Day 6: Rainforest Excursion and Ecuadorian Rural Life

After a very bright day yesterday it had rained over night – but this I was only told by the others, as this was the first night I was really sleeping tight until 6 in the morning. The lodge in principle has no electricity and the huts as well as the main house is illuminated by several candles creating a very romantic atmosphere. Also the main house only provides the option to recharge squeezed camera batteries and cell phones for example.

After a rich breakfast we started right from the lodge into the rain forest – which in the Selva Viva area is a protected primary forest, because being untouched for more than 100 years – for a 3 hours hike. We learned for example about moving palm trees, that can change their location by about 10cm a year or how to use termites as repellent and discovered interesting fruits like, the Monkey Brush or the palm tree from which the curare poison is won and how it’s prepared. At one of the stronger trees i could even try out liane climbing myself. A heavy rain started during our tour and we got pretty wet – at least the ones that were not prepared for this – and also the track got quite slippery, so we were happy to wear the rubber boots provided by the lodge.

We returned for lunch and took a little longer relaxation break before moving out to the island between Rio Arajuno and Rio Napo where the locals were growing various fruits due to the fertility of the area. We had the chance to taste cinnamon straight from the tree as well as have a cocoa fruit from which we were tasting the yummy flesh surrounding the bean itself. From a distance we could see the impressive and huge Hoatzin Birds at a near lake. Our walk continued through a small banana plantation where Gabriel explained that a banana tree only once carries fruits and will be cut down afterwards, serving the next generation tree (9 months growth time and 2 months till harvest) as fertilizer. Also pineapple, avocado and coffee was grown in the area.

Near a local families house we tried the blow tube shoot out which I was was really bad at, yet motivation returned when we say a big green parrot in a near tree that was enjoying a fruit for lunch. We also got the chance to see the basic family house, which was fully wooden and had received electricity only a month ago, yet which also was in perfect order and clean. The owners wife prepared the Chitcha (national drink prepared from a sweet potato and manioc then mixed with water) for us – the taste needs getting used to and was a mixture of sweet and sour. 

On our return we saw how lively the area close to the river is as during our boat ride near the river bank hundreds of birds and parrots were following us alongside. Really funny and cute to watch was the group of squirrel monkeys that was awaiting us at the lodge feeling quite undisturbed by our clicking cameras…

Boris Kuster