This page has been written so that you know about the potential
hazards of the jungle, and how to deal with them. The purpose is
not to scare you, but to make you aware of the new environment that
you will be entering, just the same as a health and safety briefing
is given when starting work in a building and learning about the
danger of fire etc. Don’t be scared, just be aware. Remember, it is
highly unlikely that you will ever be in a dangerous situation with
wild animals and a loud noise will scare off anything.
Diseases in the area
Up at TRC there is a small biting fly that carries a
disease called Lieshmaniasis. Only a very small percentage of the
flies carry the disease, but it is possible to get. It is curable
but the treatment can be long (21 days) and somewhat painfull.
While in the field you should always work in long pants and
long-sleeved shirts. This fly does come in to the lodge, so you
should wear long sleeves and long pants at all times up at the
lodge. The one exception is midday on hot days, the flies don’t fly
during such conditions, at this time you can wear shorts and a
b.) Yellow Fever
Yellow fever immunization is required for travel to the area. Go
to a travel doctor and talk to them about what other shots to get.
You can also get a yellow fever shot in the airport at Puerto
Maldonado when you arrive. If you need to do this you must do it
immediately when you get off the plane before you get your luggage
(look for the person dressed like a nurse and ask for your
I cannot and will not give legally binding advice. All I will
say is that I don’t know anyone that has contracted Malaria at the
lodges and I do not take malarial prophylaxis. Evacuation by boat
to Puerto Maldonado can be done in 1 day (less than 5 hours if need
2.) Dealing with
a.) Jaguars or Pumas
Should you be lucky enough to encounter one of these incredible
beauties, there is no reason to panic. Although locally pumas have
a reputation for being vicious, they invariably run away when
encountered. In some areas Jaguars (Panthera
onca) can be a bit unphased by people…. But it is important to
remember that they do not view people as food. Most big predators
have a “prey image” – animals that they have grown up eating, and
we do not form part of that image.
Should you encounter a big cat, stay very still and under NO
CIRCUMSTANCES should you run. This triggers the predator-prey
instinct in them and you will get into big trouble. Enjoy the
moment and try to get a photo… Louise Emmons, author of The Field
Guide to Neotropical Mammals, once faced a Jaguar walking down the
path towards her. She calmly remained where she was and took photos
of the animal as it walked past her. I have encountered jaguar face
to face 3 times on transect, remained calm every time and the cat
has always eventually moved on.
If you encounter a big cat on a night walk and find yourself
being approached, make sure you are not shining a bright light into
its eyes, as it will not be able to see you and may be approaching
to investigate the noise you were making. Alert the cat to your
presence by making some verbal noise, or stamping your feet.
b.) Peccaries, Tapir and Deer
The small, Collared Peccaries (Tayassu
tajacu ), found in small groups, bolt in the presence of
people. White-lipped Peccaries (Tayassu
pecari ) area a lot more intimidating when encountered as
they are found in huge groups and make a lot of scary squealing,
barking and teeth clacking when scared to frighten away potential
predators. They too try and avoid people, but are potentially a
problem if cornered, or if frightened from another direction, in
which case they could run towards you. If this should happen shout
and wave, or bang a machete against a tree to alert the animal to
your presence. You might want to do this from the safety of a
raised level – like a fallen tree, or from a low hanging branch…
just so long as you are over the level of their heads, which is
less than a meter off the ground. Don’t run.
Tapir (Tapirus terrestris ) and
Red brocket deer (Mazama americana ) will
only run towards you if frightened from another direction. Should
this happen, stand behind a tree and let them run past, as these
are large animals and could potentially knock you over if you get
in their way.
Similarly, I once frightened an armadillo
(Dasypus novemcinctus) on a night-walk. As they have very
poor eyesight, the animal ended up running straight at me, and I
had to leap over it at the last moment, and it ran beneath me while
I was in midair!
Related to armadillos are the nearly blind anteaters. Both the
Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla)
and the smaller Tamandua (Tamandua
tetradactyla) are short-sighted and fairly slow. If you
attempt to get too close they can slash with their powerful claws
that they use to rip open trees and termite mounds. It is said that
the Giant Anteater is even capable of killing jaguar according to
jungle legend, but they will only react in self-defense.
Wild monkeys will never pose a danger to you.
Capuchins (Cebus apella) and
Spider monkeys (Ateles belzebuth) can try
and intimidate people by shaking branches and throwing sticks, but
their aim is atrocious. These monkeys, along with Howler
monkeys (Alouatta seniculus), will also urinate
and defecate when frightened, so it is best not to view monkeys
from directly beneath them.
At some of the lodges there are habituated monkeys, and people
in town keep monkeys as pets. Beware of handling these, or of
handling food around them, as they can bite. There are “Monkey
Islands” in the area, where monkeys are kept and fed for display to
tourists. Some of these have a reputation for being aggressive.
d.) Smaller Mammals
The only time you may be approached by any of the smaller
mammals like coati, tayra, ocelot, jaguarondi or bush dogs, would
be if they were unaware of your presence or young, curious animals.
However, rabies is said to occur in the area, so if a sick animal
that is obviously salivating approaches you, do your best to avoid
it or chase it away and get beyond its reach.
Some species of bats also carry rabies, so try not to handle
them, or use gloves if you have to, especially if caught in mist
nets. If on a night-walk you will see bats hurling themselves
kamikaze style along the paths towards you. They always avoid you,
even if sometimes at the very last instant. Sometimes they may do a
lap around your head to catch a moth or insect attracted to your
light. They are nothing to worry about.
Dealing with a snake bite
Should any snake bite you the most important thing to remember
is NOT to panic. One needs to do everything in ones power to keep
your heart rate down to avoid the spread of poison. Secondly, it is
very important that you try and get an identification of the type
or species. Try and avoid walking. If walking is unavoidable, it
should be done as slowly as possible, remember to keep heart rate
down. Use your venom extractor within 3 minutes of the bite
occurring. The use of a tourniquet, a strip of bandage or material
tied in a tight knot above the wound to cut off circulation, can be
considered, although this is a last ditch resort and advised
against by some professionals. It should only be considered for a
bite by a coral snake. A tourniquet should be loosened every 5
minutes to allow some circulation. A crepe bandage, a bandage
wrapped tightly along the entire limb, can be applied should you be
in possession of one. Inform someone in a position of authority
immediately to organize evacuation to Puerto Maldonado.
Of the 100 or so species of snake in the area, only 4 types are
considered dangerous to man, so this makes the rainforest a lot
safer place than almost anywhere in Australia!
1. Amazon Bushmaster, or Shushupe (Lachesis
A viper growing up to 4m long. As they are vipers that use heat
to detect their prey, they have been known to approach people, and
are thus killed wherever encountered. Some people say that they are
territorial and that they will chase people if encountered within
their territory. However, I know of people who have
walked past them as they lay next to the path unnoticed,
protected by their camouflage. One tourist, unaware of what he was
viewing, poked one with a stick after taking a photo of it without
getting bitten. They are rare and it is unlikely you will encounter
one. If you do, do not frighten or disturb it, leave the area
slowly and quietly.
2. Fer-de-Lance, or Jergon (Bothrops
Another smaller viper (1m) that relies on its camouflage to
remain concealed. This snake is a good reason to keep an eye on the
path whenever you are walking anywhere.
3. Green Tree Viper, or Loro Machaco
A green viper with a yellowish belly that is arboreal. They are
relatively small, growing to about a maximum of 80cm. They are a
good reason to look where you are chopping if clearing a transect.
To make things confusing, locals call nearly all green snakes,
including the more common and harmless Parrot Snake, Loro
4. Coral Snake, or Nyaka-nyaka (Micrurus
The venom from this snake is neurotoxic, and can be deadly.
However, they have very small teeth and are not aggressive. The
protection provided by your boots should be adequate to protect
from a bite. Generally, only people handling these snakes get
bitten. There are a range of false coral snakes too, and you may
want to stay on the safe side and not handle any bright red, black
and yellow snakes.
In addition to these snakes, the largest snakes in the area are
boas and anacondas. Although not poisonous, they are capable of
giving a nasty bite that stands a chance of becoming infected. The
anaconda is very rare as there seems to be a local market for their
heads, which are said to bring money if kept in a business.
All frogs secrete substances through their skin, partially to
aid their respiration, which can be potentially toxic. However, the
poison arrow frog found here, the Epipidobates, is not lethal as
long as you wash your hands after handling one. You should wash
your hands after handling any frog, and in addition, you should
wash your hands before handling frogs as the DEET insect repellant
you use is potentially lethal to them as it will be absorbed
through their skin.
g.) Ants, Wasps and Bees
Dealing with insect bites and stings
- Firstly, calm the person.
- If it is a bee sting, and the sting has remained behind, gently
remove it by scraping it off using something like a pocket-knife or
- Apply cool or cold water to reduce irritation and spread of the
poison. A venom extractor can also be used if available. Keep an
eye out for allergic reactions. If these become visible, for
instance, rapid breathing, cold sweat, dizziness, nausea, give the
person an antihistamine and seek medical assistance as quickly as
- An antihistamine cream can be applied in normal circumstances to
reduce pain and itchiness.
Isula Ant – This is a large (3cm), black ant
that is normally encountered alone. It has the most painful sting
of any insect in existence, with the pain lasting many hours. In
addition, some people have reported allergic reactions to the
sting, so advise someone as soon as you know you have been stung so
that you can be monitored. They are a very good reason to look at
where you are putting your hands while walking, and to check any
area before you sit down. This is a very important ant to learn –
make sure you know what it looks like:
Tangarana Ants (Fire Ants) – A very important
tree to learn when you get on the trails is the Tangarana tree
(Triplaris spp). This tree is the home to a colony of ants that
nest inside the tree in hollows that extend from the main trunk to
the ends of the branches. The ants feed off a secretion from a
certain type of insect that also makes its home in the tree, and
are looked after by the Tangarana ants. The Tangarana ants fiercely
protect their tree and food source by swarming over anything that
lands on, or touches the trees, administering very painful bites.
The ants also clear a circle with a radius of up to 1 meter around
the tree, which is a helpful way of recognizing it. The tree has
pale, mottled bark, and large leaves. These are not the only
stinging ants in the forest, so beware when disturbing any ant
nest. Another stinging ant called the Aztec ant, lives in Cercropia
Army Ants (Eciton sp.) – A familiar
sight to any who use the trails regularly in the jungle, are long,
thin trails of rapidly moving ants. Army ants range in size from a
few millimeters, to about 2 centimeters and none make permanent
nests, instead the queen is kept in a living bivouac of her colony.
Among the worker ants are the impressive, large soldier ants, with
their large, often pale heads, and huge mandibles. It is said that
some indigenous people use these ants as make-shift stitches for
cuts – holding the ant so that it bites both sides of a wound, the
body is then broken off and the head remains attached with
mandibles holding together the cut. Unless you are standing on one
of their trails, they are unlikely to bother you. Should you find
yourself in the middle of one their hunting expeditions, where the
army ants cover the ground and vegetation for many square meters,
move rapidly onwards until you are out of their reach. An army ant
raiding party is a spectacle in itself, as all the insects in their
path try and scurry for safety, making them easy targets for the
variety of birds – antbirds, antthrushes, antwrens and antshrikes –
Leaf Cutter Ants (Atta sp.) – These
ants are another incredible spectacle of the jungle. More commonly
seen at night along the trails they clear between nest and their
target tree, highways of ants carry leaves like sails above their
heads, cut by specialized ants that purely cut the leaves. Soldiers
guard them, and a caste of tiny ant rides upon some of the leaves
to protect against parasitic wasps. In the nest, another caste of
ant tends the fungus, which the ants eat, that grows on the leaves.
So how could a vegetarian ant possibly be a problem? The ants are
highly experimental in what they eat, and it is not unusual for
tents, clothes and bags to be cut up and carried away by
leaf-cutter ants, so be careful of where you leave your items
should you know they are about.
Wasps – There are many, many species of wasp
in the jungle, from small, to very large, some that give irritating
stings, and some that sting as badly it is like having a hot knife
driven into you. No wonder there are some moths that imitate wasps
so well, that predators and the average person would never be able
to tell the difference. They are fascinating creatures in
themselves, making all variety of nests, from paper nests, to
fancy, beautiful, mud sculptures. If a wasp lands on you and you do
not want it on you, wave it away, or flick it off. Away from their
nests, they are fairly docile and nothing to worry about. One place
to look out for wasps is under the banana-like leaves of Heliconia
plants and various palms, which often over grow the trail. If you
disturb their nest you will hear the sudden swarming noise of
hundreds of angry wings emerging from the nest. Should you disturb
a wasp nest - RUN. Once you have reached a safe distance (often as
little as 10m away), you may want to remove your shirt, as often
they attach themselves, in which case they will continue to sting
repeatedly. Luckily for those who may be allergic to wasps, it
appears that people with allergies to European wasps do not react
to Tambopata wasps.
Africanised Honey Bees or
Ronsapas – Many years ago the African honey-bee,
Apis melifora, was introduced into some parts of South America due
to the good quality honey they produce. Inevitably, they escaped,
and have now colonized most of South and Central America, up into
some parts of the United States. They have a reputation for being
very aggressive. They are attracted to sweat, but only sting if
seriously disturbed. They are very protective over their nests,
which they tend to make in natural hollows in trees above ground
level. Should you disturb a hive RUN until you are sure you are not
being followed. If you are allergic to bees, you should inform the
coordinating team. Unlike a wasp, the bee leaves its sting in you
along with most of its internal organs as it is barbed. The best
way to remove a sting is to scrape it off with a knife, so as not
to inject any more poison, or you can pull it out gently using
Sweat Bees – These are harmless, stingless
bees that come in a variety of shapes and colors, the most common
being small (0.5cm) black bees and their larger cousins (1cm).
There is also a yellow sweat bee, which you should not confuse with
the striped African Honey bee. These bees can however be very
annoying should you need to stay in one area for any length of time
monitoring wildlife, as they are attracted to sweat – and that is
something you will be producing a lot of. Killing them does not
help much either, as they release a pheromone when killed which
attracts more sweat bees. To deal with them, just keep waving them
away, or let them do their sweat sucking. If they are going to
bother you, wear a head-net.
h.) Spiders and scorpions
Generally speaking, South America does not have a host of
poisonous spiders and scorpions compared to Africa and
The most dangerous of the spiders is the Wandering
Spider, which is occasionally found inside human
dwellings. These spiders can be aggressive, and the bite is
potentially fatal. Treat with care.
The spiders you are most likely to encounter are a variety of
smaller orb-web spiders that love to make their nests across trails
at head height, so that it is not uncommon to end up with a spider
web wrapped around your head. The spiders are usually small and
harmless, and run away when their webs are disturbed. There is a
yellow orb-web spider with spines on its abdomen, so if brushing
away a spider web and you feel a little stab, you have
probably not been bitten, but rather just poked by one of these
spines. Spider bites are generally not felt. They can occur at
night when the sleeping person squashes the spider against them. A
spider bite is two small red puncture marks close together,
surrounded by an inflamed area.
Tarantulas are the big daddies of the spiders
in the area. The “Chicken Eating Spider” is said to have a diameter
of nearly 30cm. The more commonly seen Pink-Footed Tarantula makes
a web-like nest, often in the thatching, where they can be
regularly viewed. Although Tarantulas can bite if disturbed, their
venom is very mild. They are nocturnal, and will occasionally
wander around – they are a good reason to use mosquito nests, and
to shake and check your boots before putting them on in the morning
– although anything from frogs, cockroaches to scorpions have also
been known to seek shelter in boots that have stood neglected for a
With more than 1200 species of butterflies in the area, there
are going to be that number of caterpillars crawling around too.
This does not even include the moths!
Many of the caterpillars in the area have stinging hairs, which
are capable of doing anything from making you feel like you are on
fire, to giving you a rash. A lot of the bigger species are
brightly colored to advertise their toxicity, while others rely on
camouflage. These are the ones you have to watch out for when
leaning against a tree or putting your hands anywhere. Some
caterpillars, called procession or army-worms, travel in large
groups, and often sleep together in a huge camouflaged mass, so
watch what you are doing, and where you put your hands when
grabbing anything for support.
j.) Chiggers, Ticks, Mosquitoes and Sand
Chiggers are tiny, basically invisible mites
that are found often in grassy areas (like around lodge clearings).
They crawl up people’s legs and then burrow under the skin to get
at your blood. Their favorite areas are around the sock zone, bra
zone, or around the belt zone around the waist. The results are a
series of very itchy, mosquito like bumps that can last for several
days. People sometimes scratch them raw. Try not to do this. Treat
the area with alcohol and anti-histamine. To try and prevent
chiggers, wear boots, and your socks tucked into your trousers.
Take a shower when you get back from a walk.
Taking a shower is also a good time to check for
ticks. There is a range of size of ticks, which
like to attach themselves in the groin area, armpits, and are not
unusually found around the neck. One tick that was found at
Explorer’s Inn, engorged on blood, measured 3cm in length!
Some say that the method for detaching ticks is to burn them off,
although I prefer to just twist them off, as other people say that
burning them makes them regurgitate their meals. Treat the area
with some antiseptic once the tick has been removed and
can form swarms around you in the
wet season in the forest, but if you are wearing repellant of 50%
or over, they are more of an annoyance than a danger. Malaria is
not considered a problem at the lodges, but Yellow Fever outbreaks
do occur around settled areas from time to time. You should not
have to worry about this as you should have the vaccination – it is
a prerequisite to visiting the area and occasionally checked upon
From afar, the beaches during the summer along the Tambopata
look very inviting. Sitting on them for a period of more than 5
minutes will reveal why they are not covered in bronzing bodies
reminiscent of the beaches of the Mediterranean. Tiny, black flies
(called sand flies by some) soon congregate around
exposed ankles or other areas of skin and proceed to bite and suck
blood. They leave a characteristic pink circle with a bright red
dot in the middle after they have finished. Wearing repellant fends
them off. Be sure to reapply after emerging from a swim.
Black flies are diurnal, while the real sand-flies are a
nocturnal, delicate, small, pale fly that resembles more a moth.
The Phlebotomus fly is the carrier of the
Leishmaniasis protozoan. Uta, as it is locally
called, forms nasty ulcer type sores that need a 20 day treatment
of anti-biotic to cure. If left untreated, people noses and lips
have been known to rot off. Avoid getting bitten by wearing
repellant or covering up with long sleeve shirts and trousers, and
wear socks if you are wearing sandals.
A larger biting fly will sometimes buzz around you in the
forest. Horse-flies, or Tabanids, give a very
painful bite, and the best defense against a persistent individual
is to swat it.
Should you develop an itchy saw a bit like a boil, but open,
look carefully to make sue a small breathing tube of a
botfly larvae is not poking through occasionally.
Botfly larvae look like maggots covered with rings of spines that
make them hard to remove. Local methods of extraction include
smothering with Vaseline, banana latex, latex from mashonaste or
similar tree, or agitating with tobacco resin and then squeezing
the larvae out.
These critters tend to be very large in the jungle. There are
many varieties, the most common being a large brown cockroach,
present at all lodges. They do not pose a threat, but will eat any
food left out overnight. They also have a taste for toothbrushes,
so leave yours inside your wash-bag.
So how could these stationary objects possibly pose a danger you
ask? Well, for starters, I bet that during the course of your stay
you are going to trip over at least one exposed root that line the
forest floor competing for the nutrients in the top couple of
centimeters of soil. Secondly, falling branches and trees are
considered to be one of the most dangerous things in the forest.
Old branches can snap unexpectedly at any time, or some trees may
finally have one liana too many growing on them, which could pull
them over. Mostly, trees are inclined to fall over in the strong
winds associated with the thunderstorms that pass through the area.
Should there be a thunderstorm, you should stay at the lodge or
make your way to the lodge or a clearing as quickly as possible
should you be on the trails.
Spines and thorns… watch out for the acacia-like liana with
hooked thorns on the stems of the feathery leaves. A bit more
dangerous than this are the very obvious black thorns covering the
stem and leaves of some of the palm species e.g. Huicungo. Many
immature, innocent looking palm leaves have nasty black spines on
the underside. In addition, the spines on the roots of the walking
palm can also cut, so don’t lean on them, or mistake them for the
m.) Parrots and Macaws
Very popular pets in the area are Parrots and Macaws, which are
capable of giving nasty bites. Especially watch out for the Scarlet
Macaw at Explorer’s Inn, which was a pet and is now free flying. It
is very aggressive towards people.. Other than that, unless a Harpy
Eagle mistakes you for a sloth, you have nothing to worry about
3.) Rivers and
Most of the transport during the duration of the research will
be in long boats with outboard motors. It is compulsory by law to
wear lifejackets for these journeys, and we recommend that you do,
as boating accidents have been known to happen and the results
would be comparable to having a car accident and not wearing a
Although most of us regularly use the rivers or lakes for a
refreshing dip to wash away the sweat and to cool down from the
heat of the day. There are several hazards you need to bear in mind
when going for a swim, and as a result we recommend you NEVER SWIM
ALONE or unattended.
Sting Rays – These are brown, flat fish often
found concealed at the bottom of sandy streams or lakes. They bury
themselves under the sand, where they lie in wait for prey. They
are thus very hard to detect, and should you stand on one, the tail
of the Sting Ray will shoot up and impale the sharp spine that it
contains, into your leg. I am told the pain is unbelievable. Should
you be entering a river or lake with a sandy bottom, splash the
water in front of you and move your feet through the sand as you
move forwards, as opposed to stepping forwards, to frighten them
Electric Eels – These snake-like fish can
grow to be several meters in length. They are considered to be slow
moving, and use their electric capacity to stun prey and scare off
predators. They move away from areas of disturbance, but their
shock can knock a person unconscious, where upon an unattended
person could drown.
– There are 4 species of this relative
to the alligator that live around Tambopata. The Dwarf and
Smooth-fronted Caiman do not exceed 1,5m and are very rare. The
Spectacled Caiman, or White Caiman, can grow to about 4m. They are
the caiman most commonly seen along the rivers. The average length
is about 2m, and they move away from people, as Caiman ceviche is
occasionally seen for sale in Puerto Maldonado. The Black Caiman is
the reason to be wary of swimming in the lakes or Cochas. Here they
can grow up to a length of 6 meters. A rusty pair of old binoculars
lies on the bar at the Posada Amazonas lodge, alleged to be
extracted from the stomach of a giant caiman from Coco Cocha, all
that could was found left of a guide that went swimming
– Piranha tend to be specialist
feeders, and many are vegetarian – eating fruit. Their reputation
is overrated. Although they do have very sharp teeth, they get
eaten by the Giant Otters, which are the length of a man, and swim
around the lakes unmolested. Piranha tend to be found near the lake
shores, and are a reason, together with the caiman, that it is
better to take a canoe to the middle of a lake should you want to
go swim. Do not go swimming if you are bleeding in anyway, as this
is likely to attract predators.
Canero – Reputedly the most feared fish of
the origin, the “Orifice Fish” is a small gill parasite that
normally swims into a fishes gills, where it attaches itself with
its spines. Legend goes that they are also capable of swimming up
peoples orifices, for instance if you urinate in the water. To
protect yourself from this fish, all you need to do is not urinate
in the water, and swim with a costume or swimming trunks.
With little opportunity to orientate oneself with the sun, and
in a world that blurs into a mixture of tree trunks and endless
green, getting lost by just walking a few meters off the trail is a
possibility. Try never to go off the trail, unless you have to as
part of data collection. Always inform someone as to where you are
going, and when you plan to be back.
On a new trail system, if you are going out by yourself, or for
the first time, always carry a map and a compass. Marking tape is
also a good idea to mark intersections that you are not sure about.
It is a good idea to carry a compass with you at all times,
especially at night, where if your torch should fail, it is very
easy to wander off the trail and get lost.
Should you find yourself lost, bang repeatedly on the buttress
root of a large tree, and wait until you are found.
Many areas around the small communities are subject to burning,
when a chacra is cleared, left to dry and then burnt during the dry
season to make the area available for planting. The fires are
generally restricted to the areas that have been cut down, and it
is unusual for fires to enter primary forest unless it is very dry.
Fires tend to be very smoky, and could potentially lead to
respiration problems if one is prone to asthma or other related
Most of the lodges use candles or kerosene lamps to some degree.
As the lodges are all built from wood, extreme care should be taken
that you do not knock these over or leave candles unattended.
Explorer’s Inn was burnt to the ground in 1985, for instance.
Always extinguish candles upon leaving a room, and do
not go to sleep with a candle burning!
These are the very sharp cutting instruments that we will be
using to cut transects, prepare trails, and which one also has the
option of carrying while on walks. Normally, these are very sharp,
and care needs to be taken when using them. Some basic tips:
Before swinging a machete, make sure there are no other people in
- Make sure that you do not have any body parts behind/beneath
the object you are cutting, i.e. in the line of cutting, as often
branches cut easier than expected and the momentum of the machete
could then easily proceed to carry the blade into a leg or foot.
This has happened to even experienced machete wielders, so be
- Be extra careful when handling a machete in wet weather, as the
blade can easily slip from one`s hand.
- When cutting a transect, look before you cut. You do not want
to cut into a wasps nest, or anger a sleeping Loro machaco (Green
- Do not carry a machete on a bike with blade exposed.
Should someone be cut, apply pressure to the wound by pressing
down hard with bandage, towel, shirt or other clothing item. Should
none of these be available, use just a hand. Get to medical help as
quickly as possible.
Due to the amount of sweat that you will loose even just while
sitting and doing nothing, one must make a constant effort to drink
lots of water and keep hydrated. If you are dehydrated, you will
loose energy and often develop a headache. Severe dehydration will
lead to disorientation and more severe situations. Always carry
water with you and drink it! It is a lot harder to rehydrate than
to dehydrate, so avoid the situation in the first place.
Generally, Peruvians are very friendly, especially in the small
towns and communities of the rainforest. However, sometimes the men
can be a bit too friendly when it comes to the ladies. If you are
not interested in a relationship, then it is best to be firm with
unwanted attention from the start – the Western attitude of “don’t
want to offend” is not helpful in these situations. “Jungle Fever”
is such a well known phenomenon that Peru’s famous author Vargas
LLosa even wrote a book on the theme – Pantaleon y las
Final Word: Don’t worry, you will be fine!