Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Amazon

This past weekend I think was my favorite weekend in Peru. We flew to Iquitos to visit the Amazon Rainforest! Wednesday after class we took a taxi to the airport but traffic was so bad that it took 2 hours and we thought we were going to miss our flight. But thankfully the airports run on Peruvian time as well (running late) so we made our flight. Once we landed the first thing you notice when you get off the plane is how unbelievably humid it was, everything was sticky and it was hard to breathe. There were eight of us that went to Iquitos but we split into two groups for this trip, Ashley and I stayed at a different hostel and lodge from the other six for this trip since we wanted to go on the canopy walkway. Once we got to our hostel it was about midnight and no one that worked at the hostel was there so some of the other guests helped us out and we were thrown into a room with other people slightly scared and confused. But then someone showed up and we got everything figured out so we set our alarms and went to bed. After a very restless night of people coming in and out of the room and a constant fear of being covered in bugs a bus from our lodge came to the hostel to pick us up. And then we stopped to pick up our teachers from their hotel because they had also decided to to stay at the lodge Ceiba tops. They took us to their office in Iquitos where we then took a boat to get to our lodge. The river that we rode on was black and went into the Amazon river which is a light brown color and you could see the line where they met. I didn't actually get a chance to take a picture of it but it was one of my favorite parts so here's what it looked like.

Once we got to the lodge our tour guide, Orlando, showed us our room and let us explore before lunch and our first tour of the weekend. So we walked around, took lots of pictures and made some friends. :) 

 Santos the tapir! 

 He loved Ashley :)

 Blue and yellow macaw
 Rainbow macaw

   After lunch we took a boat to visit the Yagua tribe.

 Owl monkey 
 Barbara holding a sloth
 Little girl holding a sloth almost as big as her
 The chief showing us how to use a blow dart
 Stephen using the blow dart

We then went back to the lodge to eat dinner and afterwards Orlando took Ashley and I on a night walk. It was one of the scariest things I've ever done. 
 Pink toed tarantula
 This one is hard to see but pictured below is a Brazilian wandering spider (one of the most venomous spiders in the world) 

 At one point Orlando had us turn off our flashlights and be silent for a minute and just listen. Slightly terrifying but it was amazing how dark and loud the jungle was. My eyes couldn't adjust in the dark and I wasn't able to see Ashley who was not even a foot away from me. And not pictured were bats, caimen alligators, and another very large spider that I almost stepped on. When we got back to our room we found a little surprise in the pants that were on my bed.
There was a very tiny lizard

The next day we had to be on the boat by 6 in the morning to go to the canopy walkway (the reason why we picked this lodge). We took a boat to the nearby town of Indiana where we took moto taxis to the next boat that we took to one of their other lodges to eat lunch and see some monkeys. After that we took another boat to the canopy walkway. On our way back we walked to a botanical garden and we were all blessed by a local shaman.
 The sunrise was beautiful 

 Moto taxi ride through the town Indiana

 Baby monkey!

 Another pink toed tarantula 

 Walking across the canopy 

 At the highest point almost 118 ft!

 These birds were not friendly
 On the way back we hit a rainstorm 
 Up ahead was just a wall of water 

On our last day at the lodge we went fishing for piranha, looked for birds, saw a pink dolphin (sadly I didn't get a good picture) and got to see the Ceiba tree an almost 200 year old tree that was 115 ft tall!

 Red-bellied piranha (the most aggressive species of piranha)

 Blue morpho butterfly (it was my favorite)

 It's kind of hard to see but it had the prettiest blue wings 
Ceiba tree

Visiting the Amazon has been one of the best things I have ever done (aside from getting eaten alive by mosquitoes) I absolutely loved it. The boat rides on the Amazon river were my favorite parts. And although we saw a lot of very big spiders I am glad (and shocked) that we did not see any snakes in the jungle. This will be my last blog post, I only have about 2 weeks left here. I fly into Omaha on May 3rd, I am sad to leave but ready to come home!