After meeting up with Wendy in Lima we took off the next day for Iquitos to get our first taste of The Amazon. Having no real plan going in we asked around about tours and accomodations. The city was pretty full and many places were already fully booked. We were eventually referred to a travel agency across the street from a local americanized diner and a friendly young gentleman came to the diner to explain to us what our tour would consist of. After finishing our drinks we followed him back to the office to look at some pictures and discuss the details. It quickly became apparent that this was an inexpensive yet equally rugged type of tour. Obviously there were things to be seen on this tour but i´m not sure either of us were really looking forward to roughing it in cabins with poor ventilation and beds with mosquito nets BUT time was a tickin´ so we decided to go for it.
Day 1, or more accurately, night 1 was spent getting to our campsite. We had to take a bus from Iquitos to Nauta (southwest of Iquitos) to board a small motorboat. Once on the motorboat the sun was setting and we begun to wonder how on earth we were going to find our way in the dark. What was to come was one of the most impressive light directing systems I´ve ever seen. It consisted of a man in the front of the boat directed the one in the back with a small flash light. He ocasionally spanned the horizontal waterline in front of us and then directed with quick vertical shakes. Words really don´t do it justice – it was truly amazing. Upon arrival we were welcomed by a friendly tarantula and served a dinner plate of fresh fish and plantain (by our guides – not the tarantula!). We ate up and headed straight to bed after an exhausting day of travel.
Day 2 started with pirana fishing and in our group of 4 people Wendy and I were the ones that didn´t catch any! I was a bit disappointed until we saw a hawk overhead. One of the guys threw out one of the dead pirana and I was able to snap a photo of the hook swooping down to retrieve it. Technically it´s not one of my best photos but it sure was a site to see!
In the afternoon I wasn´t feeling so hot (ok I was feeling HOT but not so well) so I sat out of the afternoon excursion but I know that Wendy redeemed herself by finally catching a piranha. A bat encounter was also apart of this excursion i´m told. I spent the whole time in a hammock that I had deemed too smelly to lay in the day before, but by this time I was so damn smelly that I no longer cared! I did manage to get up briefly to hold an anaconda that our guides had caught but that was about it until after dinner.
At night we went out on another excursion to look for snakes in the wild. We were, unfortunately, unsucessful but we did see a baby bird and a bull frog up close. Regardless, I actually quite enjoyed the rustic canoo rides in the dark scanning the riverside with our head lights.
Day 3 was our last day in the jungle and after watching a demonstration on how to build a rat trap in the jungle, we decided to go to see the pink dolfins that gather near river crossings. Unfortunately these babies were much too fast even for my high speed multiple shot mode but they were the most beautiful underwater giants I had ever seen by far. Afterwards we headed to a local village to visit a boy who had a pet sloth named Anita. On the way in we were introduced to a plant that is used as red dye but of course I cannot remember what it´s called! The slot was cute as can be be his claws were challenging to separate from my shirt after our little cuddle session.
After the village visit we hopped back in our canoo and headed back to the campsite for lunch where we would say our good-byes. There was still much more of the jungle to explore but our adventure was coming to an end. I won´t lie we were just a little excited for enclosed rooms, beds without mosquito netting and hot showers but there was a bit of sadness not having seen all the wonders of the jungle!
We spent our last night and next morning in the city of Iquitos. We walked around the town (which takes all of about 15 minutes) and down to the village of Belen where there is a local market and many clothing stores. We snapped a quick photo of the area where the people actually live but were warned by several people not to walk through there due to the danger of being robbed. That was all I needed to hear! Getting robbed one time in South America was plenty for me!