Thursday, June 6, 2019

Dr. Danté Fenolio, Vice President of Conservation and Research at the San Antonio Zoo, and one of the co-hosts of the GreenTracks Amazon Herping Tour as well as the host of the GreenTracks Amazon Photography Tour has now also taken the position as Director of Research for the Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies (ACTS).  This 250,000 acre tract of  primary rainforest is full of incredible wildlife, a lodge and a 500 meter canopy walkway that establish a perfect research site. Take a look at the ACTS Facebook page to follow the research going on there.

We congratulate Danté and wish him great success. 

Links of interest:

ACTS and Canopy Walkway:

Trips with Danté (Some space still available on 2019 trips):


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Brazilian Amazon rainforest lost 739 square kilometers to deforestation in May — or the equivalent of two soccer fields a minute. It's the worst rate of deforestation since the current satellite monitoring methods began, and is "prompting concerns that President Jair Bolsonaro is giving a free pass to illegal logging, farming and mining."


Monday, May 13, 2019

We work hard to organize trips that suit each person’s desires. So it is very satisfying to receive comments such as these.

 " Hi George,
The trip was great! I am sorry I have not communicated that with you yet, it was my intent but things got super busy back here.
The two people we had the most interaction with were Ronnie in the dining room and he made up our cabin and Charlie are guide. They were both top-notch. The other guys were very good as well, we just didn’t have that much interaction with them. We’ve had the opportunity to travel quite a bit and we both agreed this is the best trip we’ve ever been on.
We also have a video of Charlie catching an anaconda and my holding it. If you’ve not seen it I’ll try to forward it to you.
Again great trip!”

Brad McWilliams "


Thursday, May 9, 2019

Looking for Adventure? Maybe not this much.

Amazon riverboat trips are often referred to as “Adventure travel” and while that is still the case, in the early days that often meant “un-predictable”. Back in 2000 I worked for the first of the riverboat tourism companies, Amazon Tours & Cruises, and we operated two riverboats that cruised between Iquitos, Peru, and Leticia, Colombia. Every now and then I’d board the 44 passenger Rio Amazonas to take the one week cruise as a little vacation. Meeting the passengers, from all over the world, was fun and I didn’t have to pay my bar bill. To cover the distance in a week we had to sail through the night which is rarely, if ever, done any more.
We were on our second night out when the “adventure” part of the trip kicked in.  About 11 p.m, I was suddenly awakened by the boat shuddering to a stop. I knew immediately that we had run aground. I got dressed and went up to the wheelhouse and was told we had run into a submerged sandbar.  The pilot tried reversing the engine and backing out, but the bow was wedged deeply into the sandbar.  Plan B was then initiated and they tried wiggling the stern from side to side to loosen the bow from the sandbar.  That didn’t work either. As the Captain and crew were discussing what a Plan C might be a very large, unladen, cargo boat came into view. The Rio Amazonas Captain radioed the cargo boat, the Rauda III, and asked for assistance.
The Rauda pulled in beside us and up to the sandbar - with their flat hull they weren’t risking getting stuck like we were. The crews used a heavy, braided rope and lashed the bows of the two boats together. Using their two powerful engines the Rauda started backing up, hoping to pull us off.  With engines roaring and no progress being made there was suddenly a very loud “bang”, that sounded like a cannon, as the rope snapped.  Luckily, no crew members were near by as they could have been cut in half by the severed rope ends whipping about. The sound of the rope snapping finally woke the passengers up and many of them started to come out of their cabins and up to the observation deck to see what was going on.
On to Plan D (it was now about 2 a.m.).  This time it was decided to put the two boats stern to stern and lash them together with a thin, old, rusty cable and pull us off the sandbar. Then the fun began as they tried to get the two boats positioned in a straight line. In the best imitation of the 3 Stooges our skiff was used as a “bow thruster” to move the bow of the Rauda into position, but the skiff driver always pushed too hard and the Rauda bow would swing past the center line.  He would then go around to the other side and push the bow again, but with too much gusto.  Members of both crews were yelling instructions and cussing the skiff driver out. It was at the point one of the Australian passengers came up to me and said, “You’d think they would at least open the bloody bar.” (I went down to the barman’s cabin to ask him to open the bar, but he angrily refused, “I’m sleeping.”)
After nearly an hour they finally got things lined up and we were pulled off the sandbar, which elicited a loud cheer from the passengers. Just then a British gentleman appeared, in his pajamas, and innocently asked, “Oh, are we stopped?”
For their assistance we owed the Rauda a hundred gallons of fuel. So, once again they brought the boats side by side and lashed them together.  A pump was set up on our deck near the hatch of one of the fuel tanks and a 3/4" garden hose was attached and we began pumping fuel over to the Rauda, where they had a series of 5 gallon plastic buckets and a crew member who held the hose in one hand to fill the buckets and a lit cigarette in the other. This really freaked out the passengers, but it was diesel fuel and not gasoline (otherwise I wouldn’t be here to write about this Amazon Adventure).
- Scott Humfeld


Monday, May 6, 2019

Civilization Is Accelerating Extinction 

and Altering the 

Natural World at a Pace

 ‘Unprecedented in Human History’


Friday, April 19, 2019

On the southern side of Iquitos is the “suburb” of Belen. This is the poorest part of Iquitos and is built on two levels. The lower level is along the bank of the Itaya River and floods when the river rises annually. Therefore, the houses are either built on stilts or on a base of balsa logs so they will float when the river comes up.  During this time Belen is known as the “Venice of the Amazon” and people get around in canoes and small boats. The other part of Belen is on higher ground that does not flood and this is where most of the people live in thatch-roofed shacks on dirt streets too narrow for a car to pass. 
This part of Belen is also home to a number of shops selling all kinds of cheap household goods and clothes as the well as the fascinating Belen Market where one can kind all kinds of tropical fruits and fresh fish and meat (early in the morning). There is also a narrow street that sells medicinal plants, roots and various concoctions that supposedly cure any number of ailments. This is a popular place to visit by tourists.
As people continue to move into Iquitos from villages in the surrounding forest, for perceived economic and social advantages, many find their first homes in the Belen district. In a way, people residing in Belen are still living their lives in a manner similar to when they lived in remote villages.

A photo blog of Belen:


Monday, April 15, 2019

Known as the “Father of Ethnobotany” for his research on the relationship between people and plants Schultes was one of the most important explorers of the Amazon.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Photo history of Iquitos, Peru, PART 2

Iquitos, Peru, founded in 1864 on the banks of the Amazon River, has a rich and varied history. Here we present a photo history of this remote, but vibrant, city.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Iquitos, Peru, founded in 1864 on the banks of the Amazon River, has a rich and varied history. Here we present a photo history of this remote, but vibrant, city.
We will post Part 2 tomorrow.


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Netflix’s Our Planet 

Unfortunately, most news about the environment is bad and true. So for years we have concentrated on celebrating the good things, hoping that might inspire people to become involved. We still do that, but the global situation has become so alarming that the big documentaries are now choosing to confront the problem head on. We applaud them for being honest and we hope everyone watches!


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Scott’s house in Pevas, Peru.

I first visited te Peruvian Amazon in 1992. I was immediately hooked by the rainforest, the culture and the people. In 1993 I moved to the small town of Pevas, Peru, where I put my skills as a Registered Nurse to use operating a small clinic for several years. After the Peruvian Ministry of Health built a new facility in Pevas I closed my clinic and worked to assist the new clinic with getting donations of medicines and supplies as well as encouraging visits by volunteer physicians/nurses and working with the non-profit Project Amazonas.  In 2000 I moved to Iquitos to work for a tour operator who owned several river boats. During that time I met Bill Lamar and George Ledvina and in 2006 I went to work for their company, GreenTracks as Iquitos Operations Manager and occasional riverboat expedition tour leader.
It has been an interesting life, to say the least.
 - Scott Humfeld -

The Commandante

I had only been living in Pevas for about a year when early one morning there was a heavy pounding on the door that woke me up. When I went down and opened the door there stood two soldiers with sidearms.

There is an army base just down river from Pevas that is home to a Jungle Battalion that is basically a bunch of young guys with AK-47's. I had met the Comandante and his wife at friend’s house once. The Comandante of the base was a big guy with a beer belly and crew cut who wears combat boots, camouflage pants, a .45 caliber pistol on his hip and a super tight white t-shirt. His wife goes everywhere with him and it seems her entire wardrobe consists of track suits of varying bright colors. She walks a few steps behind the Comanadante. I’m not usually intimidated by people, but I found the Comadante to be intimidating as he was a stereotypical Third World military guy. His default facial expression was “who should I shoot next.”

One of the soldiers said I was to come with them. I asked what this was about and was only told, “We have orders to take you to the base.” This was unnerving as I was still in country on a tourist visa and because the Comandante made me quite uncomfortable. I again asked what this was all about and received the same answer. I got dressed and put my passport in my pocket and followed the soldiers down to the main port.

We got in their boat and headed to the base, a ten minute ride. On the way I was trying to think if I had done anything that would get me in trouble or maybe I had offended someone. The thought of being placed against a wall and shot came to mind. My anxiety increased as we got closer and closer to the base.

Upon arrival we walked up the hill and past the entry gate where there was a mounted machine gun. All the young soldiers stared at me. My two escorts took me right to the Comandante’s quarters where they knocked on the door and then left me. I could feel sweat rolling down my back and it wasn’t from the tropical heat.

The Comandante’s wife answered the door and said, “I’m so glad you are here. I have this new video camera, but the instruction book is in English and I need someone to teach me how to use the camera.” I searched my meager Spanish for a way to say, “You couldn’t have sent a note?”

I went inside and spent a couple of hours teaching her to use the camera. She then invited me for an early lunch and just as we sat down at the table the Comandante came in. He walked up to me, smiled, shook my hand and thanked me for coming. He ordered his wife to bring us a couple beers.

After lunch my same two escorts took me home and I sat for a while until my adrenaline level got back to normal.


Thursday, March 7, 2019

This article discuses why the Upper Amazon Basin has such high biodiversity, with the highest number of species of plants and animals on the planet. Several theories are explained. While much research has been done on this subject, much more work remains to be done... All while the habitats continue to disappear.

If you found this article interesting, please share with your friends.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Western Black-chested Buzzard-eagle
(Geranoaetus melanoleucus australis)

See them while they last!  Fourteen percent of the global population
 of birds isthreatened with extinction. We go to see them flying wild
 as often as possible.


Thursday, February 28, 2019

See them while they last!  Twenty-five percent of the earth’s mammal species are presently facing extinction.  Seeing Amazonian mammals in the wild will one day be impossible.


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

See them while they last!  One third of all insect species are endangered and their biomass—the sum total of all insects on Earth—is shrinking by 2.5% annually.  This means a lot of things, none of them good. Seeing and photographing some of the Amazon’s fabulous arthropods won’t in its self save them, but it does inspire a new awareness to do what we can to protect those that remain.


Monday, February 25, 2019

See them while they last!  Forty percent of the world’s amphibian species are now threatened with extinction.  We support all efforts to stop the decline, but at the same time we’re traveling to observe them in the wild every chance we get.


Friday, February 22, 2019

'Extinct' Galapagos tortoise found after 100 years

GreenTracks offers natural history tours in the Galapagos.


Friday, February 15, 2019

The danger of mis-identification.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Photo: Tomb of Lord of Sipán

10% Discount on Northern Peru Programs

Northern Peru: The Coast

The civilizations of the Northern coast of Peru are known for their stunning achievements in architecture, ceramics and metallurgy.

The Moche culture (also known as Mochica), 100 to 600 A.D., located along the coast between Trujillo and Chiclayo, were known for their pyramids and ceramic work which often documented social activities. The temples of Moon and Sun illustrate the wealth and power of the Moche leaders in their murals and burial sites, including the tomb of the Lord of Sipan.

 The Lambayeque culture (also known as Sican), 750 to 1375 A.D., built the town of Tucume in an area now known as the Valley of 26 Pyramids near present day Chiclayo. They also expanded the canal system for use in agriculture. The Museum of the Royal Tombs and the Museum of Sican are filled with exquisite gold and ceramic artifacts.
There are also forests that are home to the Spectacled Bear, the only bear species in Peru and birdwatchers can see the 40 unique species of birds in the area including the Marvelous Spatuletail Hummingbird. Near Trujillo are the haciendas where the famous “Paso Fino” horses are bred and raised. These horses are known for their smooth ride and ambling gait.

The Chimu culture, 1200-1470 AD,  covered territory from north of Lima all the way up to Tumbes, near the present day Ecuadorian border. Their capitol, Chan Chan, near Trujillo, where the palaces of the Chimu kings can be found, is the largest pre-Hispanic settlement in the Americas. This culture focused on agriculture but was also adept at metallurgy and ceramics. The Spanish were so impressed with the metal works that they moved the metal workers to Cuzco. The Chan Chan site is notable for its very tall walls, some as high as 26 feet, that separated the kings from the “commoners”.

GreenTracks offers 9 tour programs in Northern Peru from 3 to 8 day lengths.

And, for map lovers, like us here at GreenTracks, we have a great map of Northern Peru.

Stay tuned as we have even more to pique your interest in Northern Peru.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

People hiking to the Revash funerary complex nestled in limestone cliffs overlooking the Utcubamba River

Northern Peru - The Interior

The Chachapoyas civilization (1st to 15th century) was one of the last pre-Inca cultures to be defeated by the Spanish, in the second half of the 15th century. The Chachapoyas built one of South America’s archaeological wonders, the mountain fortress of Kuelap, which contained homes,  palaces and temples surrounded by a 70 foot stone wall. Nearby is the Revash mausoleum & the Mummy museum at Leymebamba. 

The Cajamarca people inhabited an area south-west of Chachapoyas for over 2,000 years before being conquered by the Incas. This area is best known for the Battle of Cajamarca, in 1532, when the Spanish, led by Francisco Pizzaro, captured Cajamarca and the Inca leader Atahualpa. Even though the Spanish were offered a room filled with gold and silver in exchange for his release Atahualpa was executed and the treasure was taken. The Ransom Room still exists and  is open to visitors. Located a short distance from Cajamarca is the Ventanillas de Otuzco, a mortuary enclosure built into the side of a cliff. It is believed that most of the bodies were either moved, or looted, at some point although some skeletal remains and ceramics can still be seen. Nearby is Cumbemayo with its rock pillars covered in petroglyphs and the 3,00 year old aqueduct system that is one of the oldest in South America,

GreenTracks offers 9 tour programs in Northern Peru from 3 to 8 day lengths.


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

For 27 years GreenTracks has been known for being Amazon travel experts. Beside our interest in the natural world we have an interest in ancient cultures and history so we also offer Machu Picchu and Cuzco as a travel destinations.  Some people have started raising the issue of too many people at Machu Picchu, but it is still worth putting up with all those people, to have a once in a lifetime experience.

Peru is rich in ancient civilizations, history, archaeology and incredible geography. Northern Peru was home to several different pre-Inca civilizations and abounds with archaeology sites, still being excavated.

Only recently has Peru taken to opening up these areas to tourism.  Over the next few days and weeks we plan to expose you to a whole new old-world of travel possibilities. We have 22 inter-linked pages of historical, archaeological and travel/tour information.   So, get ready to expand your bucket list...

We’ll start with the basics and get more specific as we go.

The Northern Coast of Peru: Chiclayo and Trujillo
Evidence of ancient cultures and their incredible achievements.

Lost World of the Chachapoyas
 "People of the Clouds" and the Fortess of Kuelap

The photo is of Kuelap, by the Chachapoyas people.


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Travel to the colorful  city of Cuzco with its combination of the legacy of the Incas and colonial Spanish architecture is a an experience you will thoroughly enjoy. And Cuzco is the starting point for travel to the Sacred Valley, with its beauty, Andean villages and Inca sites, and then on to a visit to the "Lost City of Machu Picchu", one of the world's most impressive archaeological sites,    with its rich history, stunning views, terraces and unrivaled stone-work architecture makes for a trip that will will be talking about for years to come..

Check out the new page on our website with photos of the Sacred Valley, Cuzco and Machu Picchu taken by GreenTracks staff and travelers.


Monday, January 14, 2019

The GreenTracks 5th Annual Amazon Herping Tour, November 2-9, 2019, is half full at this time, so space is still available, but likely to go quickly. There is only going to be one trip this year, and these  trips do Sell Out, so getting signed up soon is a good idea. It’s easy to do with the online booking application. A partly refundable $200 deposit is all it takes and the balance isn’t due until September 18. These trips have become quite popular and we always come across a lot of cool reptiles and amphibians, as well as other rainforest wildlife. Here is the link to the webpage with all the details.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Iguanas reintroduced to Galapagos island after 200 years.