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Old 02-05-2009, 06:21 PM
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Default My Trip to Peru

In August 2008, my wife and I went to Peru for our honeymoon. We spent three weeks there, 10 days of which was spent in the Iquitos region.

Of course, we explored the rainforest. We traveled up the Nanay River (a tributary of the Amazon where it forms right at Iquitos) with a company called Dawn on the Amazon (Amazon Tours and Cruises With Dawn on the Amazon).

I cannot recommend this company enough. Our trip was perfect in every way. We explored rugged, remote jungle, but the boat was beautiful and comfortable. Its shallow draft allowed it to beach on the bank of the river every evening. We set our own agenda every day that could include fishing, swimming, hiking (read: frog hunting), wildlife viewing, sunbathing, etc. At night we could simply lounge, or go on night hikes and/or nighttime boat expeditions, which were awesome. The bats at night were great to watch, and the nighttime chorus of frogs and insects was magical.

The people on board were incredibly friendly, and we were treated like royalty. The food was beyond superb, truly amazing, and there was a near-infinite quantity of it. Every day - every day! - we had a DIFFERENT type of fruit juice, most of which I'd never heard of, all of which were absolutely delicious.

The wildlife viewing was amazing. Among hundreds of other animals, we saw: sloths, river dolphins, multiple species of monkey, two species of macaw, several toucan species, swallow-tailed kites and multiple other birds of prey, a multitude of parrots, and a dazzling array of insects, amphibians and reptiles. We saw vastly more than we could photograph well, and I've only included a few of the photos.

For amphibians, we saw 5-6 treefrog species which I didn't get photos of, goliath frogs, an array of bufonids, and we saw reticulatus and Ameerga pictus. I tried to find amazonicus as I believe they were the third dendrobatid in this habitat, but to no avail. Per the natives they are around but we just didn't happen upon them.

Anyway, some pictures...

Here's the boat we went on. Bill (the owner of the company) built it himself. It's an absolute work of art.


All of the boat is made of gorgeous dark wood (I think it's purple heart but I forget) and carved exquisitely. This is a pootoo


My wife enjoying a typical morning breakfast. We had a spread like this literally every meal, including the fruit plate. It was amazing.


The boat beached for the afternoon. The Nanay River is known for these white sand beaches which could be found at virtually every oxbow bend in the river. They were deserted an pristine. The swimming was fantastic.


Typical lunch (the biggest meal of the day). The chef on this boat was a magician. Everything was delicious. This is a piece of pork, I think. We ate exclusively native Peruvian food.


My wife and me looking for pink dolphins on the river. We saw many, but they don't photograph well because they barely break the surface.


A view of the riverbank as we head upstream.


Into the woods we go. A native from a village nearby mentioned that there were "lots of little frogs with red backs" nearby. He piqued my curiosity...


My first (of many) wild-caught reticulatus! An absolute gem of a frog.


We found them in the leaf litter (of course). Place was hot and humid as hell. Pretty dark. Leaf litter was 6" deep in places.


Typical reticulatus habitat. The substrate here beneath the leaf litter was actually white sand. It's nutrient-poor so the trees here actually don't grow that huge.


There were some wild insects too.


Lots of these bromeliads on the ground. I think it's a Neoregelia. Saw tadpoles in some of them.


One of the trails we took through the woods


The insect life was incredible. We saw many stickbugs.


Bromeliads crowded together anywhere fallen trees let sunlight in.


The canonical leaf-cutter ant. Saw lots of these. The literal highways they create are amazing. I followed one trail of ants that was about 6" wide (full of ants) that stretched for well over 100 yards from a giant ground nest to a harvest site.


This was a neat plant, all over the lower tree trunks. I have a ficus species which looks identical, but I'm not sure what this is.


Flowers everywhere...



A little farther upstream and a couple of miles away from the riverbed. Here the soil improved and trees started to get massive, with giant buttresses.


There were retics here too.


Lots of them!


A couple views up into the canopy...


...and to show the thickness of the growth in places.


Sloth


Squirrel monkey


This picture really doesn't do justice to how towering and how thick the canopy was. It seemed in places that a given tree was host to many dozens of species of epiphytes.


I'm pretty sure this is Ameerga pictus. After we saw it we spent about half an hour poking around in the leaf litter to catch it. I had it in my hands literally five times and somehow I just couldn't get a grip! We found these in pretty much the same location as the reticulatus. They seemed to like being near very small creeks.



We did lots of fishing!


Sunset on the river.


If anyone is looking to go to Peru I'd be happy to provide more info. I strongly recommend Dawn on the Amazon, the trip was truly amazing.
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:27 PM
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Default Re: My Trip to Peru

looks like you had a great trip, love the food, and the frogs too. tahnks for sharing.
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:37 PM
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Wow that looks like a great time!! Congrats to the two of you!
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:42 PM
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Default Re: My Trip to Peru

The "neat plant" looks like a Marcgravia species. Do you have a closer shot? How was the ceviche
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:44 PM
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Wow...I really want to go there now.
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:10 PM
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Default Re: My Trip to Peru

Sounds and LOOKS like an awesome trip! Thanks for sharing! It funny to see the habitat - definitely nothing like what many people set up for them - looks more like the woods behind my house . . . haha!
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: My Trip to Peru

Yeah really awesome pics, so they were totally terrestrial huh? How did your fingers feel after holding them, how toxic were they?
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:24 PM
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Default Re: My Trip to Peru

WOW! It is one of my dreams to take a trip like this. I PM'ed you my email, could you send me some info.

Thanks,
Dan
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: My Trip to Peru

Fantastic. I'm totally jealous. Great pics.
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:03 PM
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Congratulations!
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:18 PM
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Default Re: My Trip to Peru

Thanks for sharing!

jealous...jealous...jealous
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:29 PM
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Yes, Thank you...I felt like I just had a mini vacation myself, when I am supposed to be at work

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Old 02-05-2009, 10:47 PM
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The place just gets in your head and you can't stay away. I'll be there twice a year when I have the means, if not more.
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ChrisK View Post
Yeah really awesome pics, so they were totally terrestrial huh? How did your fingers feel after holding them, how toxic were they?
Yes, we never saw one off of the ground.

Fingers felt fine. I rinsed them in some water but I don't think retics are very toxic at all in the wild, the natives handle them with impunity.
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:38 PM
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Default Re: My Trip to Peru

Thanks for sharing. Looks like a good time, but sure about the heat.
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:06 AM
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Default Re: My Trip to Peru

Great photos. Thanks for sharing them. I love the pictures of the food!! I am always fascinated by foods from different parts of the world. Awesome!

The first bromeliad wouldn't be a Neoregelia. This is b/c you were in Peru (they come from Brazil) and b/c it was growing on the ground (they are epiphytes). I am not exactly sure WHAT it was but it looks like a Canistropsis sp. or a Guzmania sp. There are some Guzmania that grow terrestrially.

The 2nd bromeliad photo looked like some sort of Aechmea but hard to be sure for me b/c I'm not super familiar with them based on foliage alone. If it had flowers it may have been easier to tell.

The creeper plant could have been a number of things. There are thousands of plants that grow like that. One thing for sure is that it was pretty sweet looking!

Thanks again for sharing.
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Old 02-06-2009, 01:55 AM
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Thanks for sharing. Now I really can't wait to get down there.
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:09 AM
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Default Re: My Trip to Peru

Wow! Is your wife into frogs too? I would love to take a honeymoon like that, but not too sure Todd would think of it as a honeymoon....He would be like "I think this is all about the frogs, not us!

I love the idea of being on the boat tour. Was it just you 2 and a small crew?? I know you mentioned the owner and the chef.

Also, did you plan out some of the tours before you went there, or did things just fall into place once you were there???

Thanks for sharing!

Crystal
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:53 AM
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Default Re: My Trip to Peru

everybody keep these trip pics coming! i love them!
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:30 AM
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Default Re: My Trip to Peru

very cool. I went to peru back in 2000 but i didnt get to see any frogs. still amazing though. I stayed at the yacamama lodge, a 2 hour boat ride from iquitos. the best part is after dark and listening to all the sounds, it's louder than the city.
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:41 AM
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Im soooo jealous. Great pics
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:56 AM
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WOW... very COOL trip... thanks for posting pics. I am also curious about what chuempfner asked... was it just you and your wife on a private boat tour or were there a other people?
Anyway, looks amazing. I will PM you for details, contact info when I get a moment. Congrats to you and your wife- awesome honeymoon!
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:31 AM
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Default Re: My Trip to Peru

Man!!! just to look at those pics makes me think about Boliva (where I'm from) and some trips I wanted to do before I moved to the US, thank's for sharing
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:28 AM
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That is awesome! about how much did that trip cost you?
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Old 02-07-2009, 04:58 AM
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I was really interested to know what the first pictured bromeliad was b/c I had never seen it before. I contacted a world renowned bromeliad expert, Harry Luther of Selby Botanical Gardens. He said that this bromeliad, "Appears to be Aechmea nidularioides..."

I have to say, I was shocked b/c I had no clue any Aechmea grew terrestrially. Wow!

Thanks again for sharing the pictures. ESPECIALLY the ones of the plants...
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:22 PM
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Congrats Nate! Looks like you 2 had a great time. I hope I can take a trip like that some day.

Brent
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:33 PM
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Antone, thanks for the info on the plants. I meant to label the first terrestrial bromeliad as Guzmania but had Neoregelia on the brain apparently. Either way apparently both would have been wrong! Good to know the species. I'm a much better zoologist than botanist, I'm afraid...

As for the logistics questions people asked, it actually did end up being just my wife and me, along with our boat captain/guide, a cook, and a couple of crew - all of whom were amazingly fun and helpful people. When you book a trip with this company, you and your party secure the dates. It is then the prerogative of Bill (owner of Dawn on the Amazon) to try and get additional people (total of 8 or 10 I think) to round out the trip. He makes all of his money on the 3rd+ people. However, if no one else happens to want your dates (as happened with us fortuitously) or if your party is as large as the boat capacity, it's all yours! So it ended up just being us, and we were treated like absolute royalty.

We had planned the trip out before we left but you can just show up and knock on the door of this place (in Iquitos) and go out with them providing they have free dates. The specifics of what's done once you're aboard is decided on a day-to-day basis.

I really can't say enough about how awesome this company was to work with. You'd be nuts to explore the lowland Peruvian Amazon rainforest with any other company (I get nothing for these compliments btw). It was just a fantastic way to visit the rainforest.
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by npaull View Post
The food was beyond superb, truly amazing, and there was a near-infinite quantity of it. Every day - every day! - we had a DIFFERENT type of fruit juice, most of which I'd never heard of, all of which were absolutely delicious..

Yeah one thing I will never forget is eating all kinds on amazing interesting new foods and all the new juices were amazing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by npaull View Post
reticulatus habitat. The substrate here beneath the leaf litter was actually white sand. It's nutrient-poor so the trees here actually don't grow that huge.

.

This was probably near the same population that I saw because they were also located in an area that was also "white sands"
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:13 PM
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Great thread! I'm heading to Peru in October and this was an awesome read. Thanks for all the photos!

I'll be sure to take lots of pics of my own and toss 'em up when I get back.
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