A two-hour drive, about 24 kilometers, along a rough road from San Ramón ’s Victoria Bridge, followed by a steep two-hour walk, leads to a stunning patch of high cloud forest known as Pampa Hermosa. This reserved zone with almost 10,000 hectares, protected since 2005 by the Peruvian government, contains primeval cedar, walnut, and strangler fig trees. It is oddly flat, like an island of jungle perched 1,600 meters in the air.
Steep access has kept loggers away. Nearby communities are now protecting this last patch of virgin primary forest, which is filled with the noises of monkeys and the musky odor of the white-collared peccary.
On the hike up is a lek, a sort of sexual playground where up to a dozen male Andean cocks of the rock flit up and down every dawn and dusk to attract their mates.
At the road head, the Signori family has built Pampa Hermosa Lodge (Lima tel. 01/225-1776, signori [at] terra [dot] com [dot] pe, www.pampahermosalodge.com , US$70 pp with full pension and guide services), consisting of 11 wooden bungalows with thatched roofs, solar-heated water, and river-generated