I’ve been putting together an album on Shuttefly of our Peru trip from back in January. Although I’m not surprised it’s taken me 6 months to get around to it, I am surprised that I never finished my blog posts about the trip! If you missed it, I decided to do a short post about each city we went to because each part of the trip was so unique. I wrote about Lima and Cusco and then forgot to write about Machu Picchu and the Amazon- my two favorite parts of the trip! Silly me. So here goes, some very belated details on our trip to the Amazon in Peru!
After Cusco, Steve and I took a flight through Lima and on to Iquitos. Iquitos is a quirky city in NorthEast Peru, located on the bank of the Amazon River. It is completely surrounded by water and only accesible by plane or boat. When we touched down we were greeted with a torrential downpour of rain and intense humidity making us instantly aware that we were in a whole new climate! We took a cab to our digs at the Nativa Apartments. It was a great place to stay, not super luxurious but clean and conveniently located near the bank of the River and the Main Square. The owner is a super sweet ex pat from Florida who kindly gave us restaurant and sightseeing advice. There isn’t too much to do in Iquitos, but we enjoyed sitting at the cafes along the river enjoying the amazing views of the Amazon. People were very friendly and we were surprised to meet many ex-pats who now call Iquitos home. We had to be up early so after dinner, some beers, and walking around we headed back to bed. The next morning we were picked up bright and early to head out on our jungle tour!
We booked our tour months in advance with the tour company Mayuna. I highly recommend this company to anyone thinking of checking out the Amazon! The staff was very friendly and professional. They helped us gather our gear and drove us to the dock to load onto the boat. The trip up the Amazon to the lodge was about 3 hours. It was breathtaking at first and surreal to be riding on the Amazon. Then after about the second hour it all began to look the same and I began to wonder how on earth people navigated the river without GPS! Our boat was by no means glamorous- but it did have a motor. We passed many boats that were not as lucky and that took days to travel from other cities and small villages to Iquitos where villagers bought most of their supplies.
We stayed for three days at the Mayuna Lodge in the jungle. Mayuna is an eco lodge so the only electricity was in the common areas and solar generated. We had our own little hut which was lit by lanterns and up on stilts to keep it dry. The ceiling was made of leaves and branches and the water in the bathroom was straight from the Amazon! Everything was very well maintained though and the food was surprisingly delicious! It was refreshing to be away from technology and really just unplug from everything. In our spare time we played cards, chatted and relaxed.
Each day was packed with planned activities. We would get up around 6am for morning outings, go out again in the afternoon, and then after dinner go on night excursions. This allowed us to see all aspects of jungle life. We saw a ton of cool animals; sloths, monkeys, alligators, bats, tons of different birds, and yes- giant snakes!
Most of our outings were on small motorized boats allowing us to get up close to the wildlife. One of the highlights came on the second day when we went piranha fishing. Piranhas are so fast and fierce that as soon as your bait hit the water they would use their razor sharp teeth and eat it right off the hook! In order to catch them you just had to yank your pole up and hope to catch them in action. Not to brag but yours truly just so happened to catch the most fish- much to Steve’s dismay ;) . That night they cooked the piranhas up and Steve got to enjoy the fruits of
my our labor. (I don’t eat fish- not even piranhas!)
When we weren’t on the boat we were hiking through the jungle spotting animals and trudging through mud. The only negative was that there were tons and I mean tons of mosquitos everywhere. Even in the heat we had to wear long sleeves and pants to try and protect ourselves. And of course, massive amounts of mosquito repellant!
On the last day we enjoyed a picnic breakfast on the boat and had the opportunity to swim in the Amazon! After the snake sightings and piranha fishing I opted out- but Steve went for it. While he was swimming, a group of pink dolphins (yes they really exist!) swam up nearby. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen! Unfortunately they were tough to capture on camera, but I don’t think Steve or I will forget that experience any time soon! As amazing as other parts of Peru were, the Amazon was truly a unique experience unlike anywhere I have been before. I loved it and really recommend it to anyone who loves adventure and wildlife!
love and candy,