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Rainforest — Río de Madre de Dios Link to Rainforest index

This river, upon which sits the town of Puerto Maldonado, begins in the Andes and flows for over 1000 miles, under three different names, before it joins the Amazon at the Brazilian city of Manaus. (From there it's still over 500 miles to the Atlantic.) Less than 100 miles downstream from Puerto Maldonado, it crosses the border into Bolivia, where it eventually joins up with the Beni and takes that name. Not too much further downstream it becomes the Madeira and forms part of the border between Bolivia and Brazil. It's the Madeira for the rest of its journey to the Amazon. Quite a pedigree! We were honored to travel on it, as well as very impressed by the scenery.

In the left picture below you can get an idea of the width of the river over Kathy's shoulder. In the middle is Eric, one of the friendly Reserva Amazonica staff who picked us up at the airport and shepherded us to the lodge. On the right is what the loaded boat looked like, full of fellow tourists, almost all from the U.S., and headed for our lodge. One important exception is the gentleman behind the girl with the sunglasses. That's our friend Russell, from Blackburn, England, although we didn't know it at the time the picture was taken. (You can see a better picture of him here, when we ran into him in a completely different setting.)

Kathy on boat Eric Reserva Amazonica boat

Here are two more pictures of boats on the river. The first was taken from high up on the bank at our lodge, the second from river level.

Boat on river Boat on river

The following two lovely pictures might give you an even better idea of the size of the river, especially the one on the left, taken early in the morning when there was still a good bit of mist in the air:

river with mist river thru the trees

As might this amazing shot of sunrise on the river (I'm glad Henry gets up early enough to get these pictures; if left to me we'd never see scenes like this):

Sunrise on river

These pictures show at least part of the very large island that was across the river from our lodge. It's sometimes called Monkey Island but its proper name is Rolin. One of the lodge's activities that we didn't have time to do was a day-long trip to this island.

Island Island Island

Henry was quite taken with the boats and took many pictures of them. Note the extremely long shaft on the motor in the picture on the left. All of the boats had motors like this, necessary for navigating a river full of sandbars and of varying depth.

Boats Boat

Here is one of our friendly boatmen, who took us to the sites of our activities; also another shot of a boat through the trees on the bank.

Boat driver Boat on river

Of course the boats aren't just used for hauling tourists around. Here is one full of green bananas heading for Puerto Maldonado. We saw them while we were on our way there, too, to catch our plane for Cusco.

Banana boat

And I suppose we can forgive Henry's fascination with the boats, when the results are such gorgeous photos as these:

Boat on river Sunrise on river

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All photos, unless otherwise credited, are © by Henry J. Amen III. Please do not use without permission.