One of the trips that I did often was up the Tambopata River, a five hour journey from Puerto Maldonado which is 55kms from the Bolivian border.

Puerto Maldonado is a jungle town. At the airport, if your yellow fever isn’t up to date, you get a shot there and then

Long narrow boats that didn’t go fast along the windy river as the passengers gazed at the scenery which never really changed. The odd flash of excitement as the boat swerved to avoid a floating log or some such.

The scenery never changed, much – image: AV

We passed the odd river community, other boats carrying stuff like bananas down river.

Bananas – image: AV

Muddy cayman watched us, we watched them – image: AV


Muddy children watched us, we watched them – image: AV

Household chores, no washing machines here – image: AV


Mothers doing the washing, while the kids swam and bathed.

Other boats with passengers going downstream to Puerto Maldonado. Everybody was very friendly, everybody waved.

But the scenery was the same, the water was muddy and the river twisted and turned.

My first trip, I found interesting; the second and subsequent, merely a trip. Quite frankly it became boring.

But it was necessary, as we were on our way to spend two nights in a jungle lodge in the Tambopata Reserve; although the second night, we woke at 3am to take the boat back to Puerto Maldonado in the dark, only the moonlight as our guide, to get our onward flight after 8am.

Finally, we arrived and signed in at the ranger’s station, then it was onward again for another 20 minutes, a scamble up a muddy bank with makeshift steps. and…

First sight of the lodge – image: AV

That was part of the adventure, just getting there in one piece.

More on this another time.