A Night on the Banks of the Amazon River

September 20, 2023 My travel Journal, The most beautiful places in Colombia

As the afternoon faded, the animals woke up from the lethargy produced by the midday heat.

The living jungle

The monkeys jumped between the branches, eating the fruits they threw with certainty. As they fell next to me, I wondered if they did it for fun, to mark their territory, or simply because they saw another more appetizing one. Their expressions left me with serious doubts.

Then I heard the powerful scream of a bird named Horned Screamer (Anhima cornuta). It has fluffy and shiny black plumage, with touches of white on the neck and abdomen and a pair of spurs on the wings that it uses to protect its territory and to fight for the females. It shouldn’t worry much about this type of fight since they are monogamous and choose a partner for life.

Their black, lively eyes stand out from their dark head, and their main feature is a long cartilage horn that comes out of their forehead and can measure more than two inches. If it breaks, it grows back. Its call is thunderous and powerful, and its name is derived from these two characteristics.

The night

Once it got dark, a fantastic lightning storm broke out in the distance, illuminating the thick, dark clouds. The spaces between them shone and turned pink, orange, and purple while millions of stars began to blink above my head.

The insects filled the jungle with a deafening bustle as the sunlight obscured. This was the perfect time to walk with a flashlight on our heads, and all five senses focused on discovering all those little bugs that created that fascinating concert.

The bugs

Foto Carolina Villegas

The narrow path entered the forest and disappeared into the thicket. The darkness was broken only by the beams from the flashlights. I felt very excited. Our guide was ahead, walking carefully through a non-existent path between the bushes and the tangle of the forest. We walked through the tall grasses, around the roots of the large trees, and under the damp branches of foliage. There was a moment when the guide asked us to turn off the flashlights, feel the jungle’s force, and focus solely on listening. It was a wonderful experience!

You can feel it, too. Close your eyes and listen:

I’m not afraid of bugs, and that’s why I was able to enjoy every second of that magical walk. On the bark of the trees, I found several species of spiders, including the gigantic tarantulas and the famous scorpion spider from the Harry Potter story. We also saw a constrictor snake that grows to measure six feet.

Crickets with enormous antennae were hiding on the back of the leaves, and a mantis was undergoing metamorphosis. I also saw moths and other tiny insects whose eyes and wings glowed in the dark. My favorites, without a doubt, were the poisonous frogs. Their colors are spectacular.

The Storm

But as everything ended, the walk ended, and from the safety of an elevated cabin, I went to bed surrounded by a storm with an endless show of lightning. The roar of the wind that blew through the cracks of the wooden slats and the thunder so close, I felt a rumble vibrating on my bed. The rain that gives life to the jungle stopped at dawn. It was a remarkable night!


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