Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm and Animal Orphanage
The best day trip from Iquitos is Pilpintuwasi (tel. 065/23-2665, pilpintuwasi [at] hotmail [dot] com, www.amazonanimalorphanage.org, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tues.–Sun., US$5 adults, US$3 students), which means “butterfly’s home” in Quechua. Huge mesh tents contain numerous butterfly species fluttering above the stone paths that lead through exotic gardens. The facility was founded by an Austrian-Peruvian couple, Gudrun Sperrer and Roblar Moreno, who have designed the garden to contain all the fruits, flowers, and leaves that caterpillars and butterflies need for survival.
Apart from butterflies, the place also receives rescued wild animals, including Pedro Bello, a jaguar; Chavo, a red uakari monkey; Rosa, an anteater; and another dozen animals that Sperrer and Moreno adopted to save from being sold or killed. Pilpintuwasi is in Padre Cocha and always welcomes volunteers who want to work in the butterfly farm or help take care of the animals.
To reach the farm, head to the port of Bella Vista–Nanay, 15 minutes outside of town and accessible by colectivos along Próspero that read Bella Vista–Nanay. It is about a 20-minute boat ride from here, passing Bora and Yagua villages along the way, though in low-water months passengers have to disembark early and walk along a path for 15 minutes.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition