Visits to Yakumamay are open to visitors
in small numbers. Yakumamay is primarily a research facility and ecological
reserve. There are a number of
different possibilities for people who would like to visit Yacumamay ranging
from a day visit to the Live Pharmacy to a week long trek through primary
forest to the Nanay river to even longer stays. Unlike many of the lodges
around Iquitos, Yacumamay offers a genuine opportunity to share the lives
of local forest people. The facilities in Yacumamay are extremely basic
consisting of traditional open-sided Amazonian houses on raised wooden
platforms. The houses are located close to small rivers where visitors
can bathe without any concern. Visitors are received as guests of the community
and are expected to behave in a respectful manner throughout their stay.
The day begins with the journey from Iquitos to kilometre 47 on the Iquitos-Nauta highway. Visitors are greeted by community members and escorted along a well maintained trail to the Live Pharmacy. This takes about an hour. On arrival visitors are shown around the Live Pharmacy and are given explanations of the uses and preparations of the medicinal plants in the garden. After this lunch is served in a traditional house and visitors have a chance to relax with their hosts and sample medicinal teas and other preparations. In the afternoon visitors can go on a short trek into the surrounding forest, this includes a visit to a 'supay chacra', a naturally occuring clearing in the forest which local people believe to have special spiritual significance. After the trek visitors are escorted back to the highway where they can catch a minibus back to Iquitos.
This is an exciting opportunity for visitors to trek deep into primary forest where they are likely to see a range of Amazonian fauna and become familiar with a wide variety of trees and vines. Guided by local people, visitors can also learn about traditional activities such as trap making and the tracking of animals.
After enjoying a day at the Live Pharmacy and exploring the surrounding forest visitors spend the first night sleeping in traditional guest houses close by. The next day they leave at dawn and trek into the reserve, after about 5 hours of walking including several short breaks they are welcomed at the upper house (base camp houser #2) with a traditional meal and have the chance to bathe in the stream next to the house. During the afternoon visitors can go on short walks close to the house and can participate in traditional activities such as the building of small temporary shelters. Later on an evening meal is served in the house and visitors can relax in hammocks and listen to the sounds of the rainforest at nighttime.
The next day begins early with a traditional breakfast in the house. After breakfast visitors set off on a day trek which takes in a wide variety of rainforest habitats and includes a visit to two colpas. These are watering holes where it is possible to see animals who come to drink including white collared peccaries, tapir, deer and the occasional anteater. It is also possible to observe otters and alligators along the banks of the small streams which run through the reserve, and several species of monkey. In the late afternoon visitors return to the house and have an evening meal, those who are interested can receive a herbal bath in a ceremony which is carried out by a community elder.
On the fourth day visitors breakfast early before beginning the journey back to Iquitos. The return journey is made along a different trail which leads to the Nuevo Triumfo community where visitors are welcomed and have lunch. From there it is a short trek to the banks of the Pintu Yacu river where the visitors begin the canoe journey which will take them to the highway. Once at the highway it is very easy to catch a minibus to return to Iquitos.
As mentioned previously the facilities in Yacumamay are very rudimentary. If you are interested in visiting Yacumamay you should first contact Don Gilber (mobile) or Juan Maldonado (email), or check with the staff of the Hostal Pascana (new window). They will be able to advise you about whether a visit is possible and make suggestions about the equipment and supplies that you should take with you.