A Week in the Peruvian Amazon: Part 1 – OurWarwick
OurWarwick

A Week in the Peruvian Amazon: Part 1

Given that my family are now home safe and sound, and have been able to send me the photos from all of our trips, I am now able to finally share with you our magical journey to the Amazon rainforest. Situated in between the borders of Peru, Brazil and Colombia (or “Las Tres Fronteras”) lies the heart of the Amazon, one of the most incredible places I have ever been to. In order to access it, one must fly 2 hours from Bogotá to Leticia, situated in the most southerly part of Colombia, and then take boats to wherever you plan to stay in the jungle.

Our trip took us to the Zacambu Rainforest Lodge, situated on the Jacavi River in Peru, almost 2 hours away from the nearest town, and practically inaccessible by any mode of transport other than boats. 

The heart of the jungle, and our home for the week…

Arriving in the morning, the first activity was to go spot the grey and pink dolphins which live deep in the Amazon river. Unfortunately, I actually don’t have any photos to show of them, because they are very shy and pretty quick, but who even knew that dolphins live in the Amazon?!? However, shortly after dinner we got kitted up again, this time to go Caiman spotting, which are effectively tiny crocodiles who you can only find at night thanks to their eyes reflecting torch lights.

A black Caiman, one of the most aggressive types- this one was caught by our guide Michael, after he essentially wrestled it in the darkness whilst standing in the river!

My brother holding a green Caiman, a slightly smaller, more passive breed

Little did we realise though that our first day of spotting animals from the tranquillity of our boat was only the start of it. The next day brought on one of the hardest things I have done- a hike through the Amazon. Let me preface this: the Amazon averages 33 degrees, with almost 100% humidity, and is also home to one of the largest amounts of mosquitos in the world, so you have to wear long clothing to protect yourself (and even then, sometimes you still get bitten). However, despite the lack of comfort, walking through the jungle, with our guide literally machete-ing a path for us was about the furthest thing from my 9-5 life in Coventry that I could have done.

From seeing Tarantulas (and nearly touching them, as I found out afterwards: apparently the branch I had used at one point to steady myself had quite the beast on it, only cm from my fingers)…

to monkeys (this one being a cappuccino monkey, one of the most intelligent breeds, meaning they’re used in films- think Pirates of the Caribbean)…

to some of the weirdest trees (this is all one tree, the branches grow out and down, and then re-root themselves away from the original trunk)…

to birds, butterflies, flowers and plants- the Amazon was just overflowing with life. Admittedly, the hike was followed by a minor, heat/sweat induced breakdown from me, mostly because of being overwhelmed, and the fact that I am probably the most unlikely person to hike through the jungle. I didn’t even do Duke of Edinburgh Bronze. But there you go: the Year Abroad can allow you to do some really different things and force yourself out of your comfort zone. 

Next up was piranha fishing, which, if I do say so myself, I was pretty incredible at. We didn’t actually properly fish, as we would throw the piranhas back in the water as soon as we de-hooked them, however, it made for a relaxed afternoon. Armed with 7 chicken skins and some of the most basic rods I have ever seen, my total was 6, and Michael our guide, with his very fancy, state-of-the-art rod, caught 0. #thisgirlcan

Maybe Hollywood has warped my idea of what a Piranha looks like, but these guys seemed rather tame in comparison to the likes in Piranha 3D, but there you go. Here we have the red-bellied Pirahna, which I believe is the most aggressive, caught by yours truly.

Bear Grylls, I’m coming for you

This afternoon also brought us one of the most incredible thunderstorms, which quickly became our favourite thing as it would cool the temperature by a few precious degrees.

Next up was the night hike, which promised an abundance of spiders, scorpions and other creepy crawlies that exclusively live in the Amazon. Unfortunately, I am rather pathetic and therefore decided to not partake, however, thanks to my valiant brother, I do have some photos of the aforementioned beasts…

Shudders…

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