Today was a very special day of our expedition in the Upper Amazon. We visited the most remote region of the rainforest, and we got to see the best of the reserve. In the morning, we set off on our journey at 6:00 a.m. to explore the Pacaya Samiria Reserve. As soon as we started, we had our first wildlife encounters with raptors and shorebirds. Farther up the river, we were surrounded by the flocks of cormorants and egrets that come to the river looking for their morning meals. The early hours are the best time to enjoy the wildlife in this region.

As we explored the Pacaya River, we spotted monkeys and a number of diverse birds. The visitor site hosts flocks of birds and an amazing collection of trees of different sizes and colors. We observed amazing fig trees with tangled roots and various palm trees. Often, the giant ceiba tree is home to the largest of the storks. At this time of the year, jabirus perch on the tall ceibas or nest along the riverbank. The highlight of our morning was a troop of squirrel monkeys foraging in a Ficus tree with blue-and-yellow-macaws. The best part was standing underneath the tree as the monkeys foraged! We had more than 100 monkeys running and jumping above us. What an experience!

In the afternoon, we headed back into the Pacaya River for a different type of experience, a merging of late afternoon and evening exploration. We can see different wildlife and different behaviors at this time of day. We were in search of a diversity of rainforest sounds and the reserve’s icons: caimans and howler monkeys. We can see these animals better at night, in addition to bats and many types of herons that are nocturnal hunters. Most of the creatures we have found here eat fish, such as the armored catfish, which is also a popular dish for local people.

The night is full of surprises, and this one was no exception. It was an amazing outing, and I’ll do it again!