Our journey to the amazon rainforest took 14hrs. We traveled by road for the first 3hrs (until the tarmac finished), then boarded a canoe and traveled along the Tiguino River - a gruelling 11hr journey because the river was so low (not much rain lately). The boat constantly got stuck on logs, rocks and sand and we had to get into the water to help free it. All good fun for the first few hours, we saw an anaconda snake and countless birds. But as night fell we began to get tired and longed for our jungle lodge to be "just around the next bend" - but the river just went on and on and on. Being out in the jungle in pitch darkness, hundreds of km of civilisation was both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. We did eventually reach our jungle lodge "Bataboro", but not until 1am!
The over the next 4 days we explored the jungle on foot and by boat, always returning the the comfort of our lodge for lunch and dinner. Our guide, Jamie (a local man) and translator, Marco were quick to point out the wildlife - we saw poison dart frogs, squirrel monkeys, caiman (a type of river croc), capybara (the largest rodent in the world), lots of different birds including colourful macaw (a type of large parrot), toucan (the birds with the big beak), and mocking birds (they mimic sounds from the jungle, including camera shutters).
The forest is full of resources for the local tribes and Jamie and Marco showed us everything. We had a taste of 'lemon ants' (which were really nice!) and were shown which vines contain drinking water and which contain poisonous toxins (unfortunately, they all looked the same to us!), trees which can help heal infections and others which will get you high. There were loads of insects - most try and bite you! The 'conga' ant is especially aggressive, these b*****s are about an inch long and if bitten you go down with a fever for a few days. One evening we went on a night walk and saw lots of tarantulas. Turns out there were loads of them living around the lodge!
We also tried our luck at Pirana fishing. You have to be careful when removing your hook, the fish can easily bite your finger off! We took our catch back to the lodge and the chef fried them for us - tasted good, but lots of bones. Sounds crazy, but we also swam in the river (with the pirana!). Apparently they won't try to eat you unless you have an open wound (when they smell the blood).
We were shown how to use the traditional hunting blow pipes. The local tribes eat anything that moves in the forest and the blow pipe is the preferred method to catch their prey. They use a tree toxin on the tip of the dart which puts the animal to sleep. The blow pipe is surprising accurate and the darts travel for about 30m.
We had an amazing few days in the amazon - another "once in a lifetime" experience!
Check out 'Ecuador - Amazon' at http://gallery.me.com/peterjprice/101692
Tony How easy were the blow pipes to aim/hit from 30m then? Look like fun :)
Carolina I am so sick and tired just to read your histories!!!
Mom & Dad Bet your trips to Australia & New Zealand seem tame compared to this!