Banos Travel Blog› entry 13 of 14 › view all entries
We spent Tuesday in the Amazon rainforest.
We canoes out to a wildlife sanctuary, where we were greeted by playful squirrel
monkeys and rehabilitated woolly monkeys and Capuchin monkeys. Capuchin monkeys
are meant to be the most intelligent of the
We went on a short hike through the
rainforest. We saw Hairdresser bees (so called because they can’t sting but
they swarm into your hair and pull on it), tiny poison arrow frogs, rubber trees
(locals make toy balls from it), Drago’s Blood (the sap of the tree is used to
treat sore throats), Santo Maria Palm (boiled and used to treat bruises), palms
that are used for weaving and termite nests.
The forest around here was not the old
growth rainforest of the deep Amazon, but 25 year old secondary forest,
although there were some older iron wood trees that housed bromeliads.
After our walk we went back to the boat and drifted down the river in rubber tubes, watching eagles soar above us, river turtles basking and squirrel monkeys playing on the shore.
We had a swim in the pool after lunch, and
then visited a local tribal house where they gave us a demonstration of their
cooking, skill at the blow pipe and their pottery making (while the kids were
distracted playing with a rhinoceros beetle). The most famous craft of the
Amazon Indians was the creation of shrunken heads, which were made by cutting
off the heads of enemies, opening the scalp and removing the skull and other
bones by crushing them and withdrawing them. The flesh was then filled with hot
sand, sewn up, and coated with the juice of a local berry to preserve it. As
the skin dried and shrank, the head was reopened, a little sand was removed,
and it was resealed, keeping sure to preserve the features by reworking the
flesh into the sand. When it shrank to 1-2 inches it was finally smoke-cured.
Rather than shrunken heads we bought a small pottery bowl and a bottle of Drago’s