Into the Rainforest
9:30 am we said our good-byes and headed to the airport for Puerto Maldonado. We were always amazed at the seemingly lax security here, like with proper documentation. However, this was a welcome relief from American airport security. I won't rant here, but I'll just say that the nicest US immigration official I met was originally from Mexico...maybe he appreciates more what it's like to go through customs. Cusco airport was pretty nice and our half hour flight to Puerto Maldonado was very comfortable. Once in PM, I bought more sunglasses (I already lost my cool mirror ones on the trail) and some batteries. We climbed aboard the Rainforest Expeditions bus and after a short drive realized we were truly in the Amazon. Their office was nice. Thatch rooves, open walls, big palms but extremely humid. Not used to the insane humidity. With the paperword complete, we drove to Communidad del Infierno which was the 60% owner of all the jungle lodges along the Tambopata River.
We boarded a long pontoon boat for the Posadas Amazonas lodge. After about two hours, we arrived. On the way, they gave us lunch of soy meat, rice, mushrooms and vegetables wrapped in a palm leaf. It was great! Got our first warning about the need for bug spray and torches and also that they toilets were no longer BYOTP as the lodges all had toilets in the room.
Now we were living the high life. There were giant hammocks, a bar, flush toilets, private showers and bug nets! The lodge was unlike anything we could have imagined. I've never slept with an open room where we could hear all the jungle noises.
Our room had two beds with bug nets, kerosene lamps and candles for the night time. There was no electricity except for five hours a day. Nice wood floors everywhere and the whole place was built on stilts, so as to be raised off the jungle floor. We unpacked quickly and headed out to the 35m tall bird tower before dinner. Tara looked a little uneasy on the tour, but the thing was definitely safe. From there, we could hear all the birds and monkeys and were able to look above the canopy of the rainforest. We saw Macaws in flight, toucans, bats, vultures, parrots, monakeets...everything. There are over 1800 species of birds in Peru. A real birder's paradise.
On the way back to the lodge, we saw three different species of monkeys (howler, squirrel and dusky titi) all playing high up in the trees. Good amount of travel left us pretty tired and we went to bed under our bug nets with the sounds of birds and cicadas. Tara found it very hard to sleep. Humidity, lack of a breeze and claustrophobia brought on by the bug nets. Eventually, we ended up sleeping despite it all. My beard is getting pretty long now. Really itchy, but my fiance digs it so that's cool. Oh yeah, I've used the joke "they call Brazil Nuts just 'nuts' here" about a million times. Tara's ready to puke from hearing it because we're not even in Brazil (but arguably close).