The Amazon

Trip Start Apr 08, 2012
Trip End Sep 25, 2012

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Flag of Peru  ,
Saturday, June 30, 2012

I had given up on doing a tour in the Peruvian Amazon because everything I had seen online was more than $700 for just a few days.
But, as has happened enough times to make it irritating, I have found really cheap deals in the country.
So, I'll repeat again, book nothing.
Also, getting discounts is the easiest thing. You basically ask for the price, then ask "can I get it any cheaper?" "Yeah, sure."
Well, okay, great.
So two days after getting out of the hospital, we set off for the Amazon jungle.
When we got off the bus in Puerto Maldonado it was a bit of a temperature and climate shock. Cusco doesn't really get above 20 C during the middle of the day and can get bitterly cold at night (which is when we left).
So the instant we stepped off the bus we were hit by temperatures in the high 20s and humidity of what felt like 800%.
It also felt a bit like we had gotten off in a different country, like Vietnam.
There are very few cars in this small town, everyone and their dog owns a motorcycle and the taxis are little three-wheeled motos. 
We were picked up at the bus station at 5 am (I don't know why these buses don't leave later so you get to your destination at a reasonable time) and set off down the river in a long covered canoe with an engine. 
In the hour it took to get to the lodge we saw the typical view that comes to mind when one thinks of a river in the jungle. Dense green trees lining the high riverbanks and the river is a nice, deep mud colour that hardly allows you to see your hand if you dip it in.
This part of the river is quite densely populated though, especially if you compare it to deeper, more protected parts of the rainforest.
We passed countless people, mainly other tour groups but also locals, along the river.
Of course because of this there are not many animals to be seen. We saw the most on our last day and that was thanks to waking up early and leaving during sunset.

In four days we did a zipline and a canopy bridge (that was incredibly dodgy), kayaked in the river, did a couple of walks in the forest, and went to an island that was a conservation project for four species of monkeys.
One of the walks we did was to Sandoval Lake, a large lake for this area (most of the water here is in the form of rivers). We saw so many birds here as well as giant river otters which are endangered.
On our last day we went to the parrot/parakeet clay lick.
We woke up at 3.30 am and were on the river at 4. The clay lick is about 2 hour's boat ride up the river so we arrived there around sunrise. Unfortunately there was a lot of mist so there were apparently not as many birds as usual, but still a lot.
Clouds of parrots flew over us to land in the trees on the bank.
Originally, I had wanted to visit a clay lick because I have several photos of massive macaws in groups of hundreds plastered on the riverbank.
But, as I didn't figure out until later, that particular macaw lick is about 10 hours up the river and you must organise specifically to go there.
So there weren't any of the large macaws at this one, but I still got several new bird species there.

I had seen many of the animal species in the Pantanal like capybara, caiman (although a different species), and the otters. But I got about 30 new bird species and of course the "jungle experience." Oh and two sloths which were awesome.



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