Down the Amazon and into the jungle.

Iquitos Travel Blog

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The Iquitos skyline from the Rio Itaya.

Hello all,
Today is the day that I go into the jungle.  I had no idea what to bring.  But rain was predicted for today, so I decided to bring the works.  Camera, rain pancho, umbrella, multiple plastic bags, insect repellant, sunscreen, itch cream... I brought it all.  I wore the shorts portion of my zip off pants and brought the legs.  Just in case my good insect repellent didn't do the trick I wanted to be able to cover up as much as possible.

Because of all of this preparation, I was running a bit late.  But I still went out the door with a full 15 minutes to get to the office downtown.  As I was passing the desk on the way out, there was a phone call for me.  It was the agency making sure I was on the way.  How nice.

Here are a couple of Peruvian patrol boats.
  I grabbed a tuk-tuk and got there with five minutes to spare.  However, they were not as ready.  I waited another 25 minutes in the hot, tuffy office for them to get organized.

We then took off in tuk-tuks to head for the boat dock.  There were three other people headed to the Cumaceba Lodge on the tour, although I was the only person on a one day tour.  There was an older Peruvian woman, and a couple.  The couple was made up of a young guy from Barcelona, and a young lady from Lima.  The couple spoke some english, but the woman did not.

We waited a short while for our motor boat, which was a medium sized one with a 150hp outboard.  We took a short tour of the Belen neighborhood that I saw yesterday, before heading downriver.

It might not be easy to see here. But this is where the Rio Itaya (black water) meets the Amazon (brown water).
  The first thing that we saw was where the black water of the Rio Itaya meets the brown water of the Amazon.  The river itself was amazingly large.  And it was filled with tons and tons of organic crap.  There were dislodged water plants, sticks, branches, and even whole trees.  It made navigation a little iffy, and the boatman did a good job of maneuvering around everything.

Our first stop was at the Cumaceba Lodge where we dropped off the couple for their stay.  The Peruvian woman and I were joined by a Honduran family for our trip to the Yagua tribal village.  We docked and took a short walk before reaching the main building.  The tribal chief welcomed us, and used a local plant to give us some red facial paint.  We were then brought into the lodge and shown some native dances.

This is the boat to Pucallpa, Peru. It's at least a 6 day trip upriver.
  Of course the women of the tribe had to grab the men, and have us clumsily dance along with them.

After a few dances, we danced our way back outside for a blowgun demonstration.  The chief showed his prowess by shooting a small target about five meters away.  He had excellent accuracy, and nailed the fake shrunken head two out of two times.  Then it was our turn with the blowgun.  Everybody seemed to have the same accuracy.  We would hit maybe two out of three, but a little lower because of our lower lung power.

After that came the traditional hawking of the native goods.  I usually do not partake in this tradition.  I am usually doing my version of backpacking, so luggage space is at a minimum.  But I did cave in and buy a small blowgun and another trinket for five bucks.

Typical jungle view from the boat along the Amazon.

We then left and motored over to a small animal reserve.  Here we were shown a kinkajou, white-faced capuchin monkey, a three-toed sloth, and fresh water turtle, a white caiman, an anaconda and a python.  The little critters were amazing.  Thoughts of a cute little kinkajou waiting for me at home were running through my mind.  The sloth was a creepy, creepy thing.  The guide pointed out that George Lucas used a sloth as his model for E.T., and I can certainly believe it.

The turtle was prehistoric looking and very odd.  The caiman was smaller, and he seemed pretty docile.  The anaconda was pretty good sized, and one of the people carried the snake around over his shoulders.  I'm going to sound like a real wimp here, but I will explain.

This was our boat as we pulled into Cumaceba Lodge.
  I would have done the same thing, but I was worried about having to do laundry again later tonight.  Oh well.  We heard a short sales pitch for anaconda oil and dragon's blood, two medicinal things I had no interest in.  I dropped a fiver in for a donation, and we were on our way.

We returned to the lodge for a short tour of a lagoon.  There were alot of great birds in the area that did not want to be photographed, and alot of cool plants to be seen.  After that we headed back to Iquitos.  It took about 35 minutes on the river before we got back to the dock.  The guide put me in a tuk-tuk, and I was off to the agency.  I picked up my ticket for tomorrow's boat trip to Santa Rosa.

The welcome sign in the dining room of Cumaceba Lodge.
  I cringed when I was told that it left at 6am.  That means waking up at 4:15am to pack up all of my crap.  At least I had three nights in the same place this time.

I went downtown to get some food, and settled on a burger joint.  I had a hamburguesa americano.  It was a thin hamburger with ham, a fried egg, cheese, lettuce, and tomato on it.  I'm not sure if people in South America really think that we have all of that crap on burgers, but it did taste pretty good.  And once again the french fries were delicious.  This is one place where american restaurants could certanly learn a thing or two from places down here.

It took me a while to get to sleep, but finally did at about 1am.  Ugh.

Later, Phil

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The Iquitos skyline from the Rio I…
The Iquitos skyline from the Rio …
Here are a couple of Peruvian patr…
Here are a couple of Peruvian pat…
It might not be easy to see here. …
It might not be easy to see here.…
This is the boat to Pucallpa, Peru…
This is the boat to Pucallpa, Per…
Typical jungle view from the boat …
Typical jungle view from the boat…
This was our boat as we pulled int…
This was our boat as we pulled in…
The welcome sign in the dining roo…
The welcome sign in the dining ro…
A very nice orchid along the Amazo…
A very nice orchid along the Amaz…
Some breadfruit in a breadfruit tr…
Some breadfruit in a breadfruit t…
A little Yagua girl.
A little Yagua girl.
The Yagua tribal leader demonstrat…
The Yagua tribal leader demonstra…
Kinkajous are extremely adorable!
Kinkajous are extremely adorable!
Three-toed Sloths are just plain c…
Three-toed Sloths are just plain …
This picture really disturbs me, a…
This picture really disturbs me, …
Me & and a little White-faced Capu…
Me & and a little White-faced Cap…
Me with a small White Caiman.
Me with a small White Caiman.
One of the tour group wears a huge…
One of the tour group wears a hug…
An Anaconda is coming right for me.
An Anaconda is coming right for me.
A python slithers along the ground.
A python slithers along the ground.
Close up of the Pythons head.
Close up of the Python's head.
Lots of Papayas in the trees.
Lots of Papaya's in the trees.
Cruising through a nice little lag…
Cruising through a nice little la…
I wish I could remember the name o…
I wish I could remember the name …
The Amazon Queen cruising down the…
The Amazon Queen cruising down th…
Iquitos
photo by: Ileamel