After a day and a half at the Iguaçu Falls, which were absolutely spectacular, we drove for two and a half hours to Yacutinga Lodge in the rainforest. The Lodge is an attractive wooden building surrounded by tropical vegetation and with small chalet bedrooms. In the evening of our arrival we were given information on the subtropical rainforest, of which only 6% of the area in 1900 still survives.
The next day we got up early to start our walk in the rainforest at seven. We were taken by Nati, one of the staff at the Lodge, and the chief of the local Guarani Indians. They helped us to look at the local plants and to spot the animals and birds: monkeys, a coati and a squirrel cuckoo scuttling along the branches of a tree. We also saw some wonderful butterflies: there were several huge ones that were inconspicuous when they had its their wings folded, as the outside was brown, but provided spectacular glimpses of bright blue when they flew off. In the afternoon we walked down to a stream which divided the Lodge’s land from the Guaranis’ reserve. We paddled down the stream, two to a canoe.
After a while, the stream joined the river, which is well over a mile wide at that point, with fast currents. Visions of ending up at the falls, 100 km downstream, were allayed by the fact that I had Jean-Pierre, our very competent leader, in the back of my canoe, and he ensured that we were all able to land safely a little further down the river. After supper we went for another walk in the forest, listening to the night sounds, including two owls calling to each other, and seeing the eyes of a nightjar looking at us from further down the track. It was well past eleven by the time we got to bed.
The next day we went on another early walk and I finished the morning sleeping in a hammock by the pool. Who said that holidays are supposed to be restful?