Sunday, May 12, 2024

Beyond the Tourist Trail: A Week of Raw Amazonian Life (WITH STUNNING PHOTOS)!

We are happy to share good news from the jungle! Now that we have stable internet (thank you to our donors), we finally have sustainable tourism to help support our mission's educational goals in the village.

Last April, Paul joined us to volunteer in the village. He found out about La Libertad through a website we maintain for Gustavo. Paul is a professional photographer and media specialist. He is interested in helping with the project. Paul took many photos for Gustavo and us to use for information and promotion. He also helped Gustavo translate prospective clients' inquiries into English and gave him advice on managing his tourism business which launched this Spring on!

Please read Paul's review below and enjoy the photographic record of the time he spent in La Libertad.

It was an unforgettable experience, unlike anything I've ever done.

For full disclosure, I originally booked for one night, but I stayed a week.  I've traveled across six continents and never done anything like this.  This visit has meant so much to me; I will write a lot about it.

I'm from the US.  I've visited the Amazon once before but felt it wasn't as "intimate" of a jungle experience as I'd hoped.  It was just one of those 4-day package tours out of Cusco.  I realize now that it lacked the cultural connection, which I found here unexpectedly.  Here is a community just living in the jungle.  I don't know how to put it.  There's no show here; it's real and raw.  And I learned so much.  

Gustavo is one of the baddest dudes I've ever met.  I highly recommend a multi-day jungle tour with him.  The amount of ancestral knowledge he has about his natural habitat is incredible.  I now know which vines contain potable water inside, which plants/fruits/bugs treat dengue or asthma or scorpion bites, how to communicate with friends across a 10km distance via a tree root system (yes, really), and how to weave an entire backpack or build a hut from just coconut palm.  I felt completely safe in the wilderness with him, embraced by it even.  His prices are super reasonable.  It was pretty difficult- the heat here is no joke.  But an experience of a lifetime.

For context, I'm the kind of traveler who likes camping, outdoorsy stuff, pushing my comfort zone, etc.  I think that's an essential note since people have all sorts of different travel goals.  They mean it when they say they're not a luxury resort; it can sometimes be primitive.  It might be outside your comfort zone, but you will feel a new kind of comfort in exchange.  You'll do well here if you are a hiker, camper, outdoorsy, or humble/open-minded traveler.  

With that in mind, you get everything to fulfill your basic needs, and Gustavo's family is lovely and attentive.  I bought groceries in Leticia and took them on the boat with me easily.  The kitchen has anything your standard Airbnb would have, just a little weathered.  A few doors down, there's also a small tienda (store) that sells basic things - rice, oil, onions, canned sausages, etc.  

The other struggle I had was just the heat & humidity.  I wanted to join in some of the daily work like jungle foraging for medicines or harvesting plantain, and it was all SO cool, but there were multiple times when I had to stop because I felt dizzy from heat exhaustion.  It was another learning experience.  I'm in relatively good shape, but these folks are tough.  That all said, even just hanging out in the village is excellent, and you'll always have kids to play games with, a symphony of fauna noises to listen to, or a legendary river to dip in.

Here is one of Gustavo's first tourism reviews from an Estonian visitor on

It's an amazing community found in natural beauty mixed with the experience of how modernization goes along with local communities.  Gustavo received me excitedly, showed me around places, took me hiking in the jungle, and taught me many things.  And his hospitality is just 10/10!  This place is not for every tourist but for travelers seeking an authentic experience with the Amazonas and its people over comfort in one of the most unique and beautiful natural settings.

Here are some tips to make your experience better:

    1. Bring your own water.  Resources are hard to get to the community, but it's good to respect that.
    2. Be ready to adjust to a few things depending on the situation - e.g., no electricity at night, makeshift showers, etc.  Treat the whole stay as an experience rather than a stay; these things become secondary.
    3. If you sit by the river for a while (with your repellent on), you'll see many dolphins!
    4. As with any other natural place, always check your shoes, bed, toilet seat, etc before using :)
    5. Ask Gustavo for a custom tour and experience, and he'll happily make it happen at a great price.  He has more than 15 years of experience as a guide!

Visit us in La Libertad!  Gustavo's page on and more photos (including details of the guesthouse) may be seen at: