Press-Republican

Day Away

January 23, 2010

Rainforest reveals wealth of flora fauna

IF YOU GO


Information on Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica Lodge can best be accessed at www.inkaterra.com.



The Frosts planned their trip through Tom Damon at Southwind Adventures in Colorado (www.southwindad



ventures.com).



"His expertise came in handy not only in preparation but in last-minute changes to our itinerary necessitated by local conditions," Richard Frost said.

We have read about the rainforest, especially the Amazon rainforest, frequently.

However, it represented just an amorphous concept until my wife, Marty, and I finally decided to see it for ourselves. Our trip there wowed us with the variety of plant and animal life (oh, yes, plenty of insects, too!), taught us much more about its ecological importance and gave us ample opportunity for enjoyable experiences.

To reach our destination in Peru's Amazon River basin, we flew from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, a relatively new city built after gold mining began in the region. Representatives of the lodge where we'd be staying picked us up at the airport and brought us to a wharf on the Madre de Dios River for the next stage of our journey. At this point, deep in Peru, we were 25 hours from Brazil by automobile and six hours from Bolivia via boat.

IN THE Rainforest





During the 40-minute trip to our destination, we learned a bit about the area's economy. Though gold offered a boost to employment, most area residents still turn to agriculture and forestry for their livelihood. Aside from timber, important crops are bananas, rice, papaya and nuts. More recently, tourism has become a growth industry, especially near places like the Tampopata National Reserve, where we would be staying.

Considering the negative impact some tourist development brings to wild and untraveled areas, we were happy to see an emphasis on ecologically sensitive experiences. Our accommodations at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica Lodge offered a mix of rustic and upscale facilities.

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