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peruvian jungle
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Tuesday, 08 May 2018

After some hesitations, we’ve decided to go to the south east end of Peru, to meet the fauna and flora from the amazonian jungle. that’s a small 500 km detour, but the new ‘Interoceanica’, linking Brazil (Atlantic ocean) to Peru (Pacific ocean) now allows to drive to these once remote areas.

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But first, we have to drive across a high mountain range, and cross 4500m+ passes. On the way, we cross an open pit mine, partly flooded by the recent rain, where the traffic is completely erratic and the road cut by soil heaps that we have to shovel. At the end of the road is La Rinconada, one of the highest city at more than 5000m, nested under a glacier. It sounds promising, so we go! What an idea… the road is on the top 5 of the worst road of Peru, and is buried under unbelievable hills of garbage, and the city itself could compete for the world's ugliest city!

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We drive down rapidly on a nice steep-sided road, sadly in the fog and meet the Interoceanica. Surprise, it is more of a winding road in the middle of the jungle, full of tuk-tuk and speed bumps.

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Once in Puerto Maldonado, we meet Jose Luis who will be our guide for the next 48 hours, while we leave our car in a lodge with swimming pool and tarantula. We first take a pirogue down the river “Madre de dios”, then continue walking on a muddy path into the jungle. We already see lots of butterflies and monkeys jumping from tree to tree.

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We embark a “canu”, a small boat with incredibly heavy hand-made paddle to reach the lake Sandoval, which is a protected area. We’ll sleep on the shores of this lake in a rustic hotel.

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During our outings on the lake, we’ll see hundreds of birds, monkeys, turtles, small bats, giant fishes, caimans, and the famous endemic giant otters. These are at the top of the food chain, and can eat everything in the lake, including caimans. There’s no doubt about it once we get close enough to see their teeth. Jose Louis tells us many interesting things about the animal living in the jungle and the strange trees growing here (there’s even one able to move to get more sun).

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We enjoyed very much the visit, even if we’ve been eaten alive by unidentified insects.

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