Welcome to the jungle!

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 18, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hostal Mahatu

Flag of Colombia  ,
Friday, September 23, 2011

For the first time in a while we took a flight. We weren't wimping out of overland travel though, we were going to Leticia which is only accessible by flight from Colombia (it’s connected by the Amazon to Brazil and Peru).  Except for the fact that the seats were oddly short so even my head was sticking over the top the flight was fine.  Two hours after leaving Bogota we arrived in the sticky/sweaty Leticia in the middle of the jungle.  

Our hostel there, Mahatu, is owned by an eccentric guy called Gustave who has been living in Leticia for a long time.  After telling us his views on the world and giving us some advice on our onward travel (specifically recommending us to take the boat from Iquitos to Yuirimaguas, not to Pucallpa) he recommended a place for is to go the next day as we didn’t have time to actually head into the jungle.  Mahatu is a really cool place to stay, set in a large complex there is a lake, lots of areas to wander around and a nice outside area.  

The next day we went to Mundo Amazonas (Amazon World) as recommended by Gustave.  It doesn’t take you into the jungle so may not be of interest to everyone, however it is very educational and probably more worthwhile than one of the expensive but rubbish day tours into the jungle (so I’ve heard).  The brother and mother who own it have gathered together native Amazonian flora into a 'garden’ in order to educate visitors on the variety of plant species to be found in the jungle.  It was very interesting and even for people planning on going into the jungle it would be good to go to in order to recognise some of the plants in the wild.  In addition to the flora they also educate you on the medicinal uses of the plants, still used by many of the indigenous communities, as well as providing information on the communities themselves.  It is a very well thought out and run operation, and is delivered in a fun, friendly and light-hearted way.  They are helping their local community by having their own recycling plant (reusing materials for planting and building) and are also involved in a project to rehabilitate amazon fauna that have been found in captivity/badly treated and eventually releasing them back into the wild.  Whilst we were there he had a macaw, two types of monkey and a Coati (small, like a racoon).  All in all I would highly recommend.  

That afternoon we had to get ourselves sorted for our departure the next day into Peru.  There is no border control actually at the ‘port’ in Leticia so we had to go to the airport to get ourselves stamped out of Colombia, even though we weren’t leaving until the next day.  Apparently in the wet season it is possible to get stamped into Peru in the morning before getting on the boat as the river is right up to the village and a short walk to immigration.  However as it was dry season the water is so low that it’s a 2km walk into the town, which is not fun to do at 3am.  Therefore after getting our exit stamps from Colombia we got a boat from Leticia to Santa Rosa (Peru) and walked to the immigration to get our Peru entry stamp.  Odd as we would still be sleeping in Colombia that night!!  By this time it was really hot and sunny and idiots as we are we hadn’t put on any sunscreen.  We did however have an umbrella.  So looking really cool, obviously, I walked along the un-shaded no-mans land, underwater in the wet season, carrying an umbrella like some fancy lady way-back-when carried a parasol in England! That done, for the novelty we got the boat to Tabatinga, the Brazilian town next to Leticia, and then walked back to Leticia.  Just so we could say we’d been from Colombia to Peru to Brazil and then back to Colombia in one day.  We’re easily amused…
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