Monday, June 28, 2010


The River of Doubt - Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
by Candice Millard. 2005.

Doubleday, New York

Easily the best treatise of Roosevelt’s famous trip to Brazil. A fascinating read with clear documentation and an excellent bibliography. The only shortcoming we detected was the author’s lack of familiarity with the Amazonian fauna. Owing to that, she was unable to point out the fact that Roosevelt and crew often labored under the mis-perceptions of the time. This in no way diminished their courage, just as Columbus braved the flat-earth theorists when he set sail. Today, we know much more about the behavior of piranhas, anacondas, and jaguars, to name a few, and much of the fear at the time was unnecessary. “And an ingenious Spaniard says, that rivers and the inhabitants of the watery element were made for wise men to contemplate, and fools to pass by without consideration.”– Izaak Walton

More info/Order


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In Memory of Peter Jenson

Forty-six years ago Peter Jenson, an American archaeologist & geologist, started one of the first jungle lodges in the Iquitos, Peru, area. Since then Amazon Explorama Lodges has expanded to
become a complex of four lodges and ACTS (Amazon Conservatory of Tropical Studies), a field station for research and a spectacular canopy walkway. During this time countless Peruvians built careers and reputations while working under Peter's tutelage. Peter also started a program for student groups to come learn about the rainforest. His love for the rainforest and the local people fueled his work over the years. He loved to laugh and tell stories and educate people about the rainforest.

Peter was diagnosed with cancer last September and after treatment at the Mayo Clinic he returned to the rainforest he loved so much. In his final weeks he discussed how things could continue to be improved. Sadly, Peter passed away June 20th. Hundreds of people lined the river to honor Peter, and emails of condolence and stories of Peter's impact on so many people have come pouring in.

Peter was friendly and kind to all and will be deeply missed. His wish was to be cremated and to have his ashes scattered from the top platform at the canopy walkway, over the rainforest he loved.


Monday, June 21, 2010

GreenTracks Amazon Riverboat Expeditions

A cruise aboard a comfortable riverboat is your best opportunity to see the magic of the rainforest and the Amazon River, one of the most exciting places on earth, with GreenTracks, a company that is known world-wide for it's intimate knowledge of this exotic land. You will have the Amazon Riverboat experience of a lifetime.

Our cruises on the Ayapua & Clavero riverboats travel to the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, the largest protected natural area in Peru, with 5,139,680 acres - 10,800 square miles, it stands today as one of the largest and most important wildernesses in all the tropics. The Pacaya-Samiria is home to some of the largest populations of wildlife in all the Amazon. Hordes of pink and gray river dolphins, packs of howler and squirrel monkeys, massive flocks of brilliant macaws, huge lagoons covered in giant lily pads teeming with fish of all sizes and colors....all of these and more mark the region as Another World. Simply put, it is one of the least visited and most beautiful parts of the Amazon Basin.
The Ayapua is the only boat still operating that was used to transport rubber on the remote rivers of the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon during the early part of the 20th century. She was built in Hamburg, Germany in 1906 and from 2004 to 2006 she was restored to her original splendor with many original features incorporated.

The Clavero is the oldest historic riverboat on the entire Amazon. She was originally built in Paris, France in 1876 and brought over to the Amazon for use as a Peruvian naval boat. The Clavero was used for government expeditions exploring the Peruvian Amazon and as a mail boat. She was completely restored between 2007-2009 with many of her original features incorporated.

On the 7 Day cruise, you will observe wildlife along the Samiria River with activities to include: Small boat excursions for river dolphin, macaw, monkey and other wildlife observation, rainforest hikes in search of wildlife, piranha fishing, nighttime caiman observation and night hikes in the forest. There is a lot of wildlife to observe and a lot of excellent photo opportunities. Visit to a local Cocama indigenous village and meet the people and see how they live and interact with the rainforest.

GreenTracks Amazon Cruises


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

UPDATE - Saving Darwin's Frogs

Most everyone knows it is not a good time to be an amphibian. Chytrid fungus, global warming, rampant contamination of air and's depressing just writing about it. GreenTracks got to lend a helping hand when Bill Lamar went to Santiago, Chile, last September to assist in setting up breeding units to aid in conservation of Darwin's Frog.

Not only is the frog, a native of South America's southern temperate rainforests, a beautiful creature, but also we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of its namesake: Charles Darwin. Darwin discovered this little frog during his epic voyage on the HMS Beagle.

Funded by the Atlanta Botanical Garden the new facility is in Chile's excellent National Zoo, and without their enthusiastic help, the task of getting everything assembled would have been impossible, and a lot less pleasant. The project is also funding critical field work in order to establish how much suitable habitat and how many frog populations remain. GreenTracks is committed to conserving the Earth's resources and we join all Chileans in the hope that this project will be a success.

We are all very pleased with how the climate control worked through the heat of Santiago’s summer. We wanted to wait to add frogs to the facility until we were sure all environmental systems were on line and working properly. We also added some safety precautions just in case something interrupted power or water services. One of our interpretive features includes a large statue of a Darwin’s Frog built by Chilean artist Bernardo Oryan. Our hope is that the large figure will draw in folks to the breeding center where they can investigate the frogs and our project.

Update - May 14, 2010
Once all of the environmental systems in our captive breeding facility checked out, we added our first group of frogs. Somewhat surprisingly, the frogs immediately began enacting reproductive behavior. We had calling and a bit of dancing around between males and females. We are happy to report that we already have at least one male frog holding developing young in his vocal sac!

This is the the female that we believe bred with our male. Her job is now done. Female frogs deposit eggs and the male frogs take over from there.

This is the male Darwin's Frog that is holding developing young in his vocal sac.

Saving Darwin's Frog


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Machu Picchu artifacts held by Yale belong to Peru

Living in Peru
11 June, 2010

Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, who visited Latin America last week, said it was time for Yale University to return a collection of Peruvian antiquities taken from the Incan site of Machu Picchu nearly a century ago.
“The Machu Picchu artifacts do not belong to any government, to any institution, or to any university. They belong to the people of Peru. I plan to work with both parties to resolve this dispute quickly, amicably, and return the artifacts to their rightful owners,” he said in a statement.

“Yale is a remarkable institution whose countless contributions to our society extend far beyond academia alone. And for years, I have worked with Yale and Peru to seek a solution to this disagreement over the artifacts discovered at Machu Picchu, and housed at the Peabody Museum in New Haven," he added.

Peru filed a lawsuit against Yale over the artifacts in 2008, and its tourism leaders say they may launch a media campaign to raise awareness about the dispute.



Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Madidi National Park, Bolivia

For those looking for a profoundly “real” Amazon experience, Bolivia's Madidi National Park offers everything available in the more well-traveled areas...and more. This region has been described as the archetype of what the Amazon used to be like and it has it all; dense rain-forest, vast open savannas, winding tropical rivers, large numbers of birds and mammals, and the seldom seen indigenous people of the tropical rainforest.

Because of the wide range of altitudes found in the Madidi National Park there is a huge diversity of ecoregions where it is estimated that between 5,000 and 6,000 plants are found. There 733 species of fauna listed as living in Madidi National Park. These include almost all taxonomic groups of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. 620 species of birds have been registered although there are an estimated 1,100 species in the Park - around 90% of the birds found in Bolivia.

The 20-person lodge is owned and operated by the natives of the village of San Jose - a few hours by boat up the Tuichi River from Chalalan. Residents of this region for generations, these Quechua-Tacana people have the skills to guide you safely along the rainforest trails viewing the abundant wildlife. Day and night hikes will reveal the diversity of animals and plants that make this park one of the most exciting in the world. You will certainly have a profound experience of a truly wild region of the Amazon.



Saturday, June 5, 2010

FREE GreenTracks CD-Rom

Be sure to request your....

FREE GreenTracks CD-Rom of Amazon Information with an Amazon Slide Show.
Features over 200 images of animals, plants, people and scenes from the Amazon.
Photos taken by our tour leaders on GreenTracks tours.

Free Amazon CD-ROM


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Inti Raymi: Peru's Inca Sun Festival

El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

The city of Cusco will dress up again to worship the Inca god as Peru's ancestors once did. The Inti Raymi ceremony brings together over 500 performers on June 24 at the center of the Sacsahuamán archaeological park esplanade. As usual, hundreds of foreigners and Peruvians are expected.

According to the Municipal Company of Festivities in Cusco (Emufec), organizer of this event, over 40 percent of tickets have been purchased by foreign tourists who come to live the most important holiday of the empire.

The big celebration will begin in the morning in the temple of Coricancha. Then, the Inca and his entourage will go to the Plaza de Armas of Cusco and finally, after noon, the main ceremony will take place in Sacsahuamán.

You can enter freely to the first two venues, so be prepared to get there several hours in advance. To be part of the main ceremony, you must have tickets.