Eight Things to Do and Learn in the Amazon Rainforest (Ecuador)
It took us about 45 minutes by boat from El Coca to reach the Eco-lodge in the outskirt of the Yasuni National Park (Ecuador), next to Napo River. Yasuni National Park is part of Amazon rainforest.
The rainforest itself located on the borders of nine countries: Brazil, Bolivia Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. Sixty percent of the rainforest is located in Brazil with the second largest is Peru (thirteen percent), Colombia is the third (ten percent), and the rest is shared by six countries including Ecuador.
Although Ecuador has a small percentage of the rainforest, Yasuni National Park is home to 567 bird species, 44 percent of the bird species found in the entire Amazon basin. It was remarkable time to experience and see the amazing life of the Amazon rainforest. Followings are the eight things that we experienced when visiting the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador.
There are numerous colorful insects to inspire sci-fi movies
Amazon rainforest is a paradise for macro photography lovers. From butterfly to bugs, they are colorful and can be seen everywhere around us.
The forest will provide medicines and food…
Our guide, Livio, is a Quechuan. Quechua people are indigenous peoples of South America. They are native residents of the American continent with local language, Quechuan. In Ecuador, they speak the Kichwa dialect. Our guide, a proud Quechuan, showed us the trees in the Amazon rainforest that have helped his community who still live in the forest, to survive.
Livio showed us the “Dragon’s blood”, red latex of the tree. He slashed the tree’s trunk in diagonal shape to yield its latex. I have seen the color of latex from the rubber tree that is white, but it is not the case for the Croton lechleri tree’s latex. The Croton lechleri tree’s latex is red and it resembles blood. The latex from the tree is being used by the indigenous peoples of the Amazon Basin to cure human skins’ problems such as cuts, burns, rashes or to heal the wound.
He also introduced us to edible flower that looked like noodles. It was called as “forest spaghetti”. The edible flower was part of Carludovica palmata tree (Panama Hat plant). It has a strange taste that I can not describe, I may need salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and a little bit of oil and maybe basil leaves to enjoy eating the forest spaghetti 🙂
How to use plant fiber and leaves
We also learn from Livio that the fiber from the leaves can be used to make a fishing net, bracelet, and even roof. Not only that, the leaves can be used as an umbrella and even a bag!
How to climb the trees
It is known that some Amazon tribes hunt monkey for its meat and brain. According to Livio, only women (mothers) who are allowed to eat the monkey’s brains. The men, though, have to do the hunting. They have to climb the trees to get the monkeys and as well as a safe place to sleep during the hunting. In order to climb faster, the Amazonian women make ropes from the tree’s roots to be used by the men to climb.
Following is a video of how Livio climbs the tree using the rope made from the roots. Also included in the video: Dutchie and my voice 🙂
Piranha fishing and yes, you can eat the piranha
We were taught to do the piranha fishing as well. The fishing bait was rather special: bloody chicken meat. I am not sure if I like the fishing activity in general, I guess it is an activity that teaches you to have patience before getting anything that you wish for. It took us a while to get one fish…We were allowed to bring the fish back to the resort and our cook made them ready for us as dinner. The taste? Well, according to Dutchie who ate the fish, it’s just bones..there was hardly meat on the fish 😀
Finding the frogs at night
I had so much fun at the night when we had to search for the tree frogs. We walked around the outskirt of the forest at night just to find the tree frogs. We can hear them but it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack! But I managed to find three frogs! Not bad for the first time experience 🙂
Meeting the Funny but Shy Squirrel monkeys
Squirrel monkey is a common monkey species in Ecuador. They live in a group with around 500 monkeys. We were lucky that the monkeys live in the forest nearby to our resort. They came visiting our resort to check out the bananas that sometimes being placed at the “monkey section”. The monkeys were really shy, they moved away quickly when we came close to their area.
A home to 567 bird species, bird watching should not be missed when visiting the rainforest. We were not lucky to see toucans nor Amazonian parrots. I was bit disappointed by this, but at least we saw birds that we have never seen before.