|March 25-27, 2007
A flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado brought us into the amazon jungle. On arrival at the small airport it was a 20 minute bus ride followed by a 2 hour boat journey that brought us to our accomodation for the next two nights (Eco Lodge), not far from the peru/bolivia border.
Welcome to the jungle, after a 2.5 hour boat ride up the main river we stopped at the ecolodge, after quickly settling in and having a meal we made our way across the river to the island known as "Monkey Island", as you can tell by the name it is home to several species of monkeys. On arrival our guide gave us a run down of what sort of monkeys lived there, then we proceeded towards the middle of the island. All of a sudden we were surrounded by monkeys, the guide had a whole heap of bananas with him so the monkeys quiet happily come up and took the bananas. Some people were fortunate enough to be able to have the monkeys sit on their shoulders, as the rest of us enjoyed the time to take some good photos and video footage. It was fascinating to see that the monkeys although living in the wild have adapted to human contact because so many tour groups go through there, but only at certain times of the day so the monkeys don't get too reliant on human assistance. After the venture on the island we made our way back to the lodge, where we had the option to go cayman searching at night time, but because we had seen so many in the pantanal we decided to call it a night and relax in the hammocks in our rooms while looking up at the stars (we had mosquito net around the whole room of course, but only nets no windows).
The next day was an early morning start to go for a 4 hour walk throughout the jungle, we were ready to go at 7am. We had a guide accompanied with a machete of course to clear some paths for us to walk through on occasions. He took us through the jungle explaining different things on the way, however the attention was taken from him by the small ecolodge pet called "karina", an animal that look cross between a pig and ant eater she was very tame and cute. Karina continued to follow us for the first two hours of our journey before she headed back home on her own. The wild life wasn't exactly jumping out at us, but luckily our guide was very switched on, by the end of the walk we had seen a woodpecker, tarantula, large snail (size of my hand) and a small frog as big as my thumb nail. Other then that our guide also showed us some plants used for medicines, trees used to make spears, and the old method of communication in the jungle which was done by banging a specific large hollowed tree with a big stick that could be hear up to 10km away when given a massive whack. When we got back from the walk we had a bit of time to relax and eat some lunch before heading off again down the river to try our luck at piranha fishing and also visiting a local jungle family. We stopped in to the see the family first, their main source of income was through the banana trees that grew in their area, we also got to try some old style hunting methods with the bow and arrow. Glad none of us ever had to use it to hunt because we were all hopeless at it and didn't generate enough power to be able to kill anything. After a brief visit to the family we stopped in a nearby creek from the main river to try and catch piranha, as with the pantanal we were armed with a bamboo stick with about 2m of fishing line on it, once again we were unsuccessful as the water levels were to high to catch piranha, therefore the only thing that were caught was a few cat fish about 15cm long, and that was by our two guides who were using longer lines and heavier sinkers. That night was just back to the lodge for a buffet dinner and few beers before hitting the sack again for the night. Another early wake up got us away early from the lodge and catch a boat up the river to the airport Puerto Maldonado where we would fly out back to Cusco.