came here was because of the marlin (and some huge bluefin tuna). It was also the relaxing place for the Hollywood A-listers, such as Marilyn Monroe, Lucía Bosé, Joe di Maggio, Gregory Peck, Paul Newman, Cantinflas, James Stewart, John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Rockefeller and the famous Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway was not a member of the club, but in April 1956 he only visited Cabo Blanco once, for 32 days. He came to work (part of the film version of “The Old Man and the Sea” was shot in Cabo Blanco.

He made himself spare time to fishblack marlin, swordfish, turbot, tuna and sailfish every day of his stay. He caught several huge fish but never a granders: his largest weighed in at 910 lbs. He also squezzed time to spend at the Bar club to enjoy drinking the best Bloody Marys he had ever tasted. He also enjoyed whisky, Pisco and Cabo Blanco Rum.

Besides thelife-long love affair with Cuba, Hemingway found in Cabo Blanco was also a “little affair” for him, He considered that Cabo Blanco was a lovely part of the world.

In 1979, Peruvian surfer Gordo Barreda discovered “the wave” when he visited the village to check the surf in the area. The wave is a hollow powerful left and is reckoned the “Peruvian Pipeline”, referring to the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii. Swell from Hawaii does in fact go on to reach Peru; in the 1990s the best way to get a surf forecast was to phone Hawaii and whatever swell they had would arrive about 5 days later.

The wave breaks over sand and rock, with the sand building up through summer and being washed away progressively by winter swells. The wave inspires a kind of fanaticism among surfers. Although there are only about 20 locals, crowds of surfers are drawn to the wave from Lima (700 kilometres south), and from around the world. With modern swell forecasts and the internet, it’s easy to know when swell is on the way, and the surfers once there all pack into a single tight takeoff zone, despite other waves elsewhere in the area.

It demands a certain level of experience so as not to end up crashed on the rocks. This wave is joined by another, at the southern end of the beach, whose name says it all: Panic Point. catalogued as “for experts only”. Waves forecast or Swell forecast and surf reports

Other activities are WindSurf, KiteSurf and Diving.

The encounter of two ocean currents, Humboldt and El Niño, occurs in front of Cabo Blanco. This factor turned it into a legendary sport fishing paradise. However, this blessing from nature has brought in the last years fishing practices that have devastated the sea. Now drastic measures are required to avoid worse damages against sea life.

The Peruvian president has signed a decree which greatly reduces the annual anchovies quota and bans commercial marlin fishing. The decree encourages catch and release marlin fishing, and initial signs are good that the big fish are returning.

Looking at what is left of this amazing place you can not imagine that this took place not so long ago.

Cabo Blanco became a legend since Ernest Hemingway’s visit. After almost 60 years, it goes in search of lost in time charm.

Nothing last forever a due several reasons  the big marlin had gone and the celebrities stopped coming and the club closed its doors ( a kind of Gatsby’s parties that stopped once he died) therefore you will need to stay either at Piura city or in a close by Beach Resort in Mancora.

© Carmen Maria GUEVARA PROTZEL

Look for next week part 2 …Discover Cabo Blanco, Piura, Mancora  and its surroundings