Ecological biodiversity and a tropical climate are the perfect breeding ground for a wide assortment of distinctive flora. In Bolivia’s Madidi National Park, one of the most biodiverse protected areas on the planet, this is especially true. Within the deep jungle canopy thousands of flora species can be found. For foodies, Madidi National Park provides an especially interesting opportunity; within the borders of the Amazonian park a number of unique, edible and most importantly delicious fruits are abounding.
Pineapple, banana and cacao are popular snacks in the tropics, but in Madidi you’ll find more unusual varieties of fruit. Here are three of our favorite unique jungle fruits that you can eat right off the tree in Madidi National Park:
Pacay, commonly referred to as the ice-cream bean, is a podded capsule that to those who don’t know, resembles for a vegetable than the sweet custard like legume it is. The white edible pulp that surrounds the beans large seeds grows throughout Madidi National Park.
With a texture similar to cotton candy, and a sugar rich content, pacay are a sweet natural treat. Good thing pacay trees abound here: they are a popular snack and a favorite for both the jungle’s local animal and human residents.
Achachairu resembles the mangosteen and is known for its prolific fruiting throughout Madidi. Called achacha for short, the fruit looks as if it was created out of the pages of Tropics 101.
Achacha has a bright orange skin which adds to the visual appeal of the small egg-shaped treat. The fruit, however is not just a pretty one to look at, the flavor of achacha is as attractive as its’ vibrant peel: the white pulp exhibits an alluring and addictive balance of bitter and sweet.
It’s not uncommon to see locals in Madidi snacking on achacha every and all day long. For those lucky enough to stay overnight at one of the many ecolodges that are spread throughout Madidi National Park, it is usually served sweetened and puréed as a refreshing morning drink.
Pineapple, banana and cacao are popular snacks in the tropics, but in Madidi you’ll find more unusual varieties of fruit.
If you like chocolate covered fruit, it’s likely you’ll enjoy cupuaçu. The Bolivian jungle fruit is related to the more famous cacao plant. Cupuaçu fruits are fuzzy an oblong, resembling some sort of overgrown coconut.
The pulp of the fruit itself is rather unique and because so, a favorite of Bolivians especially for use in desserts, juice and sweets. When cracked open, cupuaçu releases a fragrance that smells like a cross between chocolate and pineapple and when eaten, the flavor of the fruit has additional hints of pear and banana.
The all around jungle superfruit, cupuaçu can be eaten fresh, baked into a sweet cake or as a juice is a real unique Madidi treat.