Our Amazon Tour to the Butterfly Farm, Iquitos Peru
I found something for you. I wish you and everyone that comes to Iquitos Peru could spend one day full of fun and future memories at the Amazon Animal Orphanage and Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm. The biggest benefit for you would be to see and feel, and smell a lot of what you came to the Amazon hoping to see, and feel and smell in the first place. Let’s take an Amazon tour to the Butterfly Farm and let me show you what I mean.
You will find the Butterfly Farm in a beautiful barely tamed jungle setting with a riot of flowers, birds, monkeys, and yes of course, butterflies. As you hike the jungle trail, heliconias, ginger, and orchids are blooming, brushing up against you. Six species of Monkeys are climbing in the trees overhead. Two of the tamest monkeys, Junior and Tony want to climb on you.
That is what we discovered when Captain Bill Blaesing arranged an Amazon tour with us a few days ago. The deal was to use Dawn on the Amazon III for a full day trip with 11 of his friends as long as he was allowed to pilot “that beautiful boat”. From Captain Bill to Captain Bill, “Shake on it Bill, it’s a deal.”
Bill and I talked over several of our options and he decided we should also visit the Yagua indigenous village, watch for pink dolphins, and go swimming. He thought chicken would be good for lunch. When our day trip guests take the half priced Dawn on the Amazon I, the day trip comes with a nice picnic lunch, but when our guests charter Dawn on the Amazon III, it comes with a feast worthy of Thanksgiving. We planned a special day.
On the way to the Butterfly Farm a boy from one of the families told me “This day is very important for me.” That is a good attitude to bring on an Amazon tour.
When is a Butterfly Farm more than a Butterfly Farm?
A Butterfly Farm is more than just a butterfly farm when it is also an Amazon animal orphanage, a botanical garden, and an educational center. There are few places you can go to learn more about the rainforest eco-system than to the Amazon Animal Orphanage and Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm.
We learned how each butterfly species has one host plant species that it lays eggs on so that the larva can hatch right on the only food source to sustain its life cycle. The florescent Blue Morpho larva is brown and green to provide camouflage against predators. Some larvae are capable of releasing a foul smell to discourage predators. A few sting with poison. The coloration of the Owl Butterfly with a two large false eyes are useful to either frighten or confuse small birds that might attempt to to prey on it.
The beautiful and huge jaguar Pedro Bello lives in a very large cage with trees and jungle vegetation growing so thick we could not see him until he came to eat some meat. We learned the jaguar has the most powerful bite of any feline, powerful enough to bite through the protective armor of a turtle shell.
We learned that the tapir is related to the rhinoceros, and that petting and feeding a tapir is a nice experience. The tapir eats 80 pounds of fruit and vegetation per day.
We were surprised at how long and sticky the anteaters tongue is, and that its claws are very powerful for prying open rotten logs to eat the ants that live in the logs.
We saw that the Wattled Jacana toes are so long it can walk on floating vegetation.
That is only a small part of all the interesting things we learned. Every time I go to the butterfly farm I see and learn something new.
Captain Bill Blaesing was suitably impressed to leave a nice donation for Gudrun Sperrer, the owner of the Butterfly Farm, to help take care of the animals. Gudrun is one of my best and most interesting friends in Iquitos. She asked if we had room for one more passenger. Gudrun had never ridden on Dawn on the Amazon III and she was going to a friends wedding in Iquitos so we gave her a ride. One more thing we learned on the way is she is quitting her job as an English and German teacher at the university to devote full time to her unique creation of the Butterfly Farm. It is sure to say with her full time attention the quality of the experience will go up even more.
A feast for our guests
Back at the boat, our Peruvian grandmother had cooked up a feast for our guests. We cruised slowly up the Momon River watching the rainforest glide by as we devoured the tender chicken from the oven, complimented by mashed yellow potatoes from the Andes, some of the best brown rice I have ever eaten, cooked with toasted slivers of Brazil nuts, a fresh heart of palm salad with ripe avacodo, and fresh squeezed camu-camu juice. Did you know camu-camu has the highest vitamine C content of any substance on earth? That was the best meal I had eaten since the last one our Peruvian grandmother cooked.
We took target practice with a real blow gun at the Yagua village
At the Yagua village I was so full I barely managed to get off the boat. Our guests were happy to dance with the Yaguas to work off the big meal. Everyone that wanted took target practice with a real blow gun. Bill Blaesing showed us he could survive in the jungle by hitting the target every time. Bill negotiated with our Yagua hosts for a bunch of jungle jewelry, paid too much on purpose, and we were good for the Yagua economy.
We learned the Yagua tribe was living on the Peruvian side of the Putumayo River across from Columbia. They were living a dangerous and difficult life, trapped between the guerilla war activities with cocaine smugglers, gangs of robbers, and the armies from both countries. A non-profit organization helped them escape to their present location on the Momon River. They are nice people, trying to preserve their culture, barely scratching out a living on the fringe of civilization.
We cooled of with a refreshing swim
We chose a good place to tie the boat up and cooled off with a refreshing swim. Dawn III has a metal flap right at the water line where we fasten a ladder to make it easy to climb out of the water. The flap makes a great place to hang out, dangle your feet in the water or dive off. We have two showers to rinse off on the flap after swimming, and fluffy towels to dry with.
Everyone watching pink dolphins
As we cruised back to Iquitos at the end of the day with everyone watching pink dolphins feeding near our boat, one of the boys told me, “This was the best day of my life”
You know what? It was also one of the best days of my life.
Our Amazon Tour to the Butterfly Farm, Iquitos Peru
Bill Grimes, Dawn on the Amazon Tours and Cruises
I hope you will enjoy more photos from our Amazon Tour to the Butterfly Farm at my on-line photo gallery;
Other articles for you to research are Butterfly Farm, Iquitos Peru