Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field


  • San Jose de Paranupura /Yarapa Caño

    Our last full day of exploration of the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve in the Upper Amazon in Peru was filled with all the required ingredients that have made this expedition so successful. We have had great animal sightings, intercultural experiences with the local inhabitants of the area, wonderful company and excellent meals with regional flavors.

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  • Pacaya River and Dorado trail.

    Today we explored a very special area, the Pacaya River. Located deep in the heart of the Pacaya-Samiria Nature Reserve, the Pacaya is a marvelous and truly wild place. In order to take full advantage of this opportunity, we boarded our skiffs shortly after sunrise and headed out, looking for adventure. This is also the realm of the lowland flooded forest, and the scenery around us was a bit more open than the rainforest of previous days. Besides many familiar faces, we also had a great time finding and watching numerous new species that we hadn’t seen before. One of the most notorious was the unique-looking hoatzin, a true Amazonian icon. Well known for its striking resemblance to the prehistoric feathered reptile Archaeopteryx -no relationship, though- as a young chick, they have a clawed thumb. Hoatzin is one of those species that everyone should see in the wild at least once in their lifetime. It is also a very pretty bird, and today we had the pleasure of finding big groups of them. We saw numerous other interesting bird species like the muscovy duck, which is one of the few animals domesticated in the Americas in pre-Columbian times, and the horned screamer, which possesses a long spur on each wing to defend its nest from predators. Neotropical cormorants, anhingas and all kinds of herons and egrets were seen flying around. But the prize to the noisiest birds went to the macaws, of which we saw several species including the chestnut-fronted, the scarlet and the blue and yellow. Their abundance here in the Pacaya River is a sure sign of how wild this place is, as their numbers have diminished everywhere else due to poaching for the pet trade. Another species that is also an indicator of the well-being of the environment is the black caiman. This largest of the caimans, capable of reaching up to 18 ft. in length, is found nowadays only in the least disturbed areas and today we had the opportunity to see many of them, including some that we estimated to be 9 and 12 ft. long. We all opted to stay on board the skiff, of course!

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  • Belluda Caño & El Dorado River

    A full day of our exploration of the Pacaya Samiria Reserve in the Upper Amazon of Peru took us to two remote locations, Belluda Caño in the morning and El Dorado River in the afternoon.  

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  • San Francisco Village & Clavero Lake

    Today we had a very interesting morning visiting a small village along the easternmost portion of the Marañón River known as San Francisco. We arrived shortly after breakfast and walked around town using the concrete walkways that go throughout the community. We learned about the different plant species that they grow in the public areas and in small orchards around the houses, like the conspicuous aguaje palm tree. Its shiny and scaly oval fruits, the size of ping-pong balls, are consumed by people throughout the region in many different ways; later we actually had a delicious dessert made with them at lunch. We met many of the villagers who happily showed us how they do many of their daily chores, like pounding the newly-harvested rice in a mahogany mortar to get rid of its peels or squeezing sugar canes at a manual wooden press to obtain the sweet juice that is used to make brown sugar. A group of women showed us how they get the fibers out of palm trees and how they use natural dyes to turn them green, red, orange, and many other colors to make handcrafts. Then we all gathered to listen to a some of the local inhabitants that have benefited from the social programs of MINGA PERÚ, a local organization that works throughout the Loreto region empowering women by showing them how to stand up for their rights, encourages and capacitates them to start productive projects to help their families’ economies. We heard testimonies from both women and men and learned more about life in the Amazon.

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  • Amazon Natural Park & Nauta Caño

    Today, on the second full day of our expedition on the remarkably bio-diverse Amazonia, we had an early visit to the Amazon Natural Park. The latter is a privately owned reserve still in almost pristine conditions with huge trees in a dense primary forest. We were greeted by noisy parakeets that flew over our heads. The adventure started by crossing a small lagoon on catamarans, then walked to meet a long suspension bridge. We had the joy of listening to our expert Delfin II naturalists talking about several plant species and about some fascinating aspects of the ecology of the rainforest of the Neotropics. Our naturalists spotted three different monkey species who are very well camouflaged: dusky titi monkeys, saddle-backed tamarins, and monk saki monkeys. The Amazon rainforest is one of the most incredible places for photography, but it can be very challenging, a lot of patience is required to tell a story with photographs.

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  • Casual and Yanayacu

    Today we had our first full day exploring the Peruvian Amazon. We started pretty early in order to take advantage of the best time of the day to look for wildlife and boarded our skiffs shortly after sunrise. We explored a small tributary of the Marañón River known as Pahuachiro and right there at the very beginning found an adult female brown-throated three-toed sloth. Our first sloth of the trip wasn't very active this morning, but thrilled us and was a good omen for many great sightings to come. In fact, we saw a lot of different bird species, including the largest kingfisher and the largest heron in the Amazon, the ringed and the cocoi, respectively. Another one of the five different kingfisher species present here regaled us with a wonderful moment as a male green kingfisher posed for our cameras at close range. Silver-beaked masked crimson and blue-gray tanagers, red-capped cardinals and scarlet-crowned barbets all seemed to compete with each other to see which species had the prettiest colors. All the while, a solitary capped heron watched from a distance. What a wonderful start!

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  • Supay River & San José de Paranapura

    After having sailed downriver last night, this morning we woke up at the entrance of the Supay River, not far from the confluence of the Ucayali and the Marañón Rivers. The Supay is a small tributary to the Ucayali, is located on the side opposite to the Pacaya-Samiria Nature Reserve and it is well known for its abundance of both wild-grown and cultivated camu-camu bushes. Camu-camu is a berry-like fruit that we have been enjoying all week long on board Delfín II in very refreshing juices and desserts. We explored the area by kayak and skiff and watched numerous birds and other creatures, including a large lineated woodpecker that posed for a long time hanging to a dead palm tree, a bare-necked fruitcrow, and a gorgeous adult male white-headed marsh tyrant. Other birds could be seen or heard all around and as always made the forest livelier. We also found a few mammals, including both adult male and female brown-throated three-toed sloths, the sexes easily differentiated by the presence of an orange-colored spot on the back of the males. But perhaps the most notorious sightings of the morning were those of two different groups of the world's smallest primate, the pygmy marmoset. Its really diminutive size made it difficult for us to find, but their fast movements and jumps betrayed their presence and we all had the chance to admire and marvel at this remarkable distant relative.

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  • Pacaya River

    Today I woke up in high spirits. I had the feeling that it was going to be an extraordinary day and I was not wrong! We had a wonderful exploration day today. After an earlier than usual breakfast, we went deep and far into the Pacaya River. This river is the farthest destination we will reach in our expedition this week. Our skiffs arrived at a large black water ox bow lake called Yanayacu Lake. We stopped there momentarily to stretch our legs and use the facilities. We continued with our exploration and we had great encounters with wildlife. All of us saw abundant wildlife today. herons, Neotropical cormorants, river turtles, hoatzins were seen everywhere.

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  • Yanallpa and Dorado River

    Today we enjoyed our first full day in the Ucayali River, the one bordering the southern portion of the Pacaya-Samiria Natural Reserve. We woke up in an area known as Yanallpa and boarded our skiffs pretty early in the morning to explore it. It is a gorgeous region with an abundance of tall trees and, perhaps more importantly, dead aguaje palms still standing. Those old palm tree trunks are really good nesting places for a number of members of the parrot family, and soon we found the golden prize of them all: the blue-and-gold macaw! We had the opportunity to watch a good number of those gorgeous -- and noisy! -- birds as they socialized before flying away deep into the forest looking for breakfast. We also had the chance to see a second, smaller macaw species in the same area, the red-bellied macaw. Small groups of them perched on top of dead trees and offered a very nice show for us to admire and photograph. Many other bird species were present too, and some of the more notorious sightings this morning included a group of black vultures feeding on a floating carcass, possibly a manatee, and a peregrine falcon feeding on a recently-captured yellow-rumped cacique.

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  • Amazonas Village & Clavero Lake

    Today in the morning, accompanied by a persistent misty rain, we visited San Jorge community. In this place, we had a great time watching and experiencing firsthand how people live nowadays in the Amazonia. Our visitors were marveled to see how little things in life that we take for granted can mean so much for other people in a different environment. We also had the chance to walk around the village, see and talk with the locals, and capture great moments with our cameras.

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