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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Peruvian Adventure 2016 - Travel to Jungle

We awoke early to shower, finish packing, and enjoy one final breakfast at the JW Marriott el Centuro Cusco. Like every other day, the breakfast was delicious.

After we finished breakfast, we checked out and asked for a taxi to the airport. Time to fly to the jungle! Our taxi driver did not speak much English, so we tried our best to communicate in Spanish. Ultimately, we just watched as Cusco passed us by, trying to soak up the last moments in the city.

Our time at the Cusco airport went smoother than I expected. I had us arrive 2 hours before our plane departed, unsure of how long it would take. We were checked in, had bags checked, and through security in under 30 minutes, giving us an hour of waiting at the gate. Oh well. Better to be safe than sorry at a new airport in a foreign country.

The flight was short, only about 40 minutes, and we landed at Puerto Maldonado airport in the heart of the jungle. It was very reminiscent of some of the small African airports we flew through a couple years ago. As soon as we stepped outside of the plane, the heat and humidity hit us like a ton of bricks. Whew! Super hot compared to Cusco!

Our guide, Jorge, met us at the airport and took us to the Rainforest Expeditions office to check in and drop our unnecessary suitcases. He also offered us a small snack and juice. Very delicious! Before we knew it, we were on a bus for the one and a half hour dirve on a dirt road to Infierno where we caught a boat to take us the rest of the way.

As we were driving, Jorge pointed out various things to help us learn more about the local culture. One of the big things to see were the papaya plantations. They were huge!

Once we arrived in Infierno, we mae the quick change to the boat. Our captain, Rodrigo, greeted us and we were off. Jorge passed out our lunches, which were fried rice in a leaf plus juice. Pretty good and needed after a morning of travel.

After we finished eating, Rodrigo hit the gas and we were truly off on our 45 minute boat ride to Posada Amazonas. Along the way, Jorge explained some history and information of the area. Most of the time, we just sat and admired the beauty passing us by.

When we arrived, we found a soccer game just getting started between some locals and guests of Posada Amazonas. We continued our walk through the jungle to the lodge. The lodge was absolutely beautiful. We were greeted with juice in the lobby area and an introductory talk by the guest manager. Then Jorge took us to our room, so we could unwind a bit before our evening activity, the canopy tower.

Our room was really nice. We had two full size beds, both with mosquito netting, a hammock, and our own private bathroom with shower. While the build has a roof, our room does not really have a ceiling, giving it more of an open feel. Plus, our outside wall was open to the jungle. There were some brown capuchins and squirrel monkeys working in the trees above that we could watch from our room. Amazing!

Our little bathroom was also pretty nice, unlike the majority of toilets we used in Peru. Similar to most toilets in Peru, there was a basket beside for the tp, since it could not be flushed. This definitely has taken some getting used to.

At 4:30pm, we met Jorge for our canopy tower hike. The canopy tower here is 37m, ~120ft, tall and provided spectacular views of the jungle around us. We saw some howler monkeys and the silhouettes of the Andes in the distance. Jorge said that they were easier to see in the dry season, May through October. Now we know, visit the Southern Hemisphere during the dry season for better views and less bugs.

Darkness fell quickly during our walk back. Thankfully, we had our headlamps to help us see. Back at Posada Amazonas, Jorge gave us a short lecture on the goal of this place. This lodge is a joint venture between the native community in Infierno and some business men from Lima who founded Rainforest Expeditions. Posada Amazonas is in its 20th year and has numerous awards for Eco-tourism.

Following the lecture, we joined the rest of the guests for dinner: chicken, rice, vegetables, and purple carrot for dessert. Tasty! Then Kari and I went back to our room to shower and get some rest for our next day!

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