The Amazon Jungle
16.06.2010 - 25.06.2010
From Chachapoyas we headed to a small town called Tarapoto which is just at the start of the jungle... we stayed just one night then headed to Yurimagus which is were we could get the Boat to Iquitos. We went down to the Market to buy Hammocks for the boat, repellent for the mossies and food just incase there was none on the boat. The next morning we went down to the port and sent up camp on the top level of the boat and 12am we were expecting the boat to leave but the were still loading it up with fruits, corn, mototaxis and 12 cows. We soon found out that there wasn´t enough staff to leave so we slept on the boat in port for the first night. The next day we headed off, there wer a few tourists on board so we all put our hammocks together and relaxed whilst floating down the river. Food was also included with the ticket which was good.... rice, bananna and some sort of stew!
The boat ride was less hot than we imagined and was actually pretty fun. There was an artist on the boat who painted and made jewelery the whole time which was great to watch. It was also really nice watching all the small villages as we went past them and seeing the men driving up to the boat to collect their post or deliver some bananas.
We arrived at Iquitos early in the morning and we checked it to a hostel along with some of the people on the boat. I liked Iquitos immediately.. the people seemed friendly, the town is noisy and busy but it had a nice atmosphere. After breakfast in the market we headed out to a butterfly farm at a nearby town reachable only by boat. Whilst on the boat we saw a sea plane land in the river.... the expensive way to see the amazon.
We wander through the town to the butterfly place trying various delicious and disgusting fruits on the way.
The butterfly farm was really interesting... it had some amazing butterflys and showed each stage from catapillar to chrysalis to butterfly.
The also had some rescued animals there including a bunch of monkeys with big red bald faces, that look constantly embarrased about their hideos faces.
The market in Iquitos sometimes sells monkeys, ocelots, birds and even Jaguars that have been captured in the jungle to sell as pets and some of them had been brought to this refuge when the owners couldn´t handle them. They had one cute capuchine monkey that had been trained to pick pocket by street children and still does it now if you get to close. They had a Jaguar that had been brought a a pet but got too big. It was a really interesting place and to top it off they had a manatee in the small lake which we saw come up for a feed a few times. When we got back to the port we decided to try a jungle delecasy.... BBQed grubbs.... they actually tasted pretty good. We also had some delicious river fish.
The next day we headed to a Orphanage for Manatees whose mums had been killed for meat. After two bus ride and a mototaxi ride we finally got there and it as well worth it. We were showed round and intoduced to some of the babies and then we fed three 18 month old manatees with milk bottles. They were so cute... they have really strange mouths and feel a bit like wet suits!
Was a great experience and after this we headed to a Zoo which was equally awesome.... they had a pink dolphin which was so happy and playful and also lots of monkeys and other jungle animals. Outside the zoo there was yet more grubs and next to them was bbqed Aligator, we tryed a little bit but decided to stick to our cold coconut milk... best drink in the heat!
The next day we just relaxed and did some people watching, we´ve met some really nice people here so we all headed down to a bar to watch the world cup.... was a really disapointing boring game but was still nice to have a cold beer with friends. One day we headed to a district of Iquitos called Belen. In the wet season the whole place floats because the water is so high. This time of year the water isn´t high but we still needed to take a boat there. We wandered round the market trying different honeys and watching tons of people roll huge tobacco cigarettes at lighting speed and trying not to tread in the piles of rubbish everywhere being slowly eaten by the vultures peering over the roofs.
As we headed to the port all the market ladies started saying ´Noooo amigo, es peligroso!´and precided to tell us that if we go to the port on our own we will return with nothing. So we headed back and hired a guide who took usd to the floating vilages and we visited his house and met some super cute children. We also saw some HUGE water lillys that can hold the wieght of a very small child.
After this we went back to a different part of the market which was selling monkeys, parrots, turtles, tortoises and alligators. Was really sad to see these animals all tied up for sale. We also saw a big tortoise that was in his shell upside down. And we asked the lady if it was for food or a pet.... He was for food :-( Really wanted to buy him and set him free but they´d have probably just gone and caught another one. Was a really interesting day, there was a medical section of the market with lots of lotions and postions made out of jungle plants. There was even a cure for diabetes!
We had planned to do a tour into the jungle from here but we´ve heard theres a town a bit down river which is alot more authentic and cheaper. So tomorrow we´re gonna got a a boat for another 2 days to Lagunas to hopefully do some jungle camping!!