Amazon River (February 2013)

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Our international flight from the USA was to Lima.  We spent a couple of days there then flew to Iquitos.  Iquitos, a city in the Amazon basin the size of Colorado Springs (similarity ends right there) can only be reached by plane or boat.  Our adventure (24 of us) was guided by Erik (tour leader) and Usiel (naturalist), two outstanding professionals that knew the region and its flora fauna, people, and history to a remarkable degree.  They were both born and raised there and currently live there.
The first thing to know about the Amazon river is that life there follows an annual cycle governed by the rise and fall of the river; the low point in August and high point in April. with the river depth varying seasonally by over 40 feet.   We were there in late February and the river was very high, flooding large areas, and still rising.  As a result, we did little hiking.  Instead, we traveled in a skiff, which allowed us to go deeper into the flooded forest.  When the waters recede, the formerly flooded areas are slashed and burned of vegetation, and rice planted.  Two crops are harvested before the flood cycle repeats.
We explored the areas upstream from Iquitos.
Our hotel on the river was a boat, where we slept and ate.  Most of the exploration of tributaries and creeks was done on a skiff.   Highlights included:  visits and lunch prepared by local families at LaPalmas, a nature walk into the rainforest, and the regional market at Nauta.  Along the way we were always on the lookout for birds and other creatures.  In addition, there were some special highlights we captured in pictures.
 
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