Exploration The Cocamas Indians of the Amazon Jungle Iquitos, Peru

As a Cocama Indian of the Amazon Jungle it is a daily occurrence to see pink dolphins swimming in the river.  It is rare to see a man who has white skin.  It is common to feel humidity and extreme heat.  It is rare to feel true cold.  It is common to inhale the freshest and purest air on the earth, while rare, to see air pollution.  Common to smell the sweetest aromatic flowers, that fill the air with perfumes many buy at department stores.  Rare to smell a fast food restaurant.  Common to encounter a threatening tarantula, rare to encounter a threatening human.  It is common to catch your food, not order it.  It is daily life to enjoy the songs of the jungle not of the radio.  A native has a pet monkey, not a dog.    Common to travel in a wooden compact boat,  for twenty four hours to the next village, sitting inches off the water and away from fish that could eat a man in less than ten minutes.

Cocama 1

Cocama 2

The small Pueblo of San Martin de Tipishca is located in the Pacaya Samiria National reserve.  This is the second largest national reserve in Peru.  The Cocamas Indians are the only people who may live in the reserve.  Their village has 520 people, 200 are children.

Cocama 3
Sunset on the reserve.  Pink dolphins played around us.

Cocama 4

A Village, westward on the Amazon into the reserve zone.  Because boat trips are long, village inhabitants have learned that cold drinks and food are in high demand and sell to boats as they stop.

Cocama 5

Cocama 6

This Renaco tree is enormous and is over 200 feet in circumference. The open range of summer.  As winter season approaches the water level rises touching the trees

Cocama 7
Large Piranhas for Lunch, a delicious entree.

Cocama 8
This crocodile stretched three and a half feet and was a special catch.

Cocama 9
Sunset on the Pacaya Samiria reserve. 

The reserve stretches, two-million-eight-hundred and eighty hectacres from the river Maranon and the Ucayali, a short distance from the Amazon river.  This area is home to an estimated 449 species of birds, 102 species of mammals, 69 species of reptiles, 58 species of anfibians, 256 species of fish and 1024 different species of wild and cultivated plants.

Cocama 10

Cocama 11

Cocama 12

Cocama 13
(Top)  The natives getting some work done on their huts.  (Bottom)  The chief of the San Marin de Tipishca, Manuel Ahuari Yuyarima, describing five of the natural medicines of the jungle.  From left to right:  1.  Cumaceba, made from the Yakapu tree, dranken to give one very strong energy.  2.  Sanango, made from a plant, dranken for good luck.  3.  Chuchuwasi, made from the Tatarumi and Yakaporona trees, good for your blood and to keep one warm.  4.  Abota, made from the Leanna tree, dranken to clean out the bad spirits.  5.  Mirapura Natural Honey, dranken for energy and fertility.

Cocama 14

Cocama 15
A biologist digs a whole 15 to 20 cm deep and places all the eggs from one mother turtle into the whole. 

Yuyarima is also the founder of a group called Asiendas.  This group is dedicated to the preservation of jungle life.  The group from San Martin de Tipishca has many objectives surrounding the preservation of their environment and of Asiendas.  These things include but are not limited to: conservation, reforestation and ecotourism.  One such project is with the Taricaya Turtles.  A project that has just recently started, Asiendas travel into the jungle to gather their eggs and re-plant them in a contained environment to increase their chances for continued reproduction.  The population of the Taricaya turtles has been diminished greatly by people who sell their eggs in the city.  Of the 4, 616 eggs they plant yearly, approximately 85% will hatch.  The incubation process is 70 days, start to finish.  Asiendas builds a sand box, contained area to protect the eggs from both predators and greedy people.

Cocama 16
Storms move through this area rapidly and sometimes violently, but they always leave a plentiful reward.

Feature written by Phillips, Blume and Tello, September 2001, who visited the Cocama Indians.  All specific research regarding the Paca Samaria reserve zone provided by Blume who is a practicing biologist from University of California Berkley. Information given to us regarding the explanation of trees and functions that they may do, was provided by Manuel Ahuari Yuyarima, Chief of the San Marin de Tipishca village, and has not been scientifically proven.  The collection and preservation of turtle eggs is done in cooperation with government officials from the reserve zone as well as the Cocama Indians in an attempt to prevent sale of the eggs to the city.


Their are limits placed on how many visitors can enter the reserve zone a year and spots fill up quickly. Trips vary from five to eight days and can be customized to fit any persons needs. Understand, that this adventure may not be suitable for everyone because of the long time spent in boats and other extreme circumstances. There are several ways to arrange this adventure. You can call email the Cocama chief directly or use the Iquitos Chamber of Commerce to help better direct you: Napo 226 Plaza de Armas Iquitos, Peru Phone: (94) 235-621 Email: [email protected]


Manuel Ahuari Yuyarima Oficina de Iquito Distrito Punchana Calle Piura 1072 Iquitos, Peru Telephone: (094) 251-185 email: [email protected]

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