Santuario Chuchini

Top choice in Amazon Basin

The Santuario Chuchini (Jaguar's Lair) is one of the few easily accessible Paitití sites. This wildlife sanctuary and camp sits on an 8-hectare loma (artificial mound) of the ancient civilization. From the camp, you can take short walks in the rainforest to lagoons with caimans, other larger animals and profuse birdlife.

The camp has shady, covered picnic sites, trees, children’s swings and a variety of native plants, birds and animals. There’s also an archaeological museum displaying articles excavated from the loma, including bizarre statues as well as a piece that appears to be a female figure wearing a bikini (it’s actually thought to be an identification of, and homage to, specific body areas rather than an article of clothing).

You can volunteer here (one week minimum) and package-tour visits booked in Trinidad may work out a bit cheaper. Further information is available from managers Miriam and Efrem Ibis, or travel agencies in Trinidad. Unless you organize a tour, which will include transportation, you’ll have to negotiate with a moto-taxi driver (typically B$20) for the 14km journey north of town. It’s also a good destination for those who’ve rented their own motorcycles.

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