This blog entry covers part two of my recent trip to Peru. Part one is found here. For this entry, I will focus on my visit to the Amazon region of Peru. You may not think about Peru when considering the Amazon but, the source of the Amazon is in the Andes Mountains. By the time the Amazon exits Peru, it is a mighty river.
The Amazon adventure began upon our arrival to the city of Iquitos. Iquitos is located on the banks of the Amazon. My impression after observing the Amazon River for the first time was it looked more like a lake than a river. The scale and scope of the river are hard to absorb while standing on the bank. We had dinner that night on a floating restaurant called Al Frio y Al Fuego. Both the view and the food were outstanding.
The next day we boarded the Amitista which would serve as our home for the next three days. I am not a fan of cruise ships, and I was a little apprehensive about this riverboat. The accommodations on the Amitista were terrific. The food was excellent, and most importantly, the crew was amazing. The rooms were good sized with a bathroom attached. There was a nice observation deck for viewing the river and wildlife. Several times per day we took a smaller skiff to various locations on the river for up-close viewing of wildlife. We saw numerous birds, pink dolphins, sloths, and various species of monkeys.
The Amazon jungle of Peru is teaming with life. At sunset, the mosquitos are swarming. We prepared for the mosquito onslaught by pretreating our clothes with repellant and applying liberal doses of 30% DEET spray. I was unable to take the suggested Yellow Fever vaccination so repelling these disease-carrying varmints was my only option. Don’t underestimate the mosquitoes, sun, or heat as they are all present in large quantities on the Amazon River.
We also visited a Butterfly and Animal Refuge Center. This center has a beautiful butterfly exhibit displaying many of the unique butterflies of the Amazon. The animal refuge center focuses on helping the injured and sick animals of the Amazon. This effort is a labor of love as the center exists based on the generosity of donors and volunteers.
Next, we visited a small village located on the river. The residents were proud Inca descendants who were happy to show us how they live. While lacking many modern conveniences, these folks seemed genuinely happy. The leader of this village had recently captured an Anaconda snake. He retrieved the snake, and we were able to watch it crawl around for a while. He planned to release the snake into the wild later that day.
Towards the end of our river adventure, we learned the only road back to Iquitos would be closed during our planned transit. We were told we might have to leave the riverboat a day early to pass this road before closing. The G Adventures team came up with a great solution. There was another group traveling to board the riverboat. We planned to meet this group at the construction area and walk across the closed area. Essentially, we were switching busses with the other group. This bus exchange was a innovate solution allowed us to complete our Amazon itinerary.
After completing the Amazon portion of our trip, we flew back to Lima for one more day of activities before returning to Houston. The first activity on our agenda was bird watching at the Pantanos de Villa Wildlife Refuge. We witnessed many amazing birds along the shore and in the wetlands. The second activity of the day was visiting the Larco Museum. The Larco Museum house an extensive collection of pre-Columbian artifacts. Many of the artifacts predated the Inca Empire. It turns out the Incas, who were subdued by the Spanish Conquistadors, also conquered many other aboriginal nations. If you are interested in history, the Larco Museum is well worth your time.
In summary, this trip to Peru was a life-changing event. Peru has some of the most beautiful natural settings on earth. The history of Peru is fascinating as the Inca Empire was very advanced, and touring their artifacts confirms their impressive building capability. The people of Peru were genuinely kind and considerate. They seemed happy to see us and were patient with our touristy ways. If you enjoy the wonders of nature and exploring unique cultures, Peru is for you!
Make the most of this day!