Peru Amazon and Lima

Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
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Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Where I stayed
La Arapaima cruise boat/6 nites

Flag of Peru  , Loreto,
Thursday, May 6, 2010

Just returned from the 12-day trip of the Peru Amazon.  It was amazing!  
Here is my preliminary group of photos.   I scanned them, then printed them up in a group of 4, 5X3.5" sets.  The sequence for the descriptions are: top row from left=a to right=b, and bottom row from left=c, and right=d.   You can click on the photo page to enlarge them or to look at the video.


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The Pacaya Samiria natural reserve is the area between the Yunmaguas and Maranon Rivers.  We visited Nauta and several villages while in this area.   I was unable to find any map that identifies the Pacaya Samiria natural reserve area on the internet.   

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As a group tour, this is one of those short ones that lasted a total of  12-days, and that includes two full days of travel.  However, the remaining 10-days were really “full” days of site-seeing and activities that would satisfy most travelers who desires adventure, and some amazing sites.

This was my third visit to Lima, but I was able to see and learn more about this metropolis of eight million.

Most of us arrived in Lima in the wee hours of the morning – like 4:30AM. It took awhile for all 14 of us to clear customs, collect our bags, and meet in the greeting area of the airport terminal. Two in our group arrived a day earlier.

Although the tap water in Lima is of good quality, we were informed not to drink it, but it was okay to brush your teeth with it. The travel company (Overseas Adventure Travel) provided
us with plenty of bottled water during the ten days we were in Peru.



We were taken out for breakfast before our check-in at the hotel, Jose Antonio Lima Hotel, in the Miraflores District of Lima. After a short rest, our group met in the lobby at 11:00AM for an orientation walk.  We ended up at the Quartier Latin (highly recommended) for lunch, and was given the rest of the afternoon to explore on our own or to rest. I walked around by myself to visit the art museum that had a sign about “van Gogh,” and to visit some souvenir shops that our Tour Director pointed out to us while on our walk but didn't visit. I ended up at Kennedy Park to get a better “feel” for the area since it's the central socializing place for the locals.

Peru Amazon & Lima Attractions

LIMA:

a  We spent the first three nights at this hotel, the Jose Antonio Lima Hotel.
b  Kennedy Park is a short distance walk from our hotel.  They hold public concerts where people are welcomed to perform, sing, play instruments, perform tricks, and entertain the crowds that come here.
c  There are 42 districts in Lima, each with their own city hall and mayor.  Many have weddings here, and we saw one as the bride and groom walked out.
d  There is a huge souvenir shopping district in Lima; many in our group ended up there on our free time.
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a, b, c  While on our orientation walking tour, we passed by this art gallery with the "van Gogh" sign.  I made it a point to visit this gallery on my free time, thinking it was a collection of original van Gogh paintings.   To my surprise and pleasure, they turned out to be whimsical paintings.
d  This is a mock-up of a famous van Gogh painting.  I have seen the original several times during my travels.
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a  Gathering at 11AM for our orientation walking tour around Miraflores District.
b  Quartier Latin Restaurant where we had lunch.   Some people returned here for their last dinner in Lima while eight of us ended up at a restaurant recommended by Denny in our group.  There is a restaurant in San Francisco called Lamar by the same owner.
c  I walked to this souvenir shopping district, but did not buy anything.   I also saw some people from our group shopping.
d  We walked past this casino, Atlantic City, on our orientation walking tour.
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Kennedy Park: There's a bust of Kennedy in the park.
a  Several from our group ended up here for dinner.  Cafe de la Paz was recommended by our Tour Director, and is located next to Kennedy Park with outside seating.
b  Church at Kennedy Park at night
c  They hold a night market here every Sunday evening.   It is packed with people, and the variety of goods for sale are as varied as one can expect from home-made crafts, antiques, to boxed butterflies, tarantulas, and beetles.
d  I took a short tape of their singing, and will add it later. 
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This is a video on the public chorus performance at Kennedy Park:

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Mime near Kennedy Park
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Archeology, Anthropology, & History Museum:
a  This skull was "shaped" from infancy.
b  Inca wood sculpture
c  Facade of museum; across the street is a park with a sculpture of Bolivar.
d  Vase with face.
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Article by Edgardo Schijman:
"Introduction Artificial deformation of the neonatal cranial vault is one form of permanent
alteration of the body that has been performed by the human being from the beginning of history as a way of differentiating from others. These procedures have been observed on all continents, although it became widespread practice among the aborigines who lived in the Andean region
of South America. It has been suggested that the expansion of this practice started with the Scythians from their original settlements in central Asia and spread toward the rest of Asia and Europe, and it is believed that Asiatic people carried this cultural custom to America
when they arrived on the current coasts of Alaska after crossing the Strait of Behring. The practice of deforming newborn heads was present in the whole of the American continent, from North America to Patagonia,but cranial molding in neonates was most widely practiced in the Andean region, from Venezuela to Guyana, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina."
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Bust of Bolivar
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Plaza Mayor: Main plaza of Lima.
a  Lima Cathedral
b  Plaza Mayor
c  Lima Cathedral entrance
d  Bishop's Palace adjacent to the cathedral
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Pizzaro was responsible for the Lima Cathedral design.
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Francisco Pizzaro's tomb
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Lima Cathedral door
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Francisco Pizzaro: founder of Lima. 
a and b  sign and skeleton/bone description
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a  Sculpture of San Martin at the Plaza of San Martin
b  Street scene by Plaza Mayor
c  San Francisco Cathedral; not far from Plaza Mayor.  Did not visit this time, but they have a catacomb here with displays of bones.
d  Another street scene by Plaza Mayor
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a  Old train station; see sculpture of train
b  Archaeological site at Parque de La Muralla
c  A busy street with many varied-styled busses
d  Statue of Francisco Pizzaro at the park
The only statue of Francisco Pizarro in all of Peru once stood in the Plaza de Armas, but in 2003, after protests from indigenous groups, the city moved the offending statue to Parque de la Muralla.  Pizarro had slaughtered thousands of natives, including the Inca emperor, and destroyed the Inca Empire.  The park's restored section of the old wall that once surrounded the city was originally constructed in the 17th century to protect the it from English pirates and other enemies of the crown.
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Huaca Pucllana: Dates back to around 400AD, and is older than Machu Picchu.  This construction of handmade pyramids of sun-dried bricks, stands at about 72 feet high and 37 acres in area.  Since many homes and other buildings have been built over Huaca Pucllana, it's original size will probably never be known.   Huaca Pucclana is a recent discovery.  Our docent used to play in this area when he was a child, and he spent eight months in Japan when he was 13 years old.  He speaks Japanese better than I.
a  Museum building on the grounds
b  Lima dog
c  Alpacas  (alpacas' tails hang while llama tails are up)
d  Structure of bricks
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a  Flat section of huaca pucclana
b  Docent
c  View of restaurant on the grounds
d  Pyramid
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Larcomar's Manos Restaurant
a  My shrimp cocktail; loved it
b  Dessert
c  View from my seat
d  huaca pucclana restaurant table
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Dinner and cultural show; $45
a  Picture with the scissor dancers
b  Mask display on wall in restaurant
c  Performers
d  Spanish-like dance
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These are videos on the Scissor Dance. 
 

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The Villa el Salvador tour; $45
Fishing village and market
a  Guy with a funny hat
b  Pelicans
c  Restaurant on site
d  Fishing boats with skyscrapers in background
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a  Fish for sale
b  Produce for sale
c  Shanty town
d  Scallops for sale
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Part of tour:
a  Shanty town street
b  Water delivery
c  Another street
d  Children playing soccer
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Pachacamac Archaeological site: (Is Quechua and means "that which gives life to the world.") Pachacamac is an Inca sanctuary used as the main place of worship in pre-Hispanic Peru.  Like Huaca Pucllana, it's constructed from adobe bricks and built around 200AC.  The fortress is made up of temples, great pyramid, small palaces, restored houses, and main roads going south-west and north-south. 
a  Totem pole
b  Pyramid
c  Temple
d  Museum
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LIMA:
Lima is the fourth largest city in Latin America, and has a population of 8.4 million. It was
founded by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535. Today, it is a city of contrasts and contradictions with its distinct neighborhoods and architecture. They range from Spanish baroque, neoclassicism, and art nouveau to the present glass skyscrapers, and the shacks found in the shanty towns. From San Isidro, the financial district and home to politicians and celebrities to the Miraflores District with their luxury hotels, shops, and restaurants, and to the shanty town (largest in the world with 350,000 residents) in the south.It never rains in Lima, but they do get a trace of dew that doesn't even wet the ground. 

Some of us in our group went to Larcomar Mangos Restaurant (highly recommended) about five blocks from our hotel for dinner with a view of the ocean, and motorized kites flying by. I had a shrimp cocktail with wine. Some of us walked a few blocks to the park north of the restaurant where they have the kite-flying concession, but that's for another time. They charge $50 for a five minute flight.

We spent two more days after our arrival in Lima by visiting some of the most interesting sites from the Museum of Anthropology, Archeology, and History; the Huaca Pucllana archaeological site; (an optional) to Villa el Salvador/fishing port/local market (mercado) furniture industrial zone/ and the Pachacamac Archaeological site;
and our visit to the Lima Cathedral (Francisco Pizarro' tomb), Archbishop's Palace, and the Government Palace at Plaza Mayor (Main Square)
where they were celebrating some kind of musical event.

While on our city tour, we walked from Plaza Mayor to Parque De La Muralla for lunch.  This is another interesting site recently excavated that shows the 16th century foundations of buildings. It also has a statue of Francisco Pizarro in armor and on a horse. 


Another couple from Cincinnati and I went to the optional dinner-cultural show one evening ($45). They performed the “scissor dance” that I very much love and enjoy, because I saw it performed on our ship when I was in Lima (Callao) a year before on my 26-day cruise from Tahiti to Ft Lauderdale. I taped it this time, and will include it with my photos.
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IQUITOS:

 
 
a  Our first stop in Iquitos by the Amazon River
b  Tuk tuks (three wheeled taxis)
c  The Amazon
d  Getting on the bus at the Iquitos airport
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a  Army post (look at tiles imported from Italy)
b  Iquitos church
c  Yellow Rose of Texas bar
d  Iron House designed by Eiffel
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IQUITOS:
There is no road to Iquitos; one must travel there by air or by the river. It's an hour-and-a-half flight from Lima.

We arrived in Iquitos around 10AM, and was given a quick tour. One of the main attractions of Iquitos is the Iron House designed by Eiffel. Our bus dropped us off by the Amazon River, and were given some time to take pictures of the river and houses built on stilts. We then
walked into the central area of the city a few blocks from the river.  After this short intro to Iquitos, we were taken to our riverboat, the La Arapaima (arapaima is the biggest fresh water fish in the Amazon), and I was assigned stateroom “OO,” the front stateroom on the main deck. It has a king size bed with a bathroom with hot and cold running water. The only “discomfort” was the restrictions on depositing toilet paper into the toilet bowl. The staff were friendly, efficient, entertained us every evening with music, and took care of our needs.


The riverboat M/V La Arapaima is 110 feet long, 25 feet wide, with three decks and 13- passenger air conditioned cabins. Complimentary coffee, tea, and drinking water is available 24/7. The bar is stocked with beer, wine, cold drinks, and hard liquor at nominal cost. I enjoyed two bottles of red wine during the six days. The 15-passenger skiff has two Yamaha 100 outboard motors that moves it with power and efficiency in the waterlily laden waters of the Amazon.


AMAZON:


a  Long bridge in the swamp of the
Amazon
b  La Arapaima, our home for six nights
c  Amazon scene
d  Our Tour Director, Erik Flores, briefing us on where we will be
traveling on our water safari which is located primarily from the Maranon
River and its tributaries in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, a park
between the Maranon and Yunmaguas Rivers.
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Rum Factory visit @ Nueva Esperanza
This rum  factory is owned by Erik's wife's parents.  I was surprised to see
motorized sugar cane juice machine that extracts the juice from the
sugar cane.  
a  Stack of sugar cane
b  Owner of factory
c  Erik's baby
d  Rum distillery
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a  A boat pulling a raft
b  A bird (hawk?)
c  Parakeets
d  Another view of boat pulling raft
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a, b, d  Birds
c  Iguana
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a  Banana tree; we ate banana almost every day on the boat
b  The skiff
c  Toucan
d  Flock of birds
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a  Sloth
b  Centipede
c  Mushrooms growing on a log
d  Segundo (boat naturalist)
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a  Canoe driver-rowers; each one had their own canoe with driver
b  Amazon scene
c  St Regis village; where the canoe drivers live
I visited the home of the driver-rower of my canoe.   He also gave me a wrist band, but the only thing I had to give in return were a few pieces of small candy.
d  Patrick (from Washington DC)
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St Regis Village
a  A long footbridge
b  Two story house; not common in the Amazon
c  Close to sunset
d  Government building in the village
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Canopy walkway:
a  Tree art
b  Strange-looking tree flower
c  Canopy walkway
d  Red leaf with ant
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a, b, d  Flowers
c  Catamaran ride on enchanted lake
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a  Biggest rodent on earth
b  Bats
c  Catamaran ride
d  What's the name of this bird?
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a  Animal house
b  Segundo caught a snake (he loves reptiles)
c  A long canopy walk
d  Latex/rubber tree
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a  A strange looking fruit (berry?)
b  Home hosted lunch; fish cooked in leaf, wild boar jerky, grub, fruit juice, potatoes
c  Shaman performed ceremony (I think she's hooked on smoking)
d  Lemon grass (commonly used in Thai cooking)
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a  Hoatzin; believed to be link between dinosaurs and birds
b, c  Sunset
d  Beetle
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a  Smallest monkey in the world
b  Quick moving skiff
c  Biggest water lilies in the world
d  Kingfisher>?  A fan told me it's a White-eared Jacamar. "Thanks"
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a  I caught a parana
b  Ceremonial masks
c  Round house (uncommon)
d  Children of the Amazon
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NAUTA:

Was founded in 1830, the first town on the Amazon, and now has a population of 10,000.   They recently built a road connecting Nauta to Iquitos which decreased the travel time by about 11-hours; it took 13 hours by boat, and 1.5 hours by vehicle. 

a  Nauta Park
b  Heart of palm (we ate this frequently in Peru)
c  Nauta hospital
d  Turtles at the park pond
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Last day in Iquitos:

a  River taxi
b  Fishermen
c  Captain of La Arapaima piloting our skiff to water town
d  Water town
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Iquitos Mercado:
a  Fresh and dry fish for sale
b  Food court at the mercado
c  Red pepper with butterfly
d  Turtles for sale
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a  Last sunset in the Amazon
b  John, our skiff pilot
c  Tom preparing a rice with spice, egg, and chicken wrapped in leaf *for dinner
d  Goodbye to La Arapaima
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Video: Saying goodbye to the boat staff
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Video: Entertainment on the boat every night
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AMAZON:

The Amazon covers an area of 2.3 million square miles (the biggest rainforest on earth), stretches over 9 countries, is the largest fresh water reservoir on earth, is 4,300 miles long (longest in the world), has 200 species of trees, contains 3,000 rare aquatic species, 1,800 species of birds, 500 species of mammals, and 300 species of reptiles.

The check list of fauna from our Tour Director was really a “short list” with 132 birds and 41 mammals. Our group saw 17 more mammals not listed for a total of 48 mammals and 64 birds. I probably saw about 75% of the birds and mammals. Trying to take pictures was a whole different issue; many of the birds we saw were the size of “needle heads” to the naked eye that our Tour Director and Naturalist saw and pointed out to us by name.  Their amazing eyesight and knowledge about the flora and fauna were top notch. Trying to take a picture as the skiff swayed was a task only for the skilled photographer with the best hand-eye coordination, and above average camera equipment. I had three cameras; the Canon SX1IS with a 28mm to 560mm lens with 10MPs, a Canon SX100IS with a 6mm to 60mm lens with 8 MPs, and an Olympus Stylus 800, all-weather (banged up) camera, with 8MP and a 3X optical zoom. This Olympus has been one of my favorites, because it has produced some of my best photos during my many travels.The average rainfall in May in this part of the Amazon is about 11 inches with the temperature running between the high eighties and low nineties, but all of our six days were comfortable and dry - except for the high humidity.


What's not to be excited about being here to observe some of this amazing collection of fauna and flora in this vastness of nature? We spent hours on the Maranon River and its tributaries usually in the mornings with a few hours rest during the early afternoon to go out again before
dinner. We even went out one night to see the nocturnal animals, listen to the sounds during a period of human silence, and the sky full of stars and the milky way. The big dipper is “backwards” to us northerners.




We saw sloths, bats, monkeys, the pink and gray dolphins, tree rat, lizards, iguanas, butterflies, millipedes, beetles, spiders, bullet and Aztec ants, tarantula (one dead and one alive), snail, egrets, vultures, hawks, parakeets, toucans, herons, kingfishers, parrots, and the
hoatzin (described by our Tour Director as the link between the prehistoric and the birds of today). We went fishing for parana (five of us caught one), and some in our group swam with pink and gray dolphins swimming not far from where we were. Trying to take pictures of dolphins was a challenge, since they appeared less than a fraction of a second above water, but it was fun.


Our last dinner in Lima @ the Tanta Restaurant:
a  My crab-potato appetizer
b  Denny waving; she's the one who chose this restaurant
c  Tanta Restaurant
d  Bob and Pat from Geneva, IL
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I copied the following from Kim MacQuarries' blog on Peru:
"The Lima coastal area was settled for thousands of years before the Incas conquered this area, the actual city of Lima was actually founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, shortly before the Incas rose up massively against his rule. It was here, in 1536, that the Inca Emperor Manco
Inca’s finest general, Quiso, led an army against Pizarro and 100 of his Spaniards that nearly wiped out the last Spaniards in Peru. It was  here, in 1541, that Pizarro was assassinated and it is still here, in the Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas, that Pizarro’s bones are kept in a crypt, more than four centuries after his assassination. They are still scarred by his assassins’ swords and daggers…
Interestingly, the only statue of Francisco Pizarro in all of Peru once stood in the Plaza de Armas, in downtown Lima. In 2003, after protests  from indigenous groups, the city removed the offending statue as Pizarro, after all, had slaughtered thousands of natives, including the
Inca emperor, and destroyed the Inca Empire. Pizarro’s statue is still located downtown, but is now in a more “discrete” location: it currently stands in The Park of the Wall, (Parque de la Muralla) behind the Monasterio de San Francisco, overlooking the Rimac River.found in this area."
NOTE: Plaza de Armas is another name for Plaza Mayor and Main Plaza.





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Comments

Violet on

WOW!!!!! Your pictures and descriptions are awesome; I felt like I was there w/you. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to seeing more of your travels.

Bashir, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on

Should I call you Christopher Columbus of the modern times, Thank you for sharing and keeping me busy. Please enjoy.

c.i.222
c.i.222 on

Bashir, All I wish for is that people who visit my travelogues enjoy my comments and pictures. That's the satisfaction I get from posting them on travelpod. I have boxes full of photo albums that nobody looks at, and that's after I spent many hours preparing them

Char on

I enjoyed your blog very much as I will be doing the same trip this August. I believe your kingfisher is a White-eared Jacamar. Thank you for sharing.

Izzie on

Fabulous ci... love the pics and travelogue - can tell you had a wonderful time. Big hugs to you and L. x

Kim on

My husband and I are going on this trip in two weeks. I loved your blog. Did you have any problems with mosquitos?

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