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Travelling South America

Iquitos and the Amazon Rainforest

PERU | Thursday, 3 October 2013 | Views [435]

We made a bit of a mistake here.  We should have gone to Iquitos from Chachapoyas (via Tarapoto) which would have saved us some money, but the books are not very clear, so we didn't realise the flights stop on route from Lima.  So we went all the way down to Lima to come all the way back up.  Unfortunately either way these were the only two flight options to the Jungle, or you can do a 4 - 5 day journey by land and boat.  This was too much like hard work for us, so we opted for the expensive option.

Iquitos is a crazy city, very noisy with tuk tuks everywhere.  I quite liked it for the short time we were there, the night before the jungle and the night after.  I'd say it was worth experiencing and apparently you can get great Chinese and Japanese food there due to the number of companies searching for oil and logging.  All the motors, on boats, tuk tuks and cars are Honda, even the airport sign says We hope you enjoyed your stay, sponsored by Honda!

We found our tour when we bumped into a lovely Chillean called Pablo.  The three of us then spent an amazing four day adventure together.  We travelled by handmade wooden boat with reed thatch roof for 6 hours along one of the Amazon river tributories to Amazon King Lodge.  Along the way we encountered torrential rain, which the boat and roof coped with very well.  Our guide spoke excelent English luckily, as did Pablo, so we were very lazy and let them do all the hard translation work for us. 

Pablo needs further explaination, he is probably one of the most honest speaking, passionate, socially minded (politically) and guinuinely lovely people you will ever meet.  A pharmasist from Santiago, he knows a lot about the politics of his Country and South America, going way back, which is fascinating.  He is also very left wing and a huge fan of Che Guevara, so my reading The Motorcycle Diaries went down very well.  His book was loads better though, with all the pictures as well - quite cool.  Anyway, most people you meet are reading this book whilst travelling, so nothing unusual.  I really hope we get to catch up with him in Santiago, as 1 he knows a great Thai Restaurant and 2, we both really enjoyed his company. 

So, the three of us arrive only to find Amazon King Lodge is actually a wooden hut in the heart of a little community of about 100 people on the bank of the river.  This was a nice surprise, as I have done lodges before and you don't get many animals around them.  We got our rooms, very very basic and got the mosquito nets up.  Pablo didn't have his own net so used there single nets, but as they are very short and he is 6ft, his feet were very badly bitten and was constantly scratching them like a dog does - which was quite funny at the time. 

Lunch and dinner were always rice with fish or Chicken and fried green bananas - very sick of the taste by the end!   We were in a location rich in Pink Dolphins and River Dolphins.  Everywhere we went we saw them but I don't have a single photo, as they are very quick.  We went fishing for Piranha Fish and we caught loads (we ate them all).  We saw lots of amazing birds (I particularly liked the Kingfishers) and the amazing sight of an enormous brightly coloured Macaw high in the tree top.  We saw a huge green Iguana in the tree, not very clear on my camera unfortunately.  We saw a Sloth, but just looked like a ball hanging from the tree.  We saw loads of little river tortoise and managed to get a quick photo of one before it jumped into the water.  We saw quite a lot of Cayman (little crocodiles) and our amazing guide Orlando litterally grabbed one out of the water for us to look at.  It was only small, about 75cm long (2 years old he reckoned).  We held it but I was not very happy about that, the skin was interesting to touch though, very tough like leather and scaley.  We also found a Tarantula on one of the night treks and the guide picked it up and it crawled all over Damian and Pablo - very fury.  We camped out in the Jungle, another 2 hours upstream and ate our delicious catch of the day - more fish.  We saw and Damian stroked huge (size of a Melon) frogs.  The slime on these frogs is poisoness and used for poison darts.  We learned loads about different plants and the use of them in medicine.  We cut down a palm tree and ate the heart in a lovely salad - this is my new favourite salad.  I can't describe the taste as nothing is similar, but it is sooooooooooooooo good.  We made a swing from the vines and the boys had great fun trying to out swing each other, sending Orlando crashing into a big tree at high speed!  Damian and Pablo got eaten alive by mosquitos, flies, fish when swimming and anything else that went near them.

All in all a really interesting and amazing trip, NEVER to be repeated!  Neither of us are very good in hot weather, which is why coming to South America in their Winter/Spring was a brilliant plan and neither of us cope well with very high humidity.  Both hate bugs!!!   



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