Skip to content

iSUR Journal Part 6: El Parayso

January 5, 2011

Flowers in the swamp . . .

12. 28.2010

Got up at 4:00am this morning and Therany and I drove to Herbert’s property to see sunset from his canopy tower. We arrived at 4:40am to the sounds of barking dogs and climbed up the hill to wait for the sky to color. It was too cloudy for much of a sunrise, but the view was beautiful and we spent a peaceful hour birdwatching from the tower. It is incredible that 20 minutes from the city of Puerto Maldonado you can see trogons, motmots, oropendulas, tanagers, woodcreepers, and a myriad of other birds. We saw over 25 species over the course of an hour from a single lookout.

After breakfast at Magali’s we made a quick trip into Puerto to fix a flat tire.  The problem was a nail and it cost $1.50 to fix it at the shop. Incredible.

After that we returned to the corridor to visit Percy at El Parayso. It is an incredible property. He lives on the land with his parents, both of whom have been here since the 1940’s. I spent lunchtime questioning them about the rubber boom and they were full of fascinating anecdotes. Percy’s is one of the oldest families in this region.

Percy is trying to create an ecotourism experience based on birdwatching and wildlife viewing. The property is perfect for it. Two rustic cabins are situated on the bank of the Tambopata River. You can look out at the river and feel a nice breeze all day long. He has a trail of over three kilometers that goes into primary forest. The trees are beautiful – he has ceibas and ironwoods that are of a size that is almost impossible to find in this region (they have all been cut down for lumber). We walked through the forest for over four hours and he showed me the swamp where he is planning to build a boardwalk and canopy tower. We heard hoatzins, saw hummingbirds, and tasted native cocoa fruits as we made our way through the selva.

Talking with Percy, Robert, and Herbert, I am amazed at the passion that they all feel for conserving their land. For them nature is number one. They also believe strongly in the importance of environmental education. I am worried about the disconnect between children and nature in the United States and have often assumed that the situation would be better in a place like Peru. It’s not. These children live 30 minutes from one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and they are just as plugged in to television and iPods. These men and women are trying to change that. They are investing all of their money in creating these initiatives and hope to turn a profit, not so they can buy new things, but so they can afford to run programs for children, or rehabilitate animals, or keep the majority of their property as pristine forest. I am impressed and amazed.

My cute little cabin!

The swamp in the property.

Cacao fruit (this is where chocolate comes from!!!)






No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: