South America | Peru | Peruvian Amazon | Lagunas – children of the wilderness
Its been a while since I was able to update this
Diary in fact it feels like I had left civilisation for a while.
After endless bus and taxi rides over curvy, bumpy roads we arrived in Yurrimaguas, the gate to the Jungle on the 20th of March.
After just one night of relaxation we boarded one of the infamous cargo boats heading towards
Lagunas. It is an excellent experience, you just string up your hammock on the upper deck and swing away while watching the amazing scenery. The lower deck is loaded with cattle, fruit and other cargo and people are constantly loading and uploading stuff along the way.
After 8 hours we arrived in the small jungle village
of Lagunas at 2 pm, to find out that they dont have electricity after 11.30pm. We stayed with an old couple that own the pharmacy of the village and arranged our trip into the wilderness by candlelight.
The next morning we just grabbed a few essential
things (like mosquito repellent) and started walking into the rainforest with our guide Raul. There were no other tourists in Lagunas and it certainly felt remote.
After having walked for about 2 hours we got out first taste of tropical rainforest rain to be quite honest we were not aware of the fact that it is actually rainy season in the Amazon basin at the moment :o)
We got absolutely soaked… and then the mosquitoes came out…
We found refuge at a familys house, tucked our wet trousers into our wet socks and our wet T-shirts into our belts, covered ourselves with
mosquito repellent and waited.
The rain lasted for 4 hours, but it was great to sit
with this family in their house (a platform on stilts
with a leaf roof) playing with their pet baby monkey (oh my god, it was so cute) and the turtle that the woman had bought for dinner, observing everyday family-life in the jungle.
That night we shared a tiny matraze and one mosquito net at the office of the national reserve, it was cosy.
From the next day onwards we spend pretty much 3 entire days in the canoe, only stopping to eat some fish that we caught ourselves with fried bananas and to sleep. Raul was paddling while we lazed around in the back of the little boat looking out for wildlife. We saw huge amounts of birds (including woodpeckers, parrots and a Tucan), a sloth (actually moving, which is rare), big toads, snakes and loads of monkeys some of which were carrying babies. Raul caught a baby crocodile for us to touch and observe closely and took us to a place where we saw river dolphins. Every now and again it would rain, sometimes hard so we just decided to wear the same wet cloths every day and keep a dry set to sleep in. We had puddles in our boots for the whole time, got incredibly dirty and got bitten by the mosquitoes BUT we loved it. We would sleep at the side of the river on a plastic sheet covered by mosquito nets. If it started raining at night, Raul our fantastic guide would get up and put a plastic roof up.
The noises made me feel like I was in a Tarzan movie; I have never heard anything like the screams of the big red monkey before. We were eating the same fruit as the monkeys and cooked our food in river water, feeling increasingly like children of the wilderness…
When we finally returned to Lagunas we learned that there was a strike in Tarapoto, which meant that the cargo boat would not come to pick us up that night. We had to stay another day, anxiously wondering how long the strike could possibly last, given the fact that the cargo boat is the only way out of Lagunas. I used the opportunity to take lots of photos of the village kids playing in the muddy streets.
The boat to Iquitos finally arrived at 4am the following night; we had been waiting at the harbour for 3 hours and were absolutely knackered. This leg of the journey takes about 36 hours and this time it was busy. At some point there were about 60 other hammocks on our deck! We got chatting to a lot of the other passengers, got to see the sunrise and giggled about a group of 25 missionaries from the US who were handing out leaflets, singing church songs and wore T-shirts with Ive come to build a church on the Amazon but mostly we lay in our lovely hammocks swinging, listening to the strange mix of music being played over the boats speakers.
What an amazing time we had!
We stayed 3 nights in Iquitos, a crazy buzzing jungle city before catching the plane back to Trujillo.
Unfortunately this is the end of my trip, just collecting my things and some more little, wet kisses of the wonderful kids at Bruce Peru before leaving for London on Friday morning :o(
Hope youve enjoyed this diary!