After visiting Kuelap, Oscar waits for us, he is the owner of the “Estancia el Chillo” where we will spend the following 2 nights. He picks us up at Tingo Viejo, because the Estancia is a fifteen minute drive from the nearest town.
When we arrive, the beauty of the place immediately surprises us. For me this is the nicest place we have ever stayed. The house, situated at the foot of the mountains, is surrounded by acres of wild nature. The whole garden is filled with fountains, ponds, sculptures and ceramics made by Oscar and his brother. Everywhere there are benches, chairs and hammocks to enjoy a bit of tranquility and freshness.
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Our room is very large and decorated in a rustic style, floor and ceiling of stone, red bricks in the bathroom, wooden furniture and of course, all carved by the owner of the house. This time (and this is going to be the only one) there is no Wi – Fi, which leaves us time to try the siesta in the hammock!!
In the evening after a local meal, simple but very good and abundant, which consists of vegetable soup, rice, vegetables and grilled chicken, we go to bed early to be fresh for the next day.
That night, the moon gave us a wonderful show!
The next day we spend at the private nature reserve of Milpuj La Heredad. It is a private conservation area, which means that the owners decided to preserve the environment in which they live by transforming their property into a natural park. This place is located only 2 miles from the Estancia el Chillo, so we decide to go by foot. The road runs along the Utcubamba River and in the morning is very beautiful.
Thanks to Oscar’s instructions, we easily find the entrance of Milpuj, but beware of those who come by car, the only sign indicating the reservation is the entrance of the same. Therefore, don’t miss it !
Perico and his mother Lola greet us. The two of them manage alone the 60 hectars of the property. Only 16 hectars are currently considered private conservation area. Before a short hike on the trails, Perico explains in detail how they work. He also talks about all the actions he has implemented to publicize and promote that Peruvians preserve their environment.
Perico is mainly concerned with the reforestation of the property in order to preserve the endemic species. Scottish researchers have even identified new species of plants that can only be found here. Actually they had thought that they had already disappeared from the Amazon region.
The most valuable tree on the property is called “Tara”. More than 20 000 are in the field. And the majority were planted by Perico so that they do not disappear. This tree gives long and flat fruits that contain seeds (similar to bean pods). The Tara is used by the industry to transform leather skins without using chemicals (such as chrome, for example). It also is used by the food industry as a thickener and by the pharmaceutical industry for the production of medicines.
In addition, nothing better to cure sore throat, than the infusion of 3 pods of Tara in boiling water with a little lemon and salt. Once cold, simply gargle with the mix at night to feel better instantly. And in fact we realize that the sore throat has passed the next morning. Tested and approved by the 2 of us, as we were bad with a sore throat for 2 days!
Perico also has a dozen of hives, which allow him to produce about 100 kg of honey per year and sell it in Lima. We will be entitled to a small container especially for us.
Perico is very implicated in environmental issues. He wanted to raise awareness in the population and especially in the future generations about the need to protect their environment. Therefore he wrote an educational book for children. A designer friend helped him to design it nicely. He had it printed, and now goes once a week to the village school. There he teaches children the importance of protecting plants and animals. Each year, two campaigns are also organized. One is to educate children not to chase and kill animals. The other one talks about collecting waste.
Perico is always looking for funding (for books printing and thus distribute more widely), but also for qualified volunteers for teaching. Do not hesitate to contact if you think you can help!
After his explanation, Perico takes us on a short walk to show us all the trees and plants that he had told us about. We head to the path that runs through his property. In this dry season, only bromeliads still have leaves, I suggest arriving rather between April and mid-June in order to take advantage of the beauty of the place.
This visit and this meeting will remain one of the most beautiful stays. Perico and his mother are really incredibly nice and really passionate about what they do.
Know that if you want to participate in this project and help, Perico and Lola are always looking for volunteers and believe me, you will be very welcome!
To learn more about the Milpuj La Heredad, you can see this video, made by “Conservemos por naturaleza”, an association that supports projects for the protection of the environment: http://www.conservamospornaturaleza.org/area/milpuj-the-Heredad /
This article is an English translation of the article of Voyage Peru: Recit de voyage: Estancia el Chillo et Milpuj
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