Last weekend we went on a little adventure. We had the opportunity to visit a Claylick which is located in the Tombopata reserve, about 60-70km away from Puerto Maldonado. It attracts different species of macaws, parrots and parakeets. The Claylick offers minerals and salts which are rare to find in the jungle to the animals.
We (Rachel K., Amanda M., Veerle W., Kyara V. and me) started on Saturday the 17.9 in the Wasai Lodge in Puerto Maldonado. Together with a group of three Americans, our guide an the driver we started our trip.
The first hour on the main road Puerto Maldonado - Cusco was easy to drive because it's almost straight and flat. After the relaxed part it got more fun. On a road in the jungle which has the same size like the minibus we continued our travel. The "street" had plenty holes and curves which made the back of the car shake a lot. The good thing was that almost nobody was tired anymore after this part!
After a while we arrived at the river Rio Tombopata. We unloaded the bus and continued with a boat to get at the Wasai Lodge in the jungle. On the boat we got some snacks and for midday a Peruvian specialty: Rice with Chicken in a Banana leaf.
The location of the Lodge was great, looked nice and was only one hour away from the Claylick. Around the Lodge where plenty fruit trees. We really enjoyed the time there. We got a fruit juice when we arrived and had a delicious (&special) dinner: Banana soup (very special ^^), rice with banana fries and chicken in bamboo and as desert pineapple.
We also enjoyed the nature around there. We observed some birds and found the Great Potoo who is well known at this place and is sitting in a tree next to the dinner place. In the evening we had a night walk to see the insects species in this area.
In the next morning we started at 4:30 to drive with the boat 2h and 28km upriver. The Rio Tombopata is very different than the Madre de Dios. At the river mouth where the Rio Malinousquillo enters in the Rio Tombopata the river has the same brown color than the Madre de Dios. Before the river entrance the Rio Tombopata is bluish and clear.
In total the river is more difficult to drive. It has less water as the Madre de Dios and the drivers need to pay attention to not strand or to hit logs and rocks in the water.
During the trip up to the Claylick we already saw different interesting species of birds (Razor-billed Curassow, Blue-throated Piping-Guan and Neotropic Cormorant) and Red Howler Monkeys.
At the Claylick we missed the macaws together with parrots on the wall. They flew up when we arrived with boat and refused the whole time we stayed there to come down again.. Maybe because of the people who waited there to see them.. Maybe because there were hawks in the air which are possible predators for the birds.
However it was an awesome nature spectacle to observe so many macaws and parrots together at one place and at the same time!
At 10 we decided to go back to the Lodge again because we had to catch our boat back to Taricaya at 3pm in Puerto Maldonado.
During the way back to the Lodge everybody was tired and some used the time to sleep a bit in the boat. Same for me.
Fortunately I woke up because the first boat was stuck on a log or sandbank and to make some photos of Neotropical Comorans. Afterwards I was checking the bank for any animals. In the far I saw a big greyish mammal walking back to the jungle. I thought it was a Tapir an shout my thoughts out. In the same time my camera was ready for photos. During the first photos I recognize that it wasn't a Tapir but an adult female Jaguar who is pregnant. We just saw the Jaguar for 10s but I'm so happy I got some pictures!
As we arrived in the lodge, we had 10min to pick up our stuff. We thought our little adventure was over.. We didn't know what else is coming.
We had to walk nearly 3km in jungle in one hour to a forest street to catch our taxi which should bring us back to Puerto. The Wasai Lodge had to order a taxi because there wasn't any free boats or cars/bus to bring us back to twon. Somehow they forgot to tell the taxi driver how many people we are. We arrived at the meeting place and expected to get a minibus or at least two cars. Farm from it!
A 5 person taxi and two taxi drivers waited for us (5 person + 1 guide) at the meeting place. Well it was interesting to get in the car. Somehow we managed to get in the car and to continued our return trip. 8 people in the car, everybody was cuddling with everyone by 30•C and because of the little jungle trip we were sweaty too. You can imagine how it was in the car.
However like this we didn't drive that far.. After the first 100m we had to choice three who has to get out of the car. With 8 people in the car we were to heavy and the taxi driver had problems to drive on the road. To explain, the road was a forest way with holes, branches/trees on the way and different heights on each side of the street. Most of the time we had to drive next to the street in the vegetation.
Somehow we managed to continue the road, crossed plenty burned forest areas and arrived at the main road Cusco - Puerto Maldonado. We waited there for an half hour for our two missing people, the second driver asked to get a motorcycle from a jungle resident and brought one by one to the meeting point. We used the time for lunch, again rice with chicken in a banana leaf.
After this part we weren't finish.. We had some more kilometers to do on the main road but without motorcycle. So we (7 - the second driver stayed there) tried to manage again to get into the car and to continue on the road. During the ride it was no problem to be with so many people in the car, maybe a bit dangerous and uncomfortable.. In the middle of our way was a police control. Because there exist road rules, even when nobody cares, we had to kick out again two people. So we passed the police control with only 5 person in the car. Some meters away, behind a hill we went out and waited on the road that the taxi driver came back to pick us up. Finally we arrived in Puerto Maldonado at 4:30 and got our boat at the port.
All in all it was a very interesting trip. The price was 150$. It was awesome to see so many macaws and so many different species of parrots together. The Jaguar was definitely the Highlight of the trip! Our way back home was funny and for me not the first time this happened in Peru ^^ and probably not the last time. I'm looking forward for the next adventure!