Today we woke up to our second full day of exploring the Peruvian Amazon under a light rain which stopped just before we boarded our skiffs shortly after breakfast. We headed towards a beautiful private reserve located along the northern shore of the Marañón River known as the Amazon Natural Park, looking forward to a great morning of hiking and learning. Amazon Natural Park has been privately-protected for more than a couple of decades and it shows: huge trees and luxuriant tropical vegetation covers it and are home to a great number of creatures. But in order to reach the hiking trail we needed to cross a lake, which we did using a few wooden canoes and paddling our way in. The lake is also a fish farm where they raise several fish species, including peacock bass, tambaqui, and the giant arapaima. We saw the beautiful morpho butterflies flying around and sticking out of the green background with their electric-blue color; large groups of white-winged parakeets, pairs of orange-cheeked parrots and many other birds entertained us along the way.
Once on the trail we hiked a couple of miles through the rainforest and learned from our naturalists about many of the notorious plants that people have been using in one way or another over centuries. We met such important species like the rubber tree, whose sap was once the main product harvested in the Amazon and which brought immense wealth to Iquitos and Manaus during the late 1800s. We saw the endless lines of leaf-cutter ants busily carrying pieces of leaves to their holes and wild bee hives. Many other interesting insects like praying mantis, moths and grasshoppers were frequently discovered. Some of us also had the chance to watch a few monkey species, including the saddleback tamarin and the squirrel monkey. But one of the highlights of the Amazon Natural Park is a mid-canopy walk through a series of suspended bridges; we all enjoyed the different perspective and a bird's view of the rainforest below!
During the afternoon we went back to the southern shore of the Marañón River and explored of the small tributaries known as Nauta Caño in the Pacaya-Samiria Nature Reserve. Some did so by kayaking while the rest used the skiffs, but all enjoyed great wildlife sightings of birds, monkeys, and sloths before heading back to our luxurious floating home Delfín II after having had another excellent day exploring the Peruvian Amazon.