Our last GAP activity...the jungle trip into the Amazon Basin. We left Quito at an ungodly hour (around 7am) to get to the airport to fly to Coca, from where we would be getting picked up by our lodge people.
Right from the start we got VIP treatment...this was going to be a good end to our trip. We sat in the VIP lounge at the airport taking advantage of the free drinks and canopes! We had a 25min ride to Coca, mainly an oil mining town where we met our guides for the trip. Off we then went on our little motor boat down the Napo River, one of the tributaries of the Amazon, to La Selva lodge, a 2 hour trip down the river.
When we arrived at the lodge, after we had changed from motor boat to canoe, as the lodge is based on a large lake off the river, we got greated by the manager and numerous staff proffering hot towels, cocktails and more canopes! Oh my god...we were really not used to this kind of treatment. After we had eaten our share of the snacks we headed off for our first jungle walk.
Our guides, Edison and Paul, took us into the jungle to view the butterfly farm they have-some of which they send off to zoos all over the world, and also to spot animal-which we did! We saw squirrel, dusky and Capucian monkeys..very tiny and cute, but they dont like to sit still for long. It was nice to see them in thier natural environment, not fussed by us, just doing what they wanted.
So our days on the lodge (4 in all) usually went like this...get up around 6am, have breakfast (the best bread so far in South America), go for a walk or canoe around the lake, into the jungle, etc, back for lunch (3 courses) then a rest before more walks or boat rides then dinner (3 courses again!)
Apart from eating and sleeping lots I got to go and see a native house along the river banks. On our way to the mans house we came accross a fluer de lance-otherwise known as a speared headed viper. We knew it was quite poisonous when Edison, our local guide, saw it only once he had alked over it, shouted s***! and ran off up the path!! He did come back to pin it down whilst we walked past. Apparently the viper will kill you in a couple of hours if it does bite you and can spring up to attack almost 1 metre high. When we did get to the house we got to drink natural red bull/viagra...some kind of bark from a tree that the men use before they go out to work in the jungle...tasted like paint stripper. We also got to play with thier blow pipe...I saw the only one to dart a coca pod used for target practice...felt very proud of myself!
I also got to go pirahnna fishing. Although I think fish are friends and not food it was quite interesting to see how much power they had. I managed to catch a local fish and a little pirahnna, but it was too small to eat. Maren and Paul did catch huge ones though, so we all tried silver pirahnna for dinner.
When we were there some photography guy was there with the lodge manager to take photos of things to update thier website. They seemed to like us and took lots of photos of me, Laura and Maren in various undignified poses lazing in our bikinis around the lodge. I also got to be the model for the new massage guy. I had to pose for photos and as a reward got a free massage, reiki and reflexology session worth $80! Not bad Hey?
All too soon it was time to say goodbye to the jungle lodge. I was very impressed by the staff and the jungle was very different to Brazil-I would recommend Ecuador to anyone.