Life in the Amazon flows like café con leche: creamy and smooth, masking the electric life underneath. The Amazon River is a cup that you want to share with a friend. The caffeinated, energetic Amazon River floated our boat away from Iquitos, Peru and into the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve.
One of the oldest national reserves in the Amazon, established in 1972, is meant as much for protection as it is for sustainable development: volunteer rangers monitor fishing, boats and logging. The reserve provides opportunity for many—wildlife roaming within, city-dwellers on the rain forest edge, travelers from other continents and the people who call the forest home.
The tangled forests of Pacaya-Samiria stand in contrast to the chaotic urban scene in Iquitos. The river was beginning its 40 foot retreat from the banks, the low season, but ironically a season of plenty for birds and the people who depend on fish for food.
A hand beckoned J.J., a traveler, onto the floor of a family’s hut as our small group wandered into the village of Nueva York. They didn’t want to share a cup of coffee but a generous bowl of fish.
Hearty diets of fish fill the bowls and boats of the resilient ribereno people and the bellies of great egrets overhead during the low season when fish are easier to catch, isolated in tributaries. In November the river will rise again and fish will disperse, regenerating their numbers.
Protected areas such as the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve provide a viable way to protect vital resources and livelihoods.
Life prospers in the reserve. “Blue and yellow hyacinth macaws!” our expedition leader, Renzo, calls in between sightings of pink river dolphins and jabiru storks. We continue to float through observing and participating with the life of the forest and river, the hulls of passing boats plow past us through the coffee-colored river, brimming with bananas, hammocks and people heading for Iquitos to sell the fruits of their labor and the plenty of the rain forest with the rest of the world.
Learn more about what WWF is doing to protect the Amazon for life.
Travel with WWF & Nat Hab to experience the Amazon and all of its wonders, first-hand.