I went to Amazonia Expeditions in Iquitos and they assigned a local guide Manuel who is born in a village near their Tahuayo lodge.
The owner was a retired researcher from US who married a lady from the jungle area and she run the operation at the lodge. I have to say the owner is the most responsible and considerable person who looks after the guests with the utmost care. You can see it from the reviews.
Manuel took me to the upper white river (one of the origins of the Amazon river) by a boat, which native locals use, into the jungle camping for 3 days. He only brought a water tank (only for me as he and his boat driver drink the water from the river), a pot, a machete, and fishing line and hooks. Brought no food because all the foods we had were by fishing or digging plants.
His grand father lead a group of people in search for rubber trees and settled there and opened up the village (Pueblo Chino because there was a Chinese family from Ecuador among them) and his father was also a guide helping the researchers in the jungle.
He told that the navigation he uses was remembering the shapes of trees or paths and their locations, like a photographic memory creating mental maps. Without compass or GPS, the native locals can walk around in the jungle without getting lost. He said not everyone had such navigation skills, that is why he is a good guide in the jungle.
Some tips from him.
- Use long rubber boots instead of trekking shoes to protect legs from snakes trying to bite (they provide for the guests).
- Light colour clothes as black/dark colour attracts mosquitoes
- Do not touch trees as it can be toxic, spiky, or fire ants walking
- Do not pick up things from the ground without first checking snakes or other harms
- Do not set out on your own just for a walk or a toilet as it gets easily disoriented. Talk to the guide first.
Snake is a real threat. During the stay at the lodge, another guide almost step on a toxic snake, and there is no chance to survive if bitten because the nearest hospital is 3 hour away. Exposing lower legs and walking around is putting yourself in the harm's way.
Those techniques he showed during the camping were, how to find a water vine to get a fresh water in the jungle, how to make a boat paddle, etc. I also stayed at his place with his family and kids to experience the local life.
Amazonia Expedition can find a guide like Manuel.