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Finding the waterfall…

Posted by Susanna On January - 28 - 2011

My last day in the jungle. I decided to look for the waterfall again. Giving it a second chance. So I hiked up again for hours. Enjoying the beauty of pristine unspoiled rain forest with all it amazing creature. Finally I came to the river again and this time I followed the river which was quite difficult with my equipment. Then there it was – the waterfall. A real jungle waterfall. Crystal clear and refreshing. I had a dip with my feet then I made my way back so I would arrive before darkness at the lodge.

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Jungle ride

Posted by Susanna On January - 27 - 2011

After one day back in Puerto Jiminez my new friends left yesterday and I had come back to the jungle. I had organized a horseback ride today. What the great thing about it was is that I could go by myself without guides for just US$5 an hour! I was so happy since I love to do things on my own sometimes. Horse rides with guides are usually boring since one is not allowed to do things different than the guide wants and also the horses are mostly spoiled. My horse this time was perfect! We were enjoying a ride for three hours! I went first up into the rain forest observing tucans and macaws. Suddenly I was witnessing a cow giving birth – great! Everywhere blue morpho butterflies danced in the twilight and I heard exotic noises. I went up to a hill and could even see the ocean. Partly my horse and I were followed by a younger horse what was quite amusing. Ohhh I enjoyed these hours. When I came back down to give back my horse I realized I had 30min more so I decided to go a bit faster in a different direction. And what a surprise – this horse was not at all tired! It was running as no other horse I ever rented did. Amazing. So far that was my best horseback ride while traveling!

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What waterfall?

Posted by Susanna On January - 24 - 2011

Today I got up very early in the morning since my friend Ruth and I wanted to do a quick hike to the waterfall. We did and saw numerous bird, macaws and frogs. Even a few snakes. But when we reached the river we could not find any waterfall. So Disappointing! But when we came back to the lodge people told us where the actual waterfall was. So we basically missed it!! Too funny. We left around noon back to Puerto Jiminez. While we made it to the pickup van right in time (Even though one of the new friends had some issues – that is what happens when you travel with more than yourself.) we waited for ages for the bus… Public transport is just not that reliable here than in Europe!

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Costa Rica Jungle

Posted by Susanna On January - 23 - 2011

Like one of my friends Greg said there is a kind of simple lodge in the jungle on the border to Corcovado National park. I and him and two other new friends went there today to check it out. It is difficult to reach since you normally first take a bus then wait (sometimes for hours) for a pickup van and then you hike up to the lodge for about 30min. So I took only a few things and my camera equipment with me. The hike was tiring but the jungle amazing. Blue morpho butterflies and various birds and macaws flew around. After choosing our beds we decided to hike to the view point where we had a great view over the forest up to the sea.

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Sensory overload at Isla Parida

Posted by Susanna On January - 15 - 2011

As Daniel had said yesterday we were picked up in the morning. Unfortunately my alarm went off but he was very kind and waited. I did not know what to expect but I had the feeling it would be wonderful, maybe like my so far favorite island Nananu in Fiji. From the mainland it took about 30-40min by boat to reach Isla Parida. The weather was great and the sun shining. The water glinted. I was so exited! And then there was the private island. Beautiful! Marvelous. Like a jewel in the ocean. From the side we arrived at to the other side Daniel used a golf cart as transportation vehicle. That was so fun! Especially cruising along the over 1km beach…

After inspecting the wonderful property I got to see the first time in my life pygmy marmoset. These are probably the tiniest monkeys of the world around the same seize of a tarsier maybe. They had three – two males and one female. And they had even a story: They all including another male belonged to a private zoo in Panama what needed to close. So the owner was looking for a place for the four. Finally they found one and all four pygmy marmoset were divided in two each between two new owners. Isla Parida got two males. And the female with another male came to somebody else… But the female behaved strange. People said every morning she was looking out for someone or something calling… Nobody understood what was going on. After six months her companion the other male died of a scorpion sting and the new owner suggest to reunited the remaining female with the two other males of Isla Parida who she already knew from times back in the zoo. And can you imagine what happened? As soon as the female met the two others she got exited and so happy. And it became obvious why she was looking for someone everyday – she had missed her choses partner! He was one of the two males of Isla Parida. When the four had been divided people did that just randomly without thinking that even a tiny monkey could have chosen a partner for life! So a big happy end for the pygmy marmoset couple!

Then I saw the macaws. The owner of the private island own over 20 macaws and lots of other parrots. They breed them and goal is to release the to Panama native macaws on the island. At the moment of my visit there were already a few couples flying around wild. Michelle a lady from the states takes care of them and brought her own parrots as well. It was an amazing experience to see these magnificent and intelligent birds that close. So wonderful. And each of them has their own personalities, habits, likes and dislikes.

Furthermore the owner had Panama deer, two females and one male. There were so tame that I could go close and pet them. I felt like in paradise sine I love animals so much. Close to the deer was the monkey tree! On that tree live five female spider monkeys. As soon as I entered the place one of them got very excited. Her name was Bella. She loved the attention and the cuddles. She was one very communicative monkey and all time she did a sound what was similar to the twitter of a bird. Another monkey was Lucy. She was curious and shy at the same time. Even while looking at her photos you realize the two different personalities of the monkeys. The other monkeys stayed on the tree. Outside the monkey tree was a kind of angry whitefaced capuchin. He was supposed to be caught and brought of the island because he was alone and aggressive. Supposedly he had killed a few tamarind monkeys. But he is just a very smart monkey and since he was escaped a trap he is now difficult to catch.

And if you think that is enough of overstimulation for one day – you are wrong!
With Daniel and his family I visited later the other side of the island or maybe just another island? I am not sure. Anyway at that place his mum and dad lived. It was beautiful! The mum had few wild caymans as pets who she fed everyday. Wow! What an experience! I had never seen that before but it was real! The place was wonderful as well and I really don’t know what was the best on that day. I have seen so many miracles… If there is a paradise it will look like Parida!

I am very thankful that I had met Daniel and for his great invitation to Parida. It was really one of the best things I ever have experienced traveling. For everything I had witnessed today one day was not enough….

Isla Parida

Pygmy marmoset

Panama deer

Spider monkeys

Whitefaced capuchin

The other side and feeding the caymans

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Rainy cloud forest

Posted by Susanna On January - 12 - 2011

The place ‘Lost and Found’ sounded so great. It offered fantastic hikes and wildlife. But in reality it was overrated. I arrived the night before in darkness and rain taking even the more difficult route since the bus dropped me there. They were no private rooms and the dormitory had three level bunk beds and five of them. Furthermore it was so messy I did not know where to step first. I had expected more. The advertisement had looked promising and the ‘Lonely Planet’ recommended it. They had a Kinkajou (Honey bear) but I had no chance to take pictures of and that was one of my main reasons I came. If you stay two nights you get the third night free. Since the weather was so bad and it rained and rained all hiking paths were muddy and slippery. It was seriously no fun to explore outside. It was cold and besides the TV room there was no possibility to hang out inside… I really had loved the hot showers though! They were extremely hot and I enjoyed them very much. However there are more volunteers than wildlife. I only observed a Olingo and a Cocomistle coming out in the evening and looking for food at the platform.

The Olingo

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Around Boca Brava

Posted by Susanna On January - 9 - 2011

Around the little island of Boca Brava are lots of other islands. New friends I had met in the guesthouse I stayed had organized a boat driver for today who brought us everywhere we wanted. I saw Dolphins and pristine empty white sand beaches. Just a wonderful relaxing sunny day.

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Back to civilisation

Posted by Susanna On December - 22 - 2010

After four days in the primary amazon today it was time to say good-bye. We left the camp on the beach in the morning and went in direction of a different community. At the arrival I was surprised about what I saw – a village what felt like a ghost town since there were almost no people on the streets. And very untypical buildings. Not really that what you would expect to see in the amazon. There was a big landing strip for small planes. Because of the Christmas holidays most of the indigenous had left to Puyo as well. I try to went to the toilets but was so disgusted since there all were filled up with feces. My legs were itching of too many bug bites… and I felt slightly pain in my kidneys. I was ready for a hot shower and clean clothes and a bed. I was waiting for the plane what was supposed to bring us back into civilisation. While waiting a few left villagers came up to me and tried to sell their handicrafts. And a woman which told me she was responsible for healing over there. That sounded great I was thinking since my kidney hurt and I love to try the jungle medicine. At the point where I wanted to see what she got one of the guides came back and was furious and forbid me to go with her… I had not know that if you book a jungle tour you are not your own master anymore?! That was so off-putting! I would have needed that medicine. But he did not understand and it didn’t help to discuss it…They even said that these tribes people could be so dangerous and could kill you out of a sudden. I am still not sure about that. But I had no choice.

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Jungle school

Posted by Susanna On December - 20 - 2010

In the morning we visited the community school. There were not many kids at that time since most families went to Puyo for the Christmas holidays. The result was that they were only two kids in one and three kids in the other class. In Ecuador especially young teacher who just finished their degree at university will be send to these jungle schools to make their first teaching experiences. That is hard since many tribes have their own language and the teacher mostly does not speak it but the curriculum requires studies in their tribes language, in Spanish and also English. The kids are very intelligent and clever and thirst for knowledge.
Then we packed our things and took the canoe down the river without using the engine so we were supposed to see more wildlife. In reality it is very hard to spot animals in the amazon. We saw just a few birds every now and then but even those were so far away for taking great closeup pictures. We tried to fish some piranhas with the meanwhile smelly rotten leftover bait meat. I felt them biting but I could not catch any. This night we slept in the jungle were the guides cut free a campsite. Normally we would have tried spotting some alligators but it was full moon and that’s the only time where it is bright enough for them to spot you in the dark. So – never make a jungle trip at full moon if you want to spot them. Otherwise the moon was very beautiful and I ask the guide for just taking me out with the boat for watching the moon. I even saw few alligator eyes glowing red on the other riverside but that was all I saw of them.

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Jungle Life

Posted by Susanna On December - 19 - 2010

I woke up several times at night since it was so uncomfortable sleeping on a tree root. But anyway I didn’t wanted to sleep! I wanted to see some big cats going for my bait. But the night stayed calm except the rooster fall from his tree and unbelievable it didn’t crow in the morning – how unusual. I guess that was the only time when I wanted a rooster to crow. Short after waking up we packed and left back for the village. I learned a few things about healing plants of the amazon and I ask for seeing the Uña de Gato vine what helps to cure several ailments and also supposedly helps against cancer. I saw butterflies and tiny frogs and later being back in the community we saw wild wooley monkey. The same monkeys I had seen in the ‘Reserva de mono’ but in the wild. They came as close that the guide was feeding them with a couple bananas. For luch they prepared one of the village chicken since the villagers wanted to keep our lazy rooster to breed with their chicken. The food was delicious and after eating everybody came together and showed us their handicraft things to sell, how to make a fire without matches or lighter. They painted us with paint what will become dark blue over night. First it was transparent. Stories were told about one of the last uncontacted people the Tagaeri which try to resist the contact with civilisation. When they come in contact with people not of their own kind it is very common for them to kill them. So nobody can make contact to them. I was wondering how the Huaorani avoid crossing their territory by accident and they told me that funny but true fact: When they read the footprints Tagaeri ofter have six toes. That’s probably caused by inbreeding. So if they see a print with six toes they leave as fast as possible the area. Also Tagaeri avoid water. So their only way of crossing river is on fallen trees. They don’t use boats in contrast to the Huaorani. Later at dusk we were not allowed to leave far without guidance and flashlight since there supposedly so many venomous snakes and bugs in the jungle. At least we saw one snake what someone found close to the toilet. It was immediately killed because this community had lost a few children already to snakebite accidents.
The night was wonderful. It was close to full moon and the sound of the jungle is unique and you will never forget.

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“This is the way to inner peace: overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.”
 

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