THIS week was always going to be one of the most mental of the whole tour. We were in Cuzco for half a day and then off to the Amazon Jungle for just three days…. before heading back for another half day and preparing for the Inca trail.
But while it was nice to be in hot temperatures again for a few days, nothing quite prepared me for the early morning starts in the jungle and the amount of walking we would be doing.
We first took a boat down the Madre de Dois River (Mother of God river) from Peurto Maldonando to a small resort on the edge of the rainforest. The Eco Amazonia Lodges were nothing like I had expected at all. There was a swimming pool, games room, meditation rooms, reading lounge and hammock area. The place was so serene and was complete unexpected luxury in the jungle.
After a great lunch provided by the lodge we headed to Monkey Island to spot some monkeys.
Walking past acres of trees and through trails we saw the howler monkey and spider monkey who came out to say hello and eat the bananas we had taken. The little hairy creatures are interesting to watch and it was fun seeing them in their natural habitat.
In the evening we took another boat ride to look for caimens and other animals that come out after dark in the Amazon Jungle. We sat in silence under the stars in the middle of the river for almost an hour but we saw nothing and headed back disappointed.
Instead I was more concerned when our boat began filling up with water and we spent the whole time trying to keep our feet dry until we got back to the shore. Our guides on the boat though didn’t seem too worried about the water. It must happen all the time.
We relaxed in the games room after dinner but the electricity goes off at 10pm so all the lights go out and there is very little you can do after then but sleep.
The killer came when we got our wake up call at 5am the next day for our trip to the Lost Lake. It was a struggle to get up and go but as temperatures reached 30 degress + by 10am we were glad we had done most of the trek before it got too hot.
Tired and still half asleep we waded on foot and in a canoe through the overgrown vegetation and mud in the rainforest for five hours. Dressed in wellington boots for the mud and full length trousers and tops to ward off the mosquitoes, I think I lost a stone in sweat. But as much as we all moaned, it was totally worth it. We saw all kinds of amazing creatures – caimens lurking in the sides of the lake, anacondas curled around trees, turtles and tarantulas. We also saw a range of birds including kingfishers and toucans.
Our time in the Amazon Jungle had been great but it had gone far too quick. I could have hunted monkeys in the mornings and then sat by the pool in the afternoons for a few more days yet – even if we had to cover ourselves in foul smelling insect repellent every day.
Back in Cuzco we have literally half a day to see some sights and figure out what to pack for the Inca Trail before we had to leave again.
I’m looking forward to having a free day at some point to see Cuzco. But for now I’m off again to see Sacred Valley, trek the Inca Trail and visit Macchu Picchu in the next five days.
See you on the other side (providing I complete Inca Trail and survive without any accidents!)