We all pack our stuff and frantically run downstairs to check out and head on the bus to the airport. They make me open my ridiculous suitcase yet they could care less about my huge liter of water I was carrying – weird. We get on the plane in roughly 50-60 degree weather and get off in what feels like it has to be 100 degrees with 100% humidity. We arrive in Puerto Maldonado and get off the plan on the tarmac and quickly run towards the airport hut – which has no windows – just a very large hut with a carousel for our suitcases. Surprisingly my suitcase survives!
Just as we get our suitcase the rain starts hitting strong! Wind stats picking up and meanwhile we have to give all of our suitcases to the guides to put on the roof of these mini buses. We ride on this bus for roughly 20-30 min and arrive at a small stopping station to transfer the stuff we need for the night in the jungle. We quickly get our stuff out and throw them in the duffle bag we would be taking and meanwhile everyone is sweating beyond imagination and willing to pay anything for the nicely refrigerated bottles of Inca cola and water.
We throw our duffle bags onto this ridiculous small school bus yet maybe half the size with no real suspension and we begin our ride to the lodge in the jungle. Roughly 30-45 min on the bus as we pass large masses of land covered with plastic tents. The guide explains that a development company came in posing as the property owners and sold all the land to all these people yet the property belongs to the government. Pretty shocking – considering how many huts there were. The road is not paved – it’s simply dirt with large holes that our driver kept trying to avoid and bridges that I would never dare cross if I was behind the wheel. Meanwhile it’s still muddy but not raining anymore. We finally get to the river. I am thinking – this has to be it NO. We get on small long banana shaped boats with motors on them and we ride down the Amazon River for roughly 30-40 min. The air was great and I was finally beginning to cool down. We were in the Rio Tambopata area. Everyone had taken malaria shots and so fourth – but of course not me.
I made sure though before I left on this trip I had plenty of insect repellent and sprayed all my clothes with DEET (later found out that was not the best thing to do). We finally get to the end and I am finally cooled down but I see a small ladder with no railing again. I’m thinking ok – a couple feet and we can finally relax. Nope lol. We begin our trek through the jungle – through a barely paved with who knows what animals around. I simply kept just walking making sure the person at the end did not disappear – because if they did I would be in some trouble. Roughly 35-40 min after we finally get to the lodge.
We are greeted with cold wet towels and the most amazing juice I ever had in my life. I find out this lodge has no doors, no windows – only curtains for the entrance to your room and that is it! I throw my shoes off and go relax a little in my room. There was a hammock in the room and two beds with fly nets covering them. Only electricity was in the dining area and only for a few hours in the day. They used a pretty cool way to light the rooms. They would put a lantern at with two mirrors on either side and that would give plenty of light to your room.
Everyone got situated and I was still trying to catch my breath in this weather. The sun was going down but the temperature stayed the same – it was completely strange for me.
For dinner we had some food but I was really not in the mood to eat – not feeling well I just wanted to go to bed but we were not done for the day!
At this point it was pitch black and lucky for me I managed to bring a flashlight with me. The tour guide had a surprise for us. She told us to put on boots and that we would be heading back down to the river in pitch black simply following each other. Took us about 30-40 min to get down (still have no idea how we did this without falling) and then got back on the boats. The guide asked us to turn off all lights. As soon as we did I could literally not even see my hands in front of me. It was that pitch black. She meanwhile told us we would be looking for alligators. She took out a huge flashlight and we drove around at night in pitch black while remaining completely quiet going through the river. Meanwhile I am thinking – how does this drive know where we are going and how the heck will he know where to take us back – not like there are light towers here.
She spots one! She shows us the alligator and it quickly dives into the water – we then ride around for another 45 minutes looking but only find another animal and that is all. We finally get back to the pier and again have a trek up the hill to our lodge – another 30-40 min in pure bitch black. I get into my room and am so tired I literally fall asleep within minutes! Meanwhile I am hearing crazy noises all around me – almost as if these animals are above me!
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