National Geographic Traveler photographer Bob Krist has just returned from cruising down the Amazon and sends along this gallery.
Spending a week onboard the ship La Amatista, a beautiful riverboat based on the design of those used by late 19th-century rubber barons, we explored one of the largest protected the wetlands in the world, the Pacaya Samiria National Preserve. We spent time on the Amazon and two of its tributaries, Rio Ucayali and Rio Marañón.
The days were filled spotting wildlife from small skiffs, with the help of superb naturalists from Iquitos who were amazing spotters, and hikes on terra firma and through floodplain forests. We visited a couple of villages, and spent time at their schools, checked out small fish farming operations, and visited ranger stations in the Reserve.
Night excursions were great….not only to see some of the creatures that come out mainly in the dark, but just to stare up at the vast skies (so little light pollution, so many stars!), and listen to the “jungle symphony.” It made you forget all about Twittering.
In between excursions we ate excellent food prepared from mainly local ingredients—fish, vegetables, eggs–and were even serenaded by a different band every night—Jorge and Red Bellied Piranhas, Robinson and the Pink River Dolphin, to name a few. Actually, only the band’s name changed, the band members–our expedition leader, naturalists, and crewmen–always stayed the same! And we liked it that way.
It was amazingly educational and interesting and considering the heat, humidity, and the jungle, a very comfortable way to explore this vast and threatened region.
For more information on Bob’s trip, visit International Expeditions.