We’re now back from our 3-day trip to the jungle, or more specifically to parts of the Andean rainforest in the Bolivian section of the Amazon basin. We stayed inside the Madidi Nationak Park, which is supposedly one the most biodiverse protected areas in the world. We were exceptionally lucky too – nobody else signed up for the trip with the company we went with, so we ended up having a private tour! The trip involved a three-hour boat ride to our camp inside the national park, and staying in the middle of the forest without electricity or phone coverage. When the boat dropped us off in the jungle and left, we were left with just our guide Juan, our cook Amalia and the custodian of the place, whom they respectfully called Don Primo No communication with the outside world and no way out
We slept in leaf-thatched huts with mosquito nets and spent our days doing walks in the jungle, fishing or learning how to make jewellery from seeds and nuts. Juan was a great guide, very knowledgeable about jungle trees and plants, which can be used to produce all sorts of medicines, poisons or colouring substances. Amalia was a fantastic cook who was able to come up with amazing dishes prepared in very basic conditions, e.g. fish cooked in three different ways (which included steaming it wrapped in some natives leaves) for one of the lunches!
The Amazonian jungle is fascinating – partly similar to rainforests in other parts of the world but it also feels more primal and more dangerous. Seems like all animals and plants have developed some protective systems aimed at keeping potential attackers at bay – either spikes or poisons, or at the very least good camouflage. It’s extremely hot and humid during the day (even now, i.e. in the dryer season) and can be a bit spooky at night with all the insects (including fluorescent ones!) crawling or flying or around and wild animals hunting. We saw a few species of monkeys, a deer, and many parrots, as well as fluorescent bugs, huge cicadas and several tarantulas right next to our cottage!