Our travels from Lima into the jungle took pretty much all day....First up was the flight from Lima to Cusco, and then from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado. The airport in Cusco is crazy – because it is in a deep valley the plane has to ascend very, very quickly to clear the mountains surrounding the city. Freaky! From the plane we got our first glimpse of the snow mountains of the Andes:
And then literally watched the landscape change from the impossibly high Andes to the lowland jungle of the Amazon Basin:
Crazy how quickly and dramatically it happened.
Anyways from the airport we went to the expedition company’s headquarters to ditch most of our stuff, and meet up with our group. This would be one of the parts of our trip that we couldn’t do without being in a group… and it was fine. Our group consisted of us, a couple from the Netherlands (Hi Lydia and Erik!), a girl from France, and 3 guides. Not too bad a ratio!
Then, finally, we headed out into the jungle via a long, dirt road, and a teeny little van:
About 45 min into the jungle we stopped in Infierno – which is the local Ese'eja Native Community that ownes and operates the lodge – to transfer into a dugout canoe for the remainder of the trip up the Tambopata River.
(just a side note here – the motor for the canoe only could go forward because it could also be used as a chainsaw to chop wood. Everything in Peru seemed to be as functional as possible)
On the boat we ate lunch – prepared for us by the community. They try to keep things as biodegradable as they can because the lodge is so remote trash collection isn’t really an option. So the rice dish was wrapped up in a leaf for transport!
Me eating out of a leaf
Matt eating out of a leaf
Along the way we saw many people living and working with the river:
Kids playing on one of the many beaches
Boats that are part of the gold industry – they sift gold dust (not even nuggets) out of the water
And even some wildlife:
Turtles sunning themselves (just like they do at home!)
Macaws (I added notes on the flickr site so you can see exactly where they are)
It was a long journey (3 hours on the boat!) but a fun journey:
Finally we reached the lodge – of course we had to hike 15 min. through the jungle to get there…
I was expecting rugged. I mean no hot water? No electricity? Sleeping under mosquito nets? I thought it would essentially be camping. I was not expecting this:
More pics of the lodge on here.
Our room was very nice:
See that mosquito net? Yeah that’s the only protection we had against the scorpion spiders.
In fact, Matt claims that this lodge is nicer than any hotel he’s ever stayed at. And it was completely open to the elements and didn’t have electricity or hot water. Not to mention air conditioning or I dunno… exterior walls:
Matt chillin' in the hammock in our room. Notice there is no wall/screen/window between us and the jungle. At night it literally sounded like we were inside one of those "jungle noise" sound machines.
There were all of these really cool details (sorry. We’re architects. This is what we look at while we’re on vaca) like how they dealt with lighting. There were niches that held gas lanterns:
They opened up to both the hallway and to the individual rooms. That way at night someone could come around and both light and extinguish them without entering any of the guests rooms. The whole place was really beautiful at night:
Next up? Some of the many cool things we saw during our stay here.