Anaconda found at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción

We have a very exciting sighting this month from Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción!

Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion

It was 10 a.m. when Inkaterra explorer guides Ghlemm and Justo were leading a group of travellers in the ‘Cocha’ excursion. Hidden in some bushes on the shore of Concepción creek, a green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) was encountered. Though it remained tangled and its head could not be seen, a good look at its width and the tail’s end allowed guides to estimate that this snake was about 4 meters long! Other explorer guides were told of the sighting, so they could lead their groups of travelers to where the anaconda remained quiet. Everyone was enthusiastic about it, as this kind of snake is extremely hard to find.

Wildlife spotted at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion

Eunectes murinus (derived from the Greek ‘ευνήκτης’ meaning “good swimmer” and the Latin ‘murinus’ meaning “of mice”, for being thought to prey on mice) is a non-venomous boa species, considered the largest, heaviest and second longest snake. It can reach about five meters long, and female specimens are larger than males in adulthood. Green anacondas are found in South America east of the Andes, from the Guianas to Paraguay, and tend to live in or around water in marshes and swamps from tropical rainforests. Employing constriction to subdue their prey, anacondas eat mostly fish, birds, small mammals and other reptiles. Larger anacondas can even hunt tapirs, deer, capybaras and caimans, though these are not commonly consumed. Though local legends depict this species as a man-eater, little evidence supports this practice.

Anaconda at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion

After about an hour later, the anaconda had migrated as the river and the creek increased their water level due to heavy rains in the area. Such an exciting encounter made a very special day at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion. Have you ever spotted any wildlife during a stay at Inkaterra? Share with us with hashtag #InkaterraWildlife

Our top wildlife sightings of 2013

2013: an incredible year for wildlife sightings across our Inkaterra properties. We thought we’d put together our top highlights from last year. Check back on our blog each month where we will be sharing our top spots of the month. Have you spotted any incredible wildlife during your time in Peru? Or captured any photography of wildlife where you are in the world? Do share with us below, or on Twitter and Facebook with hashtag #WildlifeInkaterra. If you’ve taken a photo during a stay at Inkaterra or during an Inkaterra experience, you should enter the first Inkaterra Photo Contest of 2014 right here.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel 

Sunbittern

Tigana (Photo by: Ron Blake)  Jose Luis Lavilla | Inkaterra Explorer Guide | Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

During a specialised birding excursion, travellers pointed out a bird that flew close to them and went into the jungle. At first glance, they thought it was an Andean Guan (Penelope montagnii) but a few seconds later they saw the bird perched in front of them. As one of the group grabbed their book to identify the bird, someone else took a picture of the bird so they could identify it afterwards. To their surprise it was a sunbittern (Eurypyga helias). Of course, they were all very excited because it is quite a  rare sighting.

Andean Spectacled bears 

Andean Spectacled Bears  Our resident spectacled bears have made several appearances across 2013 here at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. Here’s to seeing them a lot more during 2014. You can read about their most recent sighting here.

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica 

Jaguar

Jaguar (Photo : Stephen Coupe ) Jesus Glhemm Ccari | Explorer Guide | Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica 

During a guest’s  Twilight River excursion they noticed something in between the bushes on the shore of the Madre de Dios River, just a few meters away from the Hotels’ dock. They aimed their flashlight at what appeared to be a big animal. As soon as they used the flashlight a powerful reflection (from the animal’s eyes) caught their attention. It wasn’t a small animal and definitely not a caiman as the movement was constant and far away from the water. As they approached, they could not believe what was in front of them. It was a Jaguar (Panthera onca). A few seconds after the sighting, the feline jumped away to find refuge in the dense rainforest vegetation. Observing jaguars in the wild is extremely rare so they were ecstatic to see the “King of the Rainforest”! Definitely a night to remember!

Harpy Eagle

Harpy Eagle

Early in the morning Alberto Checca, an Explorer Guide at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica lodge, visited Lake Valencia along with five other travellers. During the trip to the lake, having sailed for an average of 45 minutes through the Madre de Dios River, Alberto spotted a big bird in the distance, perched on a tree on the right bank of the river. As they approached the bird, Alberto was able to recognise that it was a harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) one of the most powerful birds of prey. Fortunately, the guests were able to observe the eagle for about 10 minutes before continuing their trip to the lake leaving the bird perched on the tree

At the end of the excursion the guests, as well as the Explorer Guide, were very pleased to know that they saw one of the most wanted eagles by ornithologists.

Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion 

Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion

Puma

While Carlos Torres, an Explorer Guide at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción was on the hidden rainforest excursion near the Cacao plantations with a group of two guests, they heard the bushes shaking a few meters from them. They decided to stay quiet for a couple of minutes to see if whatever was out there would show itself. Oh surprise when what appeared in front of them was a juvenile puma! (Puma concolor). This feline is considered one of the most adaptable animals in the continent. The puma seemed to be looking for a good place to rest. Suddenly the puma climbed all the way to the top of a bread fruit tree (Altocarpus altilis) for not to be seen or heard again. Simply amazing.

The Hidden Forest Excursion at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion The Hidden Forest Excursion

Tapir

Gabriel and three guests were out on the Hidden Forest excursion (near the remains of the Fitzcarraldo boat) when they heard sounds coming from between the trees just a few meters away. They remained silent for a few minutes to see if whatever that was making those noises would come out. To their surprise a tapir (Tapirus terrestris), one of the largest mammals in the area, appeared just a few meters in front of them. The animal was about 1.5mts. long and seemed to looking for food (being the perfect season  for the fruit trees they feed on). The guests, as well as Gabriel, were amazed by this sighting since they knew they had been extremely lucky.

Deer

While doing the Hidden Forest excursion, along the trail towards the cacao plantations, Carlos Torres and guests heard noises coming from the dry leaves a few meters away. They decided to remain silent for a few minutes. They were amazed when they saw a deer (Mazama americana) before them. They could identify it was an adult female because of its size and the lack of horns. These species have diurnal and nocturnal habits; apparently it was looking for seeds, fruits, bushes, and/or leaves. Since it did not run away due to their presence, they were able to observe this animal for a quite some time. This deer is now protected here in Peru, therefore the sighting was extra special.

Join our wildlife conversations online with hashtag #WildlifeInkaterra. We’d love to see your photos!

Inkaterra 4th Quarter Photography Competition Winner

The final quarter photographic competition of 2013 has drawn to a close at Inkaterra. Congratulations to all who took part, please keep a close eye on the Inkaterra website and social media pages for the details of the next competition.

After receiving a number of spectacular images from of talented individuals, from guests to guides, one photograph proved to be the most popular amongst our voters. Our winner is Noe Roger Huaraca Charca with this picture of the Sphaenorhynchus Lacteus or as it is more commonly known, the Orinoco Lime Tree Frog.

As you can see below, we had some stunning images submitted to the competition, and these were some of the best. Take a look at the photos, and hopefully we’ll see you in 2014 and you can submit your own masterpieces – you may even be lucky enough to win!

Clockwise from main: Giant River Otter – John Barnes, Hotel Guest; Yellow Spotted River Turtle – Jesus Glhemm Ccari, Explorer Guide at Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica; Brown Throated Three Toed Sloth – John Barnes, Hotel Guest; Rainbow Boa – Carlos Torres, Explorer Guide at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción.

Clockwise from main: Parides Neophilus - Mayra Maximiliano, Reservation Councillor at Inkaterra Lima; Anhinga – John Barnes, Hotel Guest; Andean Mot Mot – José Luis Lavilla,  Explorer Guide at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

From left to right: Spectacled Caiman – Albert Clar, Hotel Guest; Spectacled Caiman, Jesus Glhemm Ccari, Explorer Guide at Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica

 

 

Birding Rally Challenge 2013

Next week, from 3rd to 10th December, the third Birding Rally Challenge begins in Peru. Considered the world championships for birding, for those who aren’t in the know, this is the ultimate event in the ornithological world, bringing together the most renowned birding teams from all over the globe in a six-day contest to decide the best Birding Team in the world.

The challenge for the teams from the United States, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Colombia is to cover the greatest number of habitats within a certain area in a limited amount of time counting the number of bird species they can identify; and naturally, the winners are the team that has spotted the highest number of species.

Peru has been specially chosen to host the Birding Rally Challenge because of its expensive natural biodiversity. Peru is a true treasure in ornithological terms. It is home to 1836 species of bird – that is one fifth of all registered species in the world, Peru is the second leading country in the world for bird diversity, and the best in terms of bird observation. The unique habitats that Peru has, from lush wetlands to vibrant cloud forests means it is host to visiting species, as well as the 120 endemic bird species that call Peru home.

Organised by the Inkaterra Hotels, the Inkaterra Association and PromPerú, the teams will travel 840km through Peru, from Tambopata in southern Peru, to the bio diverse cloud forest of Machu Picchu, and the teams will stay at the Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica and Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.

The actual challenge won’t simply be a walk in the park for our teams. They will have to contend with the changing climates of Peru, from the tropics of the rainforest to the coolness of the Andes, not to mention the strict rules about bird sightings.

But this competition is not simply about birdwatching. The Birding Rally Challenge has some core principles behind it. Designed to develop ecotourism in Peru, the competition promotes conservation and sustainable tourism, especially regarding the local communities that are often overlooked by traditional tourism.

In December 2012, the first rally lasted five days, and a total of 692 species were sighted. The second rally, Nor Amazon, trumped this total, with the birding teams observing 864 separate species in Peru – that’s 10% of the world’s registered bird species.

The 9th December is deadline day for our five birding teams, with the closing ceremony and winners being announced at 19.00. Will it be another successful rally for the American team? Only time and a keen eye will tell.

Top sightings at Inkaterra this month

We’ve had some wonderful wildlife sightings across our Inkaterra properties in the past month. See below for some of our highlights and unique stories from Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion and Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica. Each of these sightings are seen and reported by the Inkaterra Explorer Guides during our Inkaterra excursions.

SaltarinLuis Ortiz, Inkaterra Explorer Guide, has been conducting a Lek Monitoring Project, consisting in a group of males competing for a chance to mate with females, of Band-Tailed Manakins (Pipra fasciicauda) at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica. In one of his most recent outings, Luis observed a specimen performing a series of exhibition movements, such as jumping and dancing, in order to attract a mate. The sighting lasted about five minutes, long enough to record the activity, as part of the project, and take the photo above.

Jergon

Written by Lizbeth Chávez, our Explorer guide at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion 

As we headed back to the lodge with two Spanish travellers from a canoe ride at Lake, we were entering the exit canal of the lake and I spotted what appeared to be an extremely poisonous snake. A two meter long fer-de-lance (Bothrops atrox) laid well camouflaged on top of some dead leaves. This snake species is  difficult to observe due to its solitary and silent behaviour. When sighted, it stayed very quiet and still, as if waiting for a distracted prey to walk by. Being underneath the sun’s rays I realised it was basking in order to warm its blood. After a few minutes of observing the snake (which allowed us to take some photos) we decided it was time for us to continue our journey, leaving the fer-de-lance alone sunbathing at the lake.

Caiman-Negro

On the Twilight River excursion with the help of Alan (another Inkaterra Explorer Guide) we observed a rarely seen species of alligator in the Madre de Dios River: a black caiman (Melanosuchus niger). Although we observed the caiman’s head protruding above the water surface, measuring about 70 centimeters long. Calculating the length of his body according to the size of his head (which usually is 7 times longer) we arrived to the conclusion that the caiman was about 4 to 5 meters long from its mouth all the way to the tip of the tail. It was so large that he was not afraid when our boat stopped a few meters away. The caiman stood still for more than 2 minutes, allowing us to observe this reptile in detail: black head,  big eyes, and its mouth filled with sharp teeth. I share with you a photo of the sighting. Enjoy!

A day as a bear at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

A day as a bear...

At 12:30m on September 22nd, Inkaterra staff working near the Vilcanota River reported the sighting of a spectacled bear within the hotel grounds, also known as Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus), walking on the left bank of the Vilcanota River in front of Café Inkaterra restaurant. Fortunately the bear was in sight for more than 30 minutes which allowed staff members and travelers to observe and take pictures of this interesting species. During that time the bear went down to the river, drank water, took a bath, and then climbed a tree to feed on bromeliads. Quite a show. Let’s hope he visits us again!

Spotted at Inkaterra... our spectacle bear family

At 3:45 pm on October 7th, Florentino Candia and Rudy Quiroz, security and logistics personnel at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel respectively, were working near the railroad, when they saw some branches moving on the opposite side of the river. After a few minutes, a spectacle bear (Tremarctos ornatus)appeared from between the branches looking for bromeliads. They immediately reported the sighting to the Ecology and Ecotourism staffs by radio come and watch this interesting species. The bear was 2 years old approximately and looked underweight, due to the dry season that the area was currently going through. The sightings are specially important because we can learn more about the species behaviour, eating and breading habits.

Check back on our blog next month for our top sightings from November!

Chocolate Week at Inkaterra

Chocolate Week 2013

This week is Chocolate Week (14th-20th October), the one week where it’s socially acceptable to eat chocolate at all hours of the day. Across the UK, brands, businesses and consumers are joining in the fun; from Chocolate Factory Open Days to open screenings of the film Chocolat’, it will no doubt be a week of indulgence. To celebrate this wondrous occasion, Inkaterra has launched a tree-to-tummy chocolatey experience at their Amazon Rainforest hotel Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion. Chocoholics can be enthralled in all things delicious by learning about the world of cocoa, deep in the rainforest.

Chocolate Week 2013

Guides will unveil secrets about the millennium-old cocoa trees and their sought-after pods. Then guests will hike through the plantation’s cocoa groves and learn the magic behind the most decadent of ingredients – used for ceremonial, medicinal as well as culinary purposes in Mayan, Aztec and Inca cultures. Guests also have the opportunity to learn how to make tasty treats including chocolate bars, cookies and freshly baked chocolate bread before tasting the delicious results.

Cocoa pods

José Koechlin, founder of Inkaterra, explains how sustainable practices play a fundamental role in the cocoa harvesting at the property:

Cocoa pods grow along the full length of the tree, which grow particularly tall at Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción. In keeping with our conservation ethos, Inkaterra staff only hand-pick pods that grow in the middle of the tree.’

To feel every inch an authentic ‘oompa loompa’, visit Inkaterra Hacienda Concepción from January to March, when the cocoa tree harvest season is at its peak and get involved in a bean-to-bar chocolate-making journey.

Chocolate Week at Inkaterra