• Puerto Maldonaldo, April 2016.
    It had been a gloriously intense jungle week on Lago di Sandobal in South Eastern Peru. Tanking tropical beauty and jungle novelty had also included dodging alligators as well as the advances of hot tempered jungle guides and surviving 16 hours of excruciating pain following a bullet-ant sting in the foot.

    Coming out of the jungle involved strenuous hours of mud-marching with a furiously fuming guide who was sinking deep under my luggage and angrily tried to lose me.

    Puerto Maldonaldo then at first glance didn’t quite look like ‘civilization’ enough for my liking. The Trans-Amazonica bridge wasn’t quite Golden Gate, I felt a thence unknown longing for the Eiffel Tower or the like to appear behind the dimly lit sea of flat roofs of the jungle port.


    Having narrowly escaped the commonplace exploitation of the lake’s local tourism monopoly it was particularly heartwarming to find likeminded creative travellers at Puerto Maldonaldo’s backpackers lodge. In great company, the Tambopata Hostal felt like home.

    Puerto Maldonaldo, where the Tambopata and Madre de Dios rivers meet, lies close to the Bolivian border in the Amazonian basin. This is where the renowned healing plant Ayahuasca originates and pretty much everyone non-local but me was heading for a ceremony promising psychedelic effects and a potential meeting of your former self.

    Slovak filmmaker Egor Indiani was making a guerilla documentary on the phenomenon, British-Belgian photographer Alex Doyle was in town to buy supplies for a jungle farm run by a famous curador (master of ceremony). My London connection who’d brought me here, Swedish-Peruvian Melina set good time aside from charitable work for her special Ayahuasca ritual routine. 
  • Slovak filmmaker Egor Indiani was making a guerilla documentary on the phenomenon, British-Belgian photographer Alex Doyle was in town to buy supplies for a jungle farm run by a famous curador (master of ceremony).

    My London / Lima connection who’d invited me here, Swedish-Peruvian Melina set good time aside from charitable work for her special Ayahuasca ritual routine.


    I decided to go and research a sustainable fish farm NGO Franco, my Italian friend at the lake, had mentioned. The piscigranja (fish farm) was located near small jungle town called Infierno (‘Hell’). From there I would also head to the in/famous farm where Alex was working.

    Alex’s irresistable charm – second only to biblical fishermen – had caused a whole gang of globetrotting gringos to drop all other plans and follow his example to volunteer inland. This, despite the definite promise of most uninviting if not painful conditions of unbearable moist heat pressing down on swampland primarily occupied by relentless swarms of mosquitoes. 

    By 6 am a bus or ‘group taxi’ (car with locals that leaves once filled) headed from the town’s mercado into the unknown. Google maps had informed me that Infierno was a small harbour town with its roads nicely laid out in a neat square pattern - quite like Puerto, or a city in the
    US 
    – allowing me to work out my route to the fish farm...                                 > continue