Peruvian Jungle Tour – 3 Nights / 4 Days
We hopped on a plane from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado and landed in the jungle within the hour. Straight away the humidity gets to you but it wasn’t too bad actually – but hot enough. Again it was about getting used to another place again – this time it had many more little scooters zipping in and out of everywhere and it felt exactly like a typical airport in the jungle that you’d see in the movies (because we have never seen one before). Ivan (our guide – pronounced evarn) met us and took us to the boat ramp where we boarded the wooden pocket rocket and set off for the lodge. I totally felt like I was in a Rambo movie ha ha the scene took me right there and it felt awesome and like I was a kid again but I couldn’t relax- I just had to keep a look out for any snipers. I was really looking forward to seeing all these strange animals and walking through the jungle – We have both never been to an area such as this and I know Karina was excited also….Insert Karina’s comment here: Excited/creeped out at the thought of spiders, snakes and sweatty hair hehehee
We arrived at the Lodge in about 45 minutes and Ivan gave us two choices of lodges that were 15 minute walk from each other. There was a big one with a local monkey and macaw and looked the most popular with many people already there and private bathrooms to lure you in but was 15 minute walk for each meal. It was hot, set back in the forest therefore providing no breeze from the tropical humidity. It looked awesome ORRRRrrrr a smaller, quieter one right on the water with a breeze and no people there however, shared bathrooms (made no difference as we would be the only guests anyway) – most people chose the larger one but of course Karina and I go against the grain and choose the smaller quieter one and I think we won out too. It was much better sitting in a hammock, listening to all the strange jungle sounds, watching the wildlife fly past and being entertained by the local Racoon (Loca) who was this cheeky 6 month old who loved hanging around the Lodge. We are the only ones in the lodge and again, lucky enough to just have a personal guide and chef (who cooked great meals by the way).
Our first activity was a 30 minute walk to a zipline flying through the jungle and then a canopy walk along a bridge 27meters high on the canopy of the forrest – insert Karina’s comment: Corrine- Another moment where I thought of you shitting yourself ha ha – it was really cool. Karina lost her sunnies being a punk hanging upsidown being all ‘look mum no hands’ (Karma?) on the zipline and we spent about 30 minutes looking for them all Rambo like cutting through the dense jungle. We were unlucky but I know some frog is hopping around somewhere looking the coolest of the gang and picking up female frogs left right and centre.
The second day was spent hiking to a lake and then hitching a ride on a row boat to go around the lake and eat lunch with a picturesque view of the whole place. On the boat Ivan (the greatest of greatest wildlife spotters) saw a family of Otters in the water and asked me to grab a paddle and we paddled furiously thanks to my dragon boat training in a previous life for ten minutes to catch up and then we just floated for about 15 minutes and watch the whole family of Large Otters catch fish together and eat them right in front of our eyes. So close we could hear the bones of the fish cracking (sorry Sarah and Hayley haha) Mind you – these weren’t your average run of the mill otters – they were two meters in length and on Roids – Ugly mofos too. Ivan knew so many bird calls and a lot of them were sqaurking back – he is a really great spotter of wildlife and can hunt down heaps of animals. We saw three types of natives monkeys in the wild and so many different types of birds with Ivan telling us the lifestyle of all of them. Kingfishers, Macaws, Wild turkeys, heron’s etc etc – the jungle is packed with so many animals.
We ate lunch on the bank which consisted of traditional Peruvian chicken, rice and egg dish wrapped up in a banana leaf which stayed warm since we left the camp early morning. We had a small siesta again and headed back to the lodge.
Of course we had yet ANOTHER siesta on the hammocks and then took off for a night walk after that – It was amazing to see all these creatures just sitting around in the Jungle – I’d never set my tent up in the jungle NO WAY JOSE’ (Jose’ because we’re in Spanish speaking country heheh). See the photos of the night walk it was amazing – we saw large green tree snakes, poisonous snakes, all sorts of moths and stick insects, – Of course Ivan told us all about everything – we even saw HUUUGE tarantulas – the one on the photo is about half the size of the first one we saw. It was pretty cool – I think Karina was happy to get back to the lodge and dive under the mosquito net hahaha. Our formal sleeps (not siestas) were spent on a very comfy bed surrounded by a mosquito net with MANY MANY MANY things that go bump in the night (including Loca). However, this did not seem to effect our sleep – strange……………..
In the morning (a 3:50am wake up) we drove one and half hours up the river by boat to watch many parrots lick clay on the side of the banks. They do so because the food they eat is very acidic and the clay acts as a liner for the whole day – pretty amazing and smart.
Following the clay lick watching was of course another siesta and then a trip to an Animal refuge 45 minutes down the river – Volunteers pay for the room and meals and use the time spent at the lodge to learn a lot about many rare and almost extinct animals that have been rescued from hunters, injuries or abandoned pets. So many animals we’ve never seen and we could touch the monkeys and hold their hands – couldn’t do that in the Adelaide Zoo hehehe – we saw Rare birds, A puma, A Tapir, A Jaguar , heaps of monkeys, a bush dog – it was pretty cool
It was a jam packed day and we hopped on Kayaks and made our way to Monkey Island where there is only one family of monkeys left due to illegal gold moners hunting them for dinner. We did see a few illegal gold miners on our travels down the river that day. During tourist season these monkeys flock to certain parts and you can feed them – not like the wild ones we saw before – these were wild but knew where to get the food from – we couldn’t find any but that was OK. Whilst looking for these monkeys we encountered another group and they all had long sleeves on, long pants, hats, gumboots and they were looking at Ivan, Karina and I – shorts, tshirt, no shoes walking through the jungle – Ivan was pretty relaxed and said it was no probs so we didn’t worry – it was funny.
The Kayaking was pretty fun – especially because I got to throw some mud at Karina – Some thick,dark amazonian mud muahahaha – people pay a lot of money for that at home – I thought I was doing her a favour (see photo). We swam around monkey island for a little bit and then Ivan said make sure you don’t ‘make pee pee’ in the water because there are these small animals that can make there way up your urethra ‘shaft’ and you need an operation to get it out – OK SO WE ARE NOW OFICIALLY IN THE JUNGLE hehehehe.
Dinner that night was an awesome traditional dish called Lomo Saltado – a mix of beef, vegies and chips all mixed up with some rice – it was awesome – we played with Loca a little more before heading off to bed. We discussed the last few days and were both totally wrapped with what we saw, ate and experienced. It was a great time and we both agreed that the jungle, although at times was sweaty and uncomfortable, exceeded both our expectations and were happy to take the boat home the next morning and fly back to Cusco – only to leave the next morning again at 6am for Puno – a long bus ride with some stops along the way and seeing the floating island – more of that later.
Check out the Giant otters eating in front of us
Looks bigger in real life I swear
1.5 mtrs long – about 35kg’s
Pretty cool to see the whole family eating