Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve

Our time in the Amazon was an amazing, humid, sweaty sweaty uncomfortable, once in a lifetime experience. I felt like Teddy Roosevelt in The River of Doubt but without the life threatening infection. Fortunately I had that vaccine taken care of so I was not concerned about yellow fever. Also the extra strength, probably skin melting, bug spray was very effective. We also had delightful DEET face wipes, a slight change from the usual grapefruit scented Burt’s Bees face wipes, but much more utilitarian.

I’ve wanted to go to the Amazon since I was a kid and I read Journey to the River Sea. The turn of the century (19th to 20th) story of an orphan girl (they have the best adventures in kids books, teaches weird lessons) who goes with her strict governess to stay with her aunt, uncle and of course two evil cousins on the edge of the Manaus rubber plantations. She’s horribly mistreated and her governess turns out to be her ally and then the house burns down and the uncle tries to save his glass eyeball collection instead of his children and the governess and the girl get on a boat and go up the river to find a giant sloth! #lifegoals

They sea river dolphins and the governess hikes up her skirt and takes her hair down! They did indicate that humidity and sweatiness were an important part of the experience, hence hiking up the skirt.

Nothing like a little tarantula search right before going to bed!
I don’t know what this plant is but I like it.
This was a different group but this was the same boat we were boated around on.
A kingfisher! The birds in the Amazon, while much more colorful than the Galapagos, were generally much further away.
Kingfisher in flight.
A monkey! Regardless of my insistence I was informed that monitos is not in fact the Spanish word for these tiny monkeys.
This is a horrible picture but I wanted to include the fact that we saw hoatzins! They are very loud and croaky.
Fungus.
Army ants! Again with no evidence I have decided that the big ones are called Sergeants. They really do direct the little ants to make sure they all march in a line.
Black-collared hawk
Monitos! Going through my photos was a bit like playing where’s Waldo with the monkeys.
Monitos in movement.
These nests remind me of the hug weaver bird nests from Animals are Beautiful People, the best and punniest nature documentary I’ve ever owned on vhs.
Our guide, Aladdin, carved his paddle (and his dugout canoe) himself, and was constantly improving it when we weren’t paddling.
Another plant that I don’t know but is cool.
This one I know. I think it’s a bird of paradise.
Googling “frog that looks like a leaf” did not reveal this species to me.
The coolest bug in the world.
This is what I mean about the colorful far away birds. In the middle in the back there are two macaws. Apparently they choose one mate and every morning we would see them flying over the river in pairs.
I love fun fungus.
The biggest tree we’ve ever seen!
Not the coolest bug, but still a cute bug.

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