03.10.2016 - 06.10.2016 35 °C
Well, I've made it safe and sound after three days in the jungle! Three hot, sweaty, humid, beautiful, amazing days in the Amazon Rainforest!
After my night bus (which sucked due to the huge decrease in elevation from Cusco), I was picked up at the Puerto Maldonado bus station by one of the guides, Johnny, and got to enjoy a ride to the pick-up point on the back of his motorbike while carrying my big bag on my back! So fun. I had just enough time to change and freshen up before the drive to the jungle and then boat ride to the lodge.
Our group for the three days included Tom and Chris from Manchester area, Els and Frederiek from Brussels, and Connie from Germany. We all got along immediately! Tom was also kind enough to let me use some of his photos for my blog (I'll let you guys do the guessing of which are his and which are mine )
We also had a token mascot.. Pepe the parrot, who perched on lots of shoulders due to someone having clipped his wings before he was taken in by lodge staff.
First activity upon arriving at the beautiful jungle lodge was to take a shower! Then some pictures of the great view...
The adorable lodge rooms with wooden plank floors, palm leaf roof, curtain doors, simple toilet and showers, beds and mosquito nets...
And this view out of the back window... So amazing!
Our first *real* activity after a delicious lunch was a jungle walk. Johnny showed us so many trees, plants, and other greenery and shared their medicinal uses. We also took in butterflies, lizards, hummingbirds, parrots, praying mantis, bullet ants and so much more. I had a real appreciation for Johnny's knowledge after he talked about living in the jungle for 7 months straight with his dad when he was younger.
He painted our faces with different designs from leaves that generate red ink (similar to henna) when you pour on a little water.
We found a natural jungle swing...
And really enjoyed all the greenery...
After some more down time (and of course another shower), reading and/or napping in the hammocks, we had a night boat ride. (It was only at 6:30pm but it gets dark in the area before 6:00pm!). We saw capybaras and caimans from the boat. After this was supper followed by a night walk. Which was the first time I almost said no to something on my trip... Because basically all we saw were bugs and two maaaassive tarantulas. But I wasn't about to let my fears stop me from something so I must say, I got pretty damn close to the biggest tarantula I've ever seen. Ugh! Then headed back for (yes) another shower before immediately hiding under my mosquito net for the night.
The next day was, of course, another early morning. We headed to the Chuncho clay lick for some bird watching and had to be on the boat by 5am. But the birds are there in the morning so we had to get an early start for the hour boat ride there! And we got to enjoy this sunrise and boat view..
It was worth it for all the amazing macaws (blue and yellow, scarlet and red and green), parrots (blue, yellow, green), and parakeets that we saw...
These ones are down on the clay lick, getting some necessary minerals..
This bird watcher loved every second of it!
The clay lick is in the most beautiful, green, lush area..
We were also rewarded with a view of a harpy eagle shortly before leaving. One of the top five predators in this area of the Amazon! Second largest eagle in the world!
We had some time off during the hottest hours before heading out to kayak down the river. Beautiful, peaceful, fun way to spend an afternoon....
Then after the boat driver picked us up, he let Tom, Chris and I stay on the kayaks for the boat ride back! It was like tubing on a kayak. So fun!
That night was another night boat ride, more caimans, and optional night walk. Which you can probably guess, I gave a pass. I did a little stargazing before bed instead. Great views of the Milky Way out there!
Next morning was an actual sleep in until almost 7am! Followed by breakfast and then fishing! Unfortunately after a couple hours of trying, the only successful person was Louis, the guide. He managed to catch a fairly big fish in the piranha family.. And it tasted delicious. This scenery down the stream made the (unsuccessful) fishing 100% worth it!
We had one last lunch and then it was time to pack-up and say bye to part of our group, Tom, Chris and I were off on the boat, then truck back to Puerto Maldonado.
I was sad to leave the beauty and the people but definitely not sad to leave the humidity and the bugs! My legs are once again completely covered in bites! Haven't spent a day on the trip so far without something having bitten me.. Woops!
Chris and I got to enjoy the truck ride from the seats on back. Which was beautiful, cooled us off, and very fun at first.. Until we headed towards rain clouds! But it was another fun adventure after we had to duck under the huge, noisy, blue tarps that covered all our luggage that was also on the back! As soon as it was only spitting we popped our heads out and still enjoyed the final minutes of the ride!
Back in Puerto Maldonado we had time to catch up on all things wifi at the hostel before having supper and then I had to grab my things for another night bus back to Cusco!
The Amazon was amazing.. Another item checked off the bucket list!!