I was constantly amazed by our guides’ skills and knowledge. I’ve been living in a world where everything we could ever want or need can be ordered through a computer and delivered to our doorstep in just 2 days, so it was fascinating to remove myself entirely from modern conveniences and learn how to live off the jungle.
Need some water? Cut this vine and hold it up above your mouth. The water dripping out of it tastes slightly like carrots but it is still refreshing. In the mood for a cigarette? This vine can be smoked too.
Hungry? Try some larva from this large nut-looking thing from this tree. Not great to survive off of for days at a time, but it’ll keep you moving for a bit longer.
Feeling warm and need a fan? Use a section of a palm frond to weave one. The palm frond can also be a placemat for you dinner, a bed that protects you from snakes and spiders, or the roof of your shelter.
How about a spoon or a plate? There are trees and leaves for that too.
Need to signal your location or spend a night protected from predators? Large trees make perfect bedrooms and their sturdy but thin walls make a sound you can hear for kilometers.
Bow? No problem when you have the bark from a certain tree. Just use a machete to shred it down to the fibers and wind yourself a string. This also works to make a foot harness for climbing acai trees. Or a bracelet, like the one currently tied around my wrist that our guide Mathias made for me.
I haven’t even mentioned the menthol tree to help pain, ant nest for mosquito repellent, or the malaria medication tree.
The survival skills I was taught in the jungle are such a particular and fascinating knowledge. Part of it our guides know just from experience and part is because they had to go to guide school. All if it impressive.
With all of this though, there are still 2 essential tools that you need when venturing into the jungle: a machete and a lighter. As Mathias said, the machete is most important, but never go into the jungle without a way to make fire – that would just be stupid.