Plataforma: Getting there

One of the birds that we most wanted to see was the Scarlet-banded Barbet. This stunning bird was not discovered until 1996, found in a site that can only be reached by a 7-day hike. Needless to say, few people have visited that site to see it. In 2010, a small population was discovered in a more accessible site. Relatively more accessible, that is. Still, probably only a couple hundred people have ever seen this bird and we wanted to join that select group.

This “relatively accessible” location is at the village of Plataforma, which can be reached by a 75 km (47 mile) truck drive from Bellavista. The thing is, road conditions make this drive take 7.5 hours. Seven and a half hours of being thrown about the inside of a wildly lurching Toyota pickup.

This is our truck, stopping along the way to fill up with gas. This outfit apparently transports people back and forth all the time. As the rich gringos I'm sure that we were paying a higher price than the local people, but we got to ride inside the truck. Note that passengers riding in the truck bed include an old woman and a little girl.
Taken out the side window. You guys will just have to wait a minute, we are a bit sideways at the moment.
Truck going the other way.
Here we have all stopped to wait for...
these guys to get out of the way so that we can come through. Moments after I took this photo, the first truck got out, and very shortly the second truck followed. Then we went through with barely a pause.

As seven-and-a-half hours of this dragged into the night, I had to keep reminding myself that it was an adventure. I also hoped not to have another adventure any time soon.