Essen­tials

The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - South America -

Ja­cada Travel (020 7619 1380; ja­ca­da­travel.com) can in­clude one night at Inkaterra Guides Field Sta­tion as part of its Inca Trail and Ama­zon Tour, which also in­cludes stays in Lima, Cusco (for Machu Pic­chu) and at Inkaterra Reserva Ama­zon­ica, a few min­utes’ boat ride from the field sta­tion; the pack­age costs from £4,700 per per­son, ex­clud­ing in­ter­na­tional flights. Longer stays at Inkaterra Guides Field Sta­tion (inkaterra.com) start at £250 for four nights. planted at 16ft in­ter­vals with food crops grow­ing in be­tween. These in­cluded un­cucha (a type of po­tato), fre­jol (beans), za­pallo (pump­kin) and pepinillo (gherkin).

The ge­nius of the project is that each plot is small enough for the chil­dren to main­tain them­selves. “This is a com­mu­nity which in the past de­stroyed the for­est,” said Jan, “but now they are pre­serv­ing it – and this is a model that can be repli­cated. Oth­ers can copy it with dif­fer­ent crops which they want to eat.”

I pon­dered this over quinoa pan­cakes the next morn­ing in the plusher sur­round­ings of Inkaterra Ha­cienda Con­cep­cion, a sec­ond property a short mo­tor west along the Madre de Dios river. From there I struck out with guide Ju­ve­nal Quispe Cco­haquira on my fi­nal out­ing. On the for­est trail to San­doval Lake, Ju­ve­nal halted us in our tracks. There in the mud was a print left by a jaguar. “It was here a few hours ago,” said Ju­ve­nal, rais­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of a sight­ing.

It was not to be, but what hap­pened next was al­most as re­ward­ing. First, we heard a noise like the whine of a jet en­gine, ris­ing to a crescendo. “Howler mon­keys,” Ju­ve­nal said, but we were head­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion. As we walked along a for­est trail, a rustling in the tree­tops swelled to a ca­coph­ony and hundreds of squir­rel mon­keys swept over­head. Some feasted a few feet from us. Then came brown ca­puchin mon­keys, with stronger jaws ca­pa­ble of break­ing open fruit which the squir­rel mon­keys scav­enge. For half an hour I stood with pri­mates chat­ter­ing around me. This was my David At­ten­bor­ough mo­ment.

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