Jungle Fever

Trip Start May 04, 2011
Trip End Feb 20, 2014

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Flag of Peru  ,
Thursday, October 6, 2011

We got to the airport for the flight to the Amazon Rainforest about 8am. I had about 3 hrs sleep, but felt surprisingly good. I had my first Bacon & Egg McMuffin in months, but it was poo. 2 english girls joined this leg of the tour and another Australian woman and we met them on way to airport. One of the English girls speaks fluent Spanish which is really handy and impressive. I wish I could speak another language. The flight to the Amazon was via Cusco. An hr to Cusco, 15 min stop, then continued on to Amazon (Puerto Maldonado) for a half hr flight. Getting off the plane was not as humid as I expected but still very warm compared to Lima. We stopped at the tour company office in town to drop off our main bag – I didn't realise this before the tour but we had to cull down our belongings into a small backpack to take to the rainforest lodge and leave our main suitcase at the town because the only way to the lodge is via motorised canoe and they can’t cart the full luggage up the river. It was ok, but I had some serious culling to do and the need to come to grips with the new plan. The canoe trip was 1.5 hr down river to the lodge. Interesting landscape and this river (a tributary of the Amazon River) is massive – much wider than I expected, and very turbid brown.

The lodge is heaps better than I expected. I was expecting something like a run-down caravan park, but it was very comfortable and clean. Each pair/couple had their own cabin. Pool, but we never swam. A bar with pool table etc and a look out. As expected, electricity was limited to just a few hrs at night. 10 pm, lights out. The water was cold, so the showers were very brief!

We had lunch on arrival. Interesting dish of chicken and rice, wrapped in a banana leaf. I didn’t really like it, but that is not surprising for me! Following food we went with our tour guide across to 'Monkey Island’; a place where the lodge supposedly rescues monkey’s and releases them onto this island in the river for rehabilitation and eventual release. Not sure if they ever release any, but it is a good opportunity for the tourists to get very up close and personal to the animals. Some people had them sitting on their shoulders! Returning to the lodge, Melissa and I had a well earned beer and cocktail before dinner and then another trip in canoe up river to spot for crocodiles. I wasn’t that keen to do this as the length of the day was catching up to me, but after a couple of scotches in my room, I had perked up a bit and ready to go croc hunting. We saw a couple – all very small compared to anything in Aus. I slept like a log that night...until the 5 am wake up call.

Yep, 530 am breakfast, then 6 am departure for a jungle walk. It doesn’t appear to have rained here for a while and the forest is relatively dry, which was a bit disappointing for me as I wanted to see lush moss and a typical rainforest environment. It was still spectacular though. Our guide explained various plants used by the native people for weapons, food, insect repellent, clothes etc. all quite interesting. He even coaxed a tarantula out of its hole by using a bit of saliva on the end of a shaven palm leaf – it was massive!!! We had a paddle canoe trip up a lake. I did not like this much. Kept thinking the boat was going to tip over, plus the group was not very good at steering us away from the shore-line. We turned around and I took an oar and that helped with my ‘fear’ and I was actually having a good time rowing. Some great scenery to admire, but didn’t see any significant animals which was disappointing.

Returned to the lodge about 11 am and slept for a couple of hrs before lunch (buffet), then another canoe trip to do some fishing and visit a native family. I caught a couple of fish, but they all fell off my rod (a stick) before pulling it in. I was hoping to catch a piranha, but no. The native family was average. Only 4 people living there and not a great deal to learn about their way of life – they have only lived there for 5 yrs anyway! I think they are quite nomadic.

Overall, the Amazon Jungle component of the tour was good. I think it would be different in the wet season. I was expecting a bit more of targeted animal spotting. But we still crammed in a lot in a short space and still managed to have a few hours here and there to relax and have a drink or chat to the other members of the group. From here we go to Cusco by flight...
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Jesse on

Hi Ross, That was one freaky spider...

Looks like you are both having a blast!

Bri on

de ja vue - i walked these steps 4 years ago. Did you sample any of the sharman's spiritual mix?

travellingross on

yep Jesse, having a great time. got a bit sick yesterday tho which wasn't cool...but being the trooper that i am, i powered thru.

No spiritual mix yet Breezer, but i am commenting all the time to Melissa about "i think Bri went here" and "Bri sucked on these coca leaves the whole time"...i think she's getting a bit sick of my Bri travel comparison hahahaha.

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