Our skiff went out early in the morning to explore the riverbank of Magdalena. The early bird gets the worm, and this morning was very productive. This part of the Amazon is home to hundreds of bird species, some of them big, small, black, white, multicolored, fast, slow, nocturnal, or diurnal; the symphony of their sounds is like the best opera to our ears. Our local guides are expert birders and they can find them no matter how well they are camouflaged.

The first creatures we spotted were a flock of yellow-fronted macaws. They nest in very special areas, where palm trees have died and their trunks are hollow inside — the perfect ecosystem for breeding and surviving. Next we saw festive parrots; they are beautiful birds with brilliant colors. They have a very peculiar way of moving on the branches: they make steps side to side, and it looks somewhat like a funny kind of dancing. Later we also observed some raptors and herons, tiny birds such as anteaters, sparrows, tanagers, and some woodpeckers.

In the afternoon we motored farther into the jungle to reach the Pacaya River, a pristine and protected area. Both the Samiria and Pacaya Rivers are the jewels of the crown for a visit to the Amazon, and this huge natural reserve of 20,800 square kilometers is named for them. To see the Pacaya River in the afternoon and at night is a very interesting experience. The warm light of the sun highlights the astonishing landscape. The black water turns into a mirror, and the emerald world is reflected in the water; no wonder this place is known as the jungle of mirrors!

We found hundreds of birds flying everywhere, including cormorants, herons, storks, jabirus, hawks, macaws, parakeets, owls, and nocturnal bats, indeed! The biodiversity is just spectacular. Once dusk came, we stopped our skiffs and turned the engines off to enjoy the sounds of the jungle… wow! What an amazing moment. We heard thousands of sounds, coming from insects, frogs, birds, monkeys, fish, and dolphins. But the two loudest and most impressive sounds came from howler monkeys, and birds called horned screamers. Both can be heard from several kilometers away.

Once the night came our fearless guides started to search for nocturnal creatures. They found capybaras, black caimans, spectacled caimans, herons, and bats. We had a wonderful and unique experience exploring one of the most amazing ecosystems on our planet.