This article was first printed in the Iquitos Times in June 2014
New Tour Invented for Adventurous Tourists.
Local jungle guide Angel Brandan could see the time coming when discerning adventurous tourists would want more than the usual trip out to a jungle lodge on the Yavari or Yaniyacu rivers and the daily pony walks along the same jungle paths. So he has invented a new and exciting tour or more of an expedition than a tour and no 2 trips would ever be the same.
The idea means travelling with Angel and a cook up the Nanay River to the Village of Santa Maria de Nanay some 180 klms upstream from Iquitos on the river ferry the Emmanuel. The Emmanuel normally leaves the port of Morona Cocha at about 6.00 p.m. and arrives at Santa Maria the next morning at about 7.00 a.m. all passengers sleep in hammocks, Amazon style.
After arriving in Santa Maria the visitors will tour Santa Maria and possibly travel by boat another half an hour or so upriver to the next village of Diamate Azul. The villages of Santa Maria and Diamante Azul are very rarely visited by foreigners but the local people are very welcoming. The Governor of Santa Maria said “ We will welcome with open arms tourists who visit our beautiful village and meet our people”. Santa Maria has a school, shops, internet and 2 disco bars and the locals know how to party.
While the tourists are spending this day visiting Santa Maria and the surrounding area a 6 metre canoe will be prepared for the 4 day canoe trip back to Iquitos. After staying in one of Santa Maria’s hostals that night the expedition will start at 7.00 a.m. the following morning for the return to Iquitos.
Onboard the canoe will be Angel the guide, a cook and a boatmen and up to 6 tourists along with all the necessary equipment, food and water for the 4 day expedition.
The passengers will be encouraged to paddle the canoe at a slow and comfortable pace stopping for the day at about 12 noon each day on a beach or in a local community. After lunch there will be jungle walks, fishing and swimming. Dinner will be at 7.00p.m. and then bed for the night. This will be repeated for the following 3 days by which time they should be back in Iquitos and civilization.
This part of the River nanay is teaming with wildlife and it is not unusual to see the Giant Amazon Otters at play. Primates, birdlife and rodents abound as do many species of fish because this area is not over fished like other rivers near to Iquitos. One fish of interest is the black pirahña which can grow up to 12lbs in weight and really do put up a fight when hooked. Some of the Ox bow lakes nearby contain the famous peacock bass up to 10lbs. the peacock bass is known to be the strongest fighting freshwater fish in the World (pound for pound) and they are good eating too.
Very few tourist ever venture up the River Nanay so hopefully these trips will change that and bring more employment to the area. Also if successful some of the profits from these tours will be plough back into the communities to provide more education for the children of Santa Maria and its environs. It is planned that apart from the normal curriculum English and biology will be taught thereby enabling local people to work in tourism in that area and reduce the annual exodus of young people leaving for the big city to find employment.
If you want to join Angel on his next expedition please contact him on ; firstname.lastname@example.org or by cellphone on 964318440
We at the Iquitos Times wish Angel Brandan and his team all the best with this new venture which will provide an alternative to the usual “run of the mill” tours offered at present.