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Backwater Adventures in the Peruvian Amazon Part 2

Exclusive for Vagobond by Matthew Barker

Nueva Utuquinia is a typical Amazonian settlement, home to around 400 villagers who live in stilted, palm-roofed houses and lead a largely self-sufficient existence, farming their small patches of land and harvesting the abundant river and jungle.

Peruvian AdventuresAchiles demonstrated just how abundant the jungle is the following day, as we hiked from Utuquinia to the next village – a four hour walk through virgin forest. Along the way he stopped to point out tracks left by a jaguar, and later a tapir. The canopy bristled with screeching monkeys and the almost Jurassic calls of countless bird species.

But the abundance of the jungle’s animal inhabitants is almost insignificant next to the sheer quantity of edible fruit that literally drips from the low branches. Our trail was scattered with granadillas, coconas, oranges and lemons just waiting to be picked and eaten. With a few slashes of his machete, Achiles felled a small palm and stripped out the tender heart from its trunk – much tastier than the tinned version.

Amazon River stretchThat evening we ate in the village, a feast of what we had gathered along with a treat from the river; several large piranhas. I tried not to wonder on what they themselves had been fattened.

The journey back to town took another two days, thanks in part to a series of blockages in the think channels; driftwood, logs and swamp that had been washed into the river by unseasonably high water levels.

With each blockage we were forced to abandon the boat, machetes in hand and cut a channel for the boat. Fortunately the water was not too deep and we were able to drag the boat through each time, although not without destroying our propeller and getting thoroughly soaked in the process.


Peru Resources

Boutique Hotels in Peru
Hostels in Peru
Travel
Insurance for Peru

Peru Guidebooks
Peru and Around the World
Last Minute Flights, Hotels, Cars

“It’s all part of the adventure,” my friend shouted as we jumped back into the water for the third time in less than an hour. He was right, but I was still glad when we reached dry land and found my first hot shower and comfortable bed in five days.

Getting There

Trip styles in the Peruvian Amazon vary greatly. To get the most from your trip it is recommended that you work with a travel planner.

Matthew Barker lives and writes in Peru.

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Melissa Ruttanai

Melissa Ruttanai (@worldwinder) is a travel writer and SEO blogger. In 2010, with a tenured teaching position at a top middle school, she did the “unthinkable”—and quit. Now on a 2-year world adventure with her husband, Melissa writes in cafes and hostels, sharing her stories in hopes that others will think outside of conventional life, and travel. Her work has been published by International Living Magazine, Escape from America Magazine, DINK Life, Weekend Notes, and Flip Key Travel. You can also find her at You can also find her on Google+

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