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iSUR Journal Part 3: Kapievi

January 2, 2011

My cabin at Kapievi


We got up at 4:30am to meet the boat at Refugio Amazonas. Mr. Ramirez drove the peke-peke and we arrived at 6:00am, 30 minutes before the scheduled departure. The boatman at the dock informed us that the boat had already left for Puerto Maldonado. We ventured up to the lodge with heavy hearts and worried minds and quickly discovered that the boat had not left – it was leaving at 8am. We settled in and were given a hospitable welcome by the lodge manager. She let us eat breakfast at the lodge and Therany and I toured the facilities. It was luxurious. – a beautiful wooden lodge with lanterns and an open dining room that looks out into the forest. There is also a bar where they sell drinks and ice cream.

The boat left at 8am and we piled in with all of the tourists. Therany and I ended up sitting beside a really nice family from Washington State. We talked about the road, gold mining, and the incredible beauty of Tambopata. We arrived at the community of Infierno a few hours later and were bussed back to Puerto Maldonado.

From there, Therany and I picked up a car at the iSUR office and stopped by a bakery to buy a cake for the family we are visiting for Christmas. We arrived at Kapievi at lunchtime. It is a one-hectare property that used to be a pasture. The owner, a charming woman, has converted it into an ecovillage. There are eight cabins on the property and she has reforested it with native trees and plants – including orchids and fruit trees. I am staying in the cabin called Orquidea. It has two hammocks on the screened porch and a bathroom that is open in the back. I can shower and look at the forest. We are here for three nights. The family is lovely. They are trying to grow all of their own fruits and vegetables and they are all vegetarians. They even have a yoga studio.

We spent the afternoon touring the property and resting. The owner’s children are all visiting, so we are taking it easy. Dinner was a smaller meal of bread and fruits. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day here and people typically eat a small dinner of bread and cheese or some other aperitifs.



I slept wonderfully last night and awoke to a breakfast and a tour of the property. We photographed the orquids, the yoga studio, and the buildings. At 10am, the family took us to a chocolatada, a hot chocolate party that the corridor association threw for the children of the local community.

We spent the rest of the day taking pictures and visiting with Piernia’s family.

In Peru, they celebrate Christmas much like we celebrate New Year’s. They eat a very late dinner (11pm or so) and then welcome in Christmas at midnight with an astounding number of fireworks. We went to Piernia’s brother’s house for Christmas and had a lot of drinks and danced to cumbia music. We did not eat until almost 11:30pm and then everyone counted down to the arrival of Christmas. At midnight at a song played on the radio “La navidad llegue” – Christmas has arrived. Only at that point do they exchange gift. In a gesture of incredible kindness, Piernia had gotten gifts for both me and Therany. Therany got a really nice t-shirt and I got a belt that says “Kapievi” – the name of her initiative. I went to bed soon after midnight and overall spent a wonderful Christmas. It was so nice to be with a family instead of alone in a hotel.

Inside view of my cabin

False bird-of-paradise

Orchids at Kapievi in the orchid garden

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