Saturday, June 16, 2012

Peru Part 6: Final Leg: Amazon Jungle and Lima

Well, I figured better late than Never…… Here’s the final instalment of our travels in Peru! 
On Sunday April 15, 2012 we boarded a plan at the Cuzco Airport to begin our journey to the Amazon Rainforest! After a quick 35min flight we landed in Puerto Maldonado, the capital city in the Peruvian Rainforest. The heat and humidity was crazy after spending weeks in the fairly cool highlands. 35c and 90% humidity! It was nice to see the sun though!

Once we re-packed our bags for our jungle excursion we loaded on a bus and drove for an hour down a dirt road into the heart of the Jungle and to the shores of the Tambopata River. The bus drive was something else, full of mudvholes and sketchy bridges where we had to get off the bus and walk across as to not overload them.

Once we reached the river we boarded a river boat where we had a picnic lunch during our 2.5 hour trip upstream to Tambopata EcoLodge, located in the Tambopata National Reserve Forest. Along the way the animal sightings started immediately. We say Macaws,  red Monkeys, Caimans and Capybaras (aka giant swimming river rats).

Once we arrived at the lodge we were shown to our very own jungle bungalows lit by candels and with mesh walls so that you can hear the animal and jungle sounds at night.  They were very cool! We quickly picked out some gum boots and headlamps and headed out for a nightwalk. It  was cool, but a bit creepy hiking through the jungle at night. We say all kinds of big spiders and bugs. 

We stopped once and turned out our lights to listen to the animals scurrying about. It was sooo dark and there was so much life hiding out there in the bush; it was crazy! After our walk we had a tasty dinner and dessert back in the lodge before heading to bed for an early morning.

The next morning after a 5am wakeup call and a fruit filled breakfast we headed out for a jungle walk.  Once again we were outfitted in gum boots for some sloshing around though huge mud bogs along the trail. Along the hike we saw a HUGE tarantula, lots of birds and wild pigs.At the end of the trail we came to an oxbow lake where we paddled around to see bats, piranhas, monkeys, vultures and lots more birds.  We also saw some huge trees along the way that we could climb into and take turn at climbing some jungle vines.

After the walk we came back to the lodge for a swim in the river, but it was too flooded to safely swim unfortunately, and a rest in the hammocks while we waited for a yummy chicken lunch.

 After lunch we explored around the Lodge and saw lots of monkeys and a jungle racoon type animal. Later that day we boated down to a fruit farm where we tasted lots of fresh tropical fruits and explored the orchards.  That night we went out in the boat in the dark to look for caimans by spot light before retiring to the pub for drinks and dinner.

On April 17 we had our final breakfast in the Jungle before b beginning the journey back to Lima to end our Peru adventure. It took us the better part of the day to get to Lima from the Lodge starting with a river boat, then the dirt road bus (which got stuck in the mud for almost an hour before we managed to pull it out!), then a flight to Lima and another bus to our hotel. After we checked into our hotel we all went for a nice steak dinner at a great restaurant called Panchita, where we enjoyed everyone’s company for one last night and said our goodbyes to our travel group.

Mike, Dave and Debbie and I spent the next 3 days in Lima exploring the city before heading home from our trip. While in Lima we went to the Plaza de Armas to see the changing of the guard and the esquisite wood patios, we went to San Francisco Monastery to see the art and wood carvings from the 1500s plus the creepy catacombs full of human skeletons, we explored the Miraflores neighbourhood with its beautiful parks and tasty happy hours and we hung out in the diners off Larco street.

 Mike and I also did a half day walking tour where we explored the seaside parks, drove around and saw the fancy houses and olive trees in Lime, checked out the old city wall, the post office plaza, explored downtown, Chinatown and the Santa Domingo Monastery. After our tour we had a great lunch at a diner near Kennedy park and spent the afternoon shopping for souvenirs and exploring the local markets before a seaside dinner overlooking the ocean cliffs at sunset.

On April 20 we enjoyed our final day in Peru exploring the Barranco area of Lima before heading to the airport for our 30hr journey home from our excellent South American Adventure. 


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