Travel, but travel with responsibility

Volunteering in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil

Now I tell you a bit about my fascinating, magical and enriching time in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. Words cannot describe, what I experienced there. But I´ll try to give you at least a little glimpse, about the things and feelings I experienced :)

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River Javarí and lagoon in front of the reserve

What did I do there?

From January to March 2017, I was volunteering at the Nature Reserve Palmari. My tasks there were mainly building up a connection between the visitors and the staff/guides of the reserve, who only speak Spanish and Portuguese, and translate everything for the visitors. Moreover, I supported the tourists with all their doubts and questions. And the most exciting thing: I went with them and a guide to the different jungle tours, walking and by kayak/canoa :)

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Walking in the jungle

What did I experience?

Like that I could deeply get to know the Amazon rain forest from all his sides. The experiences, that I collected here are unique and I do not want to miss them anymore. The magic of the jungle and the nature, with all its miracles, myths and legends has captured me completely. The simple and real life here in the nature and the completely different rhythm  of the day, far away from any big city, was a very special and unforgettable experience for me.

Sunsets on the lagoon

Sunsets on the lagoon

Some of the 1001 memories, that most stick into my mind, are: 

Colourful and magical sunsets on the kayak in the lagoon, where are plenty of pink and grey dolphins, in front of the reserve, the exploration of flora and fauna on jungle treks by foot through the Tierra Firme, where it´s possible to see monkeys, birds, frogs, different kinds of insects and spiders, sloths, anteaters, boas, etc., overnight stays in the jungle on the hammock, surrounded by a mosquito net and falling asleep with the sound of the jungle in the background, climbing up the mirador and observing stars and shooting stars, piranha fishing and eating them afterwards grilled or fried, tours on the boat along the river Javari and his side canals and lagoons,  tours on kayak, where it´s possible to always discover something new and watching the rising up of the water level, observing heavy rains while relaxing in the hammock with a cup of tea or coffee, night walks through the 100 % dark rainforest, where it´s possible to see different animals than during the day and especially luminous mushrooms and worms, which is an unforgettable experience, a refreshing swim and relaxing in the lagoons, after demanding kayak tours, and just experiencing everything around, the nature and its moods, including to be exposed to all kinds of insects and storms, and to learn to accept it and in the end, to like it. 

Insects everywhere

Insects everywhere

I really loved all that and I can say, that I learned a lot – about this unique place on earth, and all its special characteristics, the daily adventures, the people that live here and taught me a lot, and last but not least, I learned plenty of new things about myself.

About “Reserva Natural Palmari”

The Reserva Natural Palmari is located on the river Javarí, some three hours by boat from Tabatinga. First one has to take the speed boat to Benjamin Constant, and from there boats of the nature reserve picked us up. In low water level times, it´s possible to take a Jeep from Benjamin Constant to Tabatinga, and then a boat for about one hour to the reserve. In times of a high water level, it´s possible to drive the whole way from Benjamin Constant to the reserve.

The reserve is located on the terra firme, which means, that this kind of forest will never be flooded. Apart of this kind of rainforest, there are two other kinds, the Igapó (flooded forest) and Várzea, which is seasonally flooded (in winter time from about December to Mai).

When I came to the reserve, the Várzea forest was already partly flooded, but the water level was still rising a lot. Differences between summer and winter can be 10-12 meters! It´s absolutely crazy to see the landscape changing, new side arms of the river emerging and the water level on the lagoons are rising.

Lagoon

Lagoon

The site:

Here you can see the different buildings of the reserve: there is a main hall, for eating, hanging around, drinking Caipirinha :), the kitchen, and a small office. Outside are some hammocks, and there is also a huge swing. Then there is a hut, where people can sleep on the hammock, three private cabins and a bigger hut (Maloka), where people sleep on mattresses. And, most important for me, the look-out tower (Mirador) :)

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Entrance of to the reserve

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Mattresses in the Maloka, where also the volunteers sleep

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On the Mirador :)

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Connection path of cabins, mirador, maloka and main hall

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Hammocks in front of the main hall

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Bathrooms

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Mirador

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Main hall with kitchen

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Maloka

 

Jungle tours:

There were many different options, many things to do in and around the jungle. For example kayaking for hours or days on the river and the lagoons, watching dolphins, walking tours on the terra firme (where the vegetation is completely different, than in the flooded/semi-flooded forests), swimming in the river in the jungle, night walks, which are scary and fascinating at the same time, piranha fishing in the lagoons and rivers, sleeping in the jungle, visiting an impressively huge tree (Ceiba), visiting the surrounding communities, villages and ingenious communities. Everything is an adventure and always different!

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I really enjoyed the tours on the kayak or better, on the traditional canoe :)

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Looking for a good spot for fishing piranhas :)

Looking for a good spot for fishing piranhas :)

Walking with rubber boots in the impressive and dense rainforest - sometimes in deep clay or even in rivers

Walking with rubber boots in the impressive and dense rainforest – sometimes in deep clay or even in rivers

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Watch out for huge spikes on the trees

Watch out for huge spikes on the trees

This palm tree has spikes on the roots, people there use it to rasp vegetables in the kitchen

This palm tree has spikes on the roots, people there use it to rasp vegetables in the kitchen

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Ready for kayaking

Ready for kayaking

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On the way to the big Ceiba with Lea

On the way by boat to the big Ceiba (tree) with Lea

The huge tree - Ceiba

The huge tree – Ceiba. Should be between 500 and 800 years old, nobody really knows it. It´s a holy tree for the indians

Mushrooms on the trees

Mushrooms on the trees

Piranha fishing and preparing them later fried or grilled, they are very delicious

Piranha fishing and preparing them later fried or grilled, they are very delicious

Swimming and natural "Spa" with clay in the river

Swimming and natural “Spa” with clay in the river

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Walks to the “natural pool”, it´s crazy, a white sand beach in the middle of the jungle

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Visiting the communities

Visiting the communities

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Children of the community

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Yuca harvest in the communities. They eat a lot of yuka in many different forms, cooked, fried, processed to farinha, farofa o tapioca, used for deserts, etc.

Yuca harvest in the communities. They eat a lot of yuca in many different forms, cooked, fried, processed to farinha (yuca powder for food toppings), farofa (yuca powder with spices) or tapioca, used for deserts, etc.

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Looking for baby Caimans

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While walking though the jungle during the night, it´s probable, that you see those dudes :)

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…and those! Huge grasshoppers

Crazy creatures everywhere! This bird we found in the water, in front of the reserve, it was hurt through another animal

Crazy creatures everywhere! This bird we found in the water, in front of the reserve, it was hurt through another animal

 

Daily (craziness) life at the reserve 😉

Hanging around, chilling in the hammock, laughing, sharing stories, listening to music, watching stars, drinking Caipirinha and so on, with the other volunteers, visitors and the staff from the reserve. We had a really great time and share crazy adventures, that are only possible in the jungle and nobody ever can take these away from us :)

My dream team - Lea and Jazé

My favourites – Lea and Jazé :)

Dawn on the lagoon

Dawn on the lagoon

Sunsets on the lagoon in front of the reserve

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Those sky, cloud formations, colours, rainbows. I never saw something so intense, than here

Relaxing with a tea, while it´s raining heavily outside

Relaxing with a tea, while it´s raining heavily outside

Sunsets on the lagoon

Magical sunsets on the lagoon

Crazy weather

Crazy weather

Another beautiful day came to an end

Another beautiful day came to an end

Crazy Laura!!

Crazy Laura!!

Watching the sunset from the Mirador

Watching the sunset from the Mirador

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Jazé with Asaí. Who is annoying whom ;)

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Laura and Asaí

Laura and Asaí

Spiders in the kitchen

Spiders in the kitchen

Huge gekkos in the wardrobe...normal

Huge gekkos in the wardrobe…normal

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Mine and Lauras favourite place :)

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Asaí is champion in climbing, since he cannot fly anymore ;)

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Climbing and destroying things, for example books, journals and..cables -_-

We observed, how a dead gekko was taking away by ants in only 4 days

We observed, how a dead gekko was taking away by ants in only 4 days

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Relaxing in the hammock on the mirador

Relaxing in the hammock on the mirador

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Laura thinks she is a dog :D

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I hope, I could give you a little glimpse about my fascinating time at this very special place on earth.

I enjoyed it with all my heart and hope, that this little paradise will be protected and contribute in protecting the flora and fauna around it, through it´s projects and function as a paradigm for harmonious living complied with nature.

Thanks for reading!

-Sarita

PS: If you liked it, please share below! :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello, I´m Sarah! Welcome to my blog! I will give you tips and tell stories about responsible traveling, while taking care of our beautiful flora and fauna, and cultures.

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