04.25.2013 - 04.25.2013 85 °F
I am more of a mountain person than a beach or jungle person but because I was so close to the Amazon, I decided that it was special enough to visit. I wanted to see the “real” Amazon, the rainforest with it’s canopy, the lungs of the Earth, so I passed up some tours from Cusco and Bolivia because they seemed to be jungle reserves but not real rainforest. I should have done my homework better but my rationale in choosing Iquitos was that is on the Amazon River and others said to go to Iquitos for the real thing. Unfortunately just before leaving Cusco I read something about needing 5 days to get to the wild amazon, which kind of bummed me out but didn’t completely register what it meant. Talking in Spanish to my host, a guide, I didn’t explain what I wanted well enough and I decided on 3 days with a lodge because I was not wanting to push more adventure after being sick last week or pay tons of money for a 5 day tour. Honestly, I did not find the Amazon to be at all what I had hoped. It is developed here … farms, houses, and second growth forest everywhere. The lodge 40 kilometers out of Iquitos was not isolated at all. My guide mentioned that only 4 of the 52 tribes in the entire Amazon have not been touched by civilization. Oh well, had I known this I might not have come. But I did come and this is what happened.
The tour left Iquitos and within an hour we were at our first stop, a little village/shop area where the Yaguas tribe receives tourists.
They were friendly enough letting me use their scructanolol or pucuna in Spanish to shoot darts at a target.
The wooden darts are sharpened by pirana teeth. Afterward, there was a dance.
Then, it was time to walk around to look/buy some handmade goods. This woman was weaving a basket.
In less than an hour, before noon we were at the lodge where I would spend 2 nights and 3 days in the Amazon.
I thought it would take longer to get here. My room was nice enough and had mosquito nets, YAY! All the meals here were very good as well. One meal was juanes, a chicken dish cooked in a large bijao leaf with rice, egg, and olive) and there were several really nice fish dishes as well.
At lunch some of the people living around there discovered one of the most poisonous snakes in South America nearby. They killed it and it was in the grass for all to see, a bushmaster.
After lunch, it was off to what I thought was a place in the wild along the river to see wildlife. It turned out to be a small place nearby where tourists can interact with the animals.
There were monkeys
a three toed sloth
a very interesting turtle
a small anaconda
someone put a snake on my neck!
Afterwards, we went to a nearby spot to see pink and gray dolphins. I saw many briefly from a distance. None came too close but I did get a pink dolphin on video (left side).
After that, it was time to go back and the sunset was nice.
I was the only one on my tour today and returning to the lodge it turned out I was the only one staying there (aside from my guide). In some ways it was nice to have a guide to myself but it was a bit boring an lonely as part of the great joys of travel is meeting people. It turned out, I would not see another guest for 2 days!
After dinner, we went for a night walk. I saw a frog and a tarantula and wore lots of repellent.