The Amazon has always made me ponder what it would be like there. This interest must have stemmed from childhood and all the projects we did on the Amazon. Back then, it was a world away from my classroom! I think it is also the vastness, the infinite and sometimes odd animals that call it home and the mysterious natives that still reside there.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to see a cinch of the Amazon in my travels around Peru albeit only 36 hours but it was enough to leave me in awe and somewhat protective while still wondering what the depths of the Amazon hold.
- Day 1
When picking which tour to take in Peru, I knew that I wanted one that went to the Amazon. We flew from Lima to the town of Puerto Maldonado in eastern Peru. Lima was quite cool in October, I even needed 2 jackets! Once we stepped off the plane in Puerto Maldonado though, we felt the humidity slap us in the face. We were brought by bus to the nearby office of the lodge company that we would be staying at. Here, we were each given a duffel bag to pack the belongings that we would need for the next 3 days. You may be wondering why we needed to pack our things into only a duffel bag, our trip to the lodge would be by a small boat!
- Insect repellent
- Hat and sunglasses
- Long sleeve shirt (I brought a linen shirt which worked perfectly)
- Long pants and socks (for exploring!)
- Binoculars (something I didn’t take)
- Shorts and tshirts for hanging around the lodge
- Reuseable drink bottle
- Wet wipes
- Torch and batteries
After driving for 30 mins through rural streets and through forest by bus convoy, we arrived at the river where out boat was waiting. During the boat ride we met our guides who would be with us over the next few days and got our serving of fried rice (chaufa) wrapped in banana leaf. We spotted cabybaras on the way setting up what would be a few adventurous days animal spotting. We arrived at our beautiful lodge 30 mins later. There was a main dining area for all our main meals (which were delicious!) and lounge area. It was an eco-lodge (woohoo!) where all the running water came from rain tanks and solar energy was being used to power the lights at the lodge. Everything has to be brought to the lodge via boat (and rubbish back to town).
Our rooms were beautiful! Housed in a wooden structure, our common walls didn’t touch the ceiling meaning that we could hear all our neighbours. Each room had an ensuite bathroom and our rooms had 1 side of the room that didn’t have a wall and looked into the rainforest. My room was the last one in our block so I had 2 sides of the room that looked into the rainforest. I was so ready for my immersive night experience.
After we settled in, our group gathered for an afternoon walk through the rainforest. We were given gumboots to wear for all our rainforest walking adventures. The walking path we took was around our lodge so was already cleared which left me wondering why gum boots were needed (anything they weren’t telling us about?!?). We didn’t see many animals but could hear them. Our local guide explained some of the plants along the way and their traditional medicine uses and also gave us some general information about the rainforest.
The part of the rainforest that we were walking through wasn’t as dense as I would imagine other interior parts of the rainforest would be. The trees which were hundreds of years old, branched out above us and their trunk also branched out around us. As night started to fall, fireflies started lighting up around us and the sounds of the night animals and insects started. And so the night shift animals begin.
Once it was completely dark, our guide got us to play a game. We each had to stand 2km apart from one another along the path and switch off our lights. The group was dropped along the path and so started out 10 mins standing alone in the dark. I could hear branches cracking around me and obviously immediately thought it would be a jaguar. It was here, I also decided that the human eyes are rubbish at seeing in the dark. The canopy scattered the moons light around us playing tricks on my eyes making me think that I could see something. The reality was, I could not see anything.
Our group members from the front then started picking everyone else along the way back to our guide and back for dinner.
After dinner, our guide told us that we would now try and spot some tarantulas! Our group were not so calm when our guide showed us all these burrows on either side of the path that we were on where the tarantulas might be. He managed to coax one out of its nest for us to see- my gosh, it was huge! All of a sudden, standing in the rainforest with nothing but our torches didn’t feel so safe after all. We were glad to be heading back to our lodge.
After our creepy crawly session, I wasn’t so keen on sleeping closest to the rainforest anymore! Nevertheless, I went to bed listening to the cacophony of nature around me with a smile on my face and was so thankful to be there.
I’ve split my experience into 2 blog posts because it’s really long- Part II here.
Have you been in the Amazon? Do you want to go? What did you love most about your experience?
Peru Tour: Intrepid Travel
Amazon experience: Baawaja Expeditions