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Jungle unhindered: where in the world?

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Old Saturday 28th September 2019, 21:56   #51
albatross02
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Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
Well that's changes since I was there, we never took or saw a guide whilst there, finding our own Javan Night Heron, Coral-billed Ground Cucloo and Eared Pitta etc.

Re camping, I'd imagine this rule is aimed at keeping the park free from litter among other things, many places in Asia, even National Parks, suffer terribly from littering.
There are more good birding place in Thailand e.g. Nam Nao national park.
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Old Tuesday 19th November 2019, 00:45   #52
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A brief summary of what we found out in Ecuador - I will make a report later, as we are still here (but only Mindo is ahead, where no surprises are expected):

- Panacocha: a village straight in the rainforest with impenetrable jungle starting right when the tarmac ends. Accessible with a public boat, has a "hotel" and eateries, so you can stay there indefinitely if you wish so; camping doesn't make much sense here. There are wetlands and streams limiting access and the jungle is quite dense, but there is a broad trail (probably at some point passed by a small car?) a few kms north which reaches some rainforest and then plantations. At least a part of this is private, as we learned from the owner, but he was mostly okay with us. In general a great place "in the amazon" but not much room for jungle solitude.

- Limoncocha: From some reports online I got the idea that one can walk in the reserve, which is not true. Guided only, you need a boat to reach the trails anyway.

- Sumaco: We decided to try yo just walk out of Pacto towards the park, got stopped and told we must have a guide, no deal possible. The only way was to stay in Pacto and take day trips, which don't need a guide for some reason. We did so and it was great, the "community tourism center" offers a covered deck for open air sleep (just put up a net) with views of the volcano and lots of birds directly from the deck for $5 per person. It was so great I stopped being pissed about the failure to trek, until in the second night some drunk locals came and made it less optimal. The trail up towards the park is a bit hard in places, but we made a nice day trip on a part of it, more places are around the village. There are also nice trails down the road, but we learned now online that they belong to wildsumaco lodge (despite being far from it and on the other side of the road) and one should pay $30 per day for those. Well, I now feel actually bad for "stealing" a trail or two from them, but seriously, they need to post signs saying so, if they want to collect fees. We honestly thought that a sign "trail x" on a public road with no further information is an invitation to go there. If there was any sign this is private, se would have obliged for sure.

- Jatun Sacha near Tena: a typical "day trip reserve", so no adventure here either. But a pretty nice jungle, with a plenty if trails, even if a bit small. I enjoyed the nature a lot despite an almost fascinating lack of any birds. I am used to jungle birding being hard, but this was quite staggering, how despite a 7-hour effort, we saw one woodpecker, some oropendolas and caciques and a toucan flyover and that's it.

Overall this was a nice trip, even though it was mostly a failure in searching for a place to jungle trek. I am beginning to feel really stupid about this: I know for a fact that people do trek in jungles independently, but I just can't find any place to do so for years. I feel like I need to take a step back and start reading some books from travellers (which is usually extremely painful to me, as those people are notoriously self-involved) because googling doesn't bring much, as nowadays searches are just overwhelmed with commerical material, so everything leads to tour operators. Yes, I am now a bit wiser when it comes to day-triping in tropics and I have many ideas where to go next thanks to you lot, but I still feel there is more. In other biomes, I can just pack my backpack and go somewhere alone for days and it works, there must be a way to do it in the jungle. At least there is still a frontier to explore!
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Old Wednesday 20th November 2019, 23:47   #53
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And I was thinking there will be no surprises in Mindo: we just arrived to Yellow House and were given the options of suffocating in the heat or getting eaten by mosquitoes because apparently a $20 per person accomodation can't afford to put mosquito nets in windows - and the rooms are quite unfriendly to our own nets (especially our couple's bed). This is simply staggering to me - I have literally no other requirements for an accomodation (I was very happy in Sumaco with just a roof with no walls nor anything else), but being able to protect myself from insects ...
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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 01:43   #54
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That is strange, I am quite easily upset by mosquitos and I do not remember any problems with those at yellow house ...

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Old Thursday 21st November 2019, 11:30   #55
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That is strange, I am quite easily upset by mosquitos and I do not remember any problems with those at yellow house ...

Niels
Well I have met some and that's enough to upset me :) I live in Poland, bravely without any nets and a single buzzer can take me to insane lengths to kill it ... However we made a nice chastity setup from two nets above the bed here and it's fine. The possible discomfort is worth the access to the property, we hiked all the trails already in the night, found some Potoos and even arboreal mammals (that we are yet to ID).
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Old Friday 22nd November 2019, 18:47   #56
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Good for you. The bear is sometimes seen in the area according to what i have heard.

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Old Friday 29th November 2019, 14:11   #57
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Suriname might be just what you are looking for Jan, I've been there, few people and a vast wilderness.
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Old Monday 2nd December 2019, 10:01   #58
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Suriname might be just what you are looking for Jan, I've been there, few people and a vast wilderness.
I am intrigued! Apparently a very safe country, a little annoying with visa, but it's at least online now (just expensive). However very little online info, looks like nobody was ever there, which is even more of a reason to go :) But frequently people mention that it is very hard and expensive to get anywhere in the wild as there is no infrastructure, no roads, so everything needs you to charter boats privately or take tours (ugh...). Do you have any idea how this is?

edit: just checked some flights, both suriname and french guyana are obscenely expensive a month out, so I wiuld have to fish out some better deals to justify them as a destination
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Old Monday 2nd December 2019, 10:30   #59
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I am intrigued! Apparently a very safe country, a little annoying with visa, but it's at least online now (just expensive). However very little online info, looks like nobody was ever there, which is even more of a reason to go :) But frequently people mention that it is very hard and expensive to get anywhere in the wild as there is no infrastructure, no roads, so everything needs you to charter boats privately or take tours (ugh...). Do you have any idea how this is?
I've been and loved it, and have friends that have been since. I didn't need a Visa and was unaware that you did, maybe that's just country specific.
As for transportation, we did a lot by dug out canoe and some of those were supplying villages in the interior. Certainly not a particularly comfortable way to travel, some long days, but incredible wildlife.
I birded with Otto, so he'd be my recommended contact for any info as he's lived there for years, understands the birds, infrastructure and knows the villages - https://www.planktonik.com/birdingsuriname/
Obviously he's now involved with selling tours, but that was always the idea and the reason for my visit in a recce on behalf of the authorities.
But I'm pretty sure it's doable on a budget that suites providing you have the time. A friend of mine has since travelled there independently - http://wilybird.com/suriname-tripreport/

Worth investigating further, one of my favourite trips!

Re Flights, Keep an eye on 'sale' periods, I've known KLM flights to Paramaribo sell for reasonable amounts during those periods.
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Old Monday 2nd December 2019, 11:29   #60
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actually another vote for Suriname. A friend of mine (not too much into wildlife, more into adventure) went to Suriname. I have seen pictures of him in his plastic canoe, having to pull to boat in shallow sections with some small torrents, and also pictures of e.g. a Harpy eagle just above their boat on a small side river, Giant otters, Blue-and-yellow and Scarlet macaws, monkeys, Tapirs, tarantulas, fer de lance, ...
He said he stayed like a week just trekking from A to B but had arranged a pick-up in B.

It was around the Kabalebo river, you'll need to fly in here:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ka...!4d-57.2269249
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Old Monday 2nd December 2019, 14:22   #61
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actually another vote for Suriname. A friend of mine (not too much into wildlife, more into adventure) went to Suriname. I have seen pictures of him in his plastic canoe, having to pull to boat in shallow sections with some small torrents, and also pictures of e.g. a Harpy eagle just above their boat on a small side river, Giant otters, Blue-and-yellow and Scarlet macaws, monkeys, Tapirs, tarantulas, fer de lance, ...
He said he stayed like a week just trekking from A to B but had arranged a pick-up in B.

It was around the Kabalebo river, you'll need to fly in here:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ka...!4d-57.2269249
He was trekking on foot, or boating from A to B multiday? Sounds like the second, how did he get the boat there? I am getting the feeling this could be a good application for my inflatable boat, transportable by airplane :)
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Old Tuesday 3rd December 2019, 08:42   #62
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he got the boats from that lodge I guess. They were hard plastic red kanoes. Quite sturdy as they had to pull them over some rocky low streambeds from time to time (but he commented that river was unusually low).

So mostly boating, but ofcourse quite possible to do hiking in between from the river. Best to bring a machete I guess!

the possible drawback for you can be that you can fly in there, but that airstrip is really only for that lodge, so maybe you have to book a package (which is, typically, very expensive). I can ask what he did and how much he paid. He is the adventurous kind of guy that doesn't want to splash the cash too much on expensive things.
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Old Tuesday 3rd December 2019, 08:49   #63
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Great, if you could get any info, this sounds like fantastic intel, especially if you have a free-spirited traveller lile that as a contact!
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