WARNING! Before you read any further, you may find lots of wonderful photos of insects and animals in their natural habitats 🙂
Friday 15th November 2019
We flew back to Cusco early where we had checked in the Andina Inn, thinking it was convenient as it was so close to the airport, but with hindsite it was a long way from the centre, so wasn’t really convenient. We walked into the centre after checking in which took over an hour.
We mooched around the shops again, finding some different ones than before, with more unique items in the older part of the city. We decided that a Pisco Sour was in order. We hadn’t really been drinking much over the whole trip. We went to the Museo del Pisco and I had 2 absolutely amazing Pisco Sours, albeit not the cheapest. I felt a little strange when I had drunk 2, but more of an optical migraine it was setting off. In hindsite again, 2 was probably a bit much at altitude! My stomach also started feeling unsettled.
We had a lovely dinner in Ethnika though I wasn’t greatly hungry and then decided against the long walk as it was raining and grabbed a cab pack to the hotel to get ready to leave for the Amazon the next day.
Saturday 16th November 2019
The hotel (after much discussion) did provide us with breakfast after which we took a taxi back to the airport. We bumped in Omar and Edwar who were two of our original guides on the Inka Trail. They were waiting for their next group from Global Adventures to arrive.
The plane was delayed by about an hour. We were met at the airport by Rainforest expediions, the company we had booked with. We were heading down the Amazon River to stay in a research centre. This is a real eco-tourism project. The money that we pay to go there all goes to researching and protecting the species in the area. We were really excited.
We were taken by bus a short way to the company offices where we left anything we didn’t need to take with us into the Amazon, then back on the bus for a 1.5 hour drive to the river. We were then taken down the river for about an hour, which was shorter than expected, to our first accommodation of the night, Refugio Amazonas Lodge.
Our rooms were amazing! Open fronted with a hammock. I managed to do some yoga whilst Elaine relaxed in the hammock. What a beautiful environment for yoga!
We were given a great talk about the research they did at the centre. Really informative to know how our money was helping with these fantastic projects. It was a buffet dinner. We went for a night walk. The activity was called “Discover a new species”. Intrigued about what that involved and wanting to do as many activities as possible we went along. I didn’t want to miss a thing.
We walked through a small section of forest to an area where they had set up a light trap. On this light trap were just so many different species of moths. Not only moths, but grasshoppers and cockroaches. It felt a bit like I was in I’m a Celebrity (without being the celebrity) as the moths and grasshoppers bumped into me and landed on me. It made me jump in the beginning, but I did get used to it, and it was wonderful to see so many beautiful insects up close.
After being beaten up by bugs for half an hour or so we walked back to the lodge and saw two frogs on the way, one of which was a Poison Dart Frog (the one on the left) which is apparently really rare. What an amazing evening 🙂
Sunday 17th November
We got up at 4.45 as we were off to walk to a tree canopy tower where some saw an amazing array of birds. It’s also a good job that I’m not fearful of heights as this canopy was tall!
After the checkpoint we then made a further stop at a Macaw clay lick. It was too late in the day now to see them on the lick, they tend to go there really early in the morning, but we saw masses of them in the trees. Stunning birds. So colourful.
We arrived at TRC just before lunch. The rooms were similar to the ones at Refugio Amazonas, without the hammocks. There was a communal hammock area near reception. After lunch we had a nap. This was a first, no napping on our trip so far. We were feeling pretty shattered and my stomach still wasn’t feeling great.
We had an afternoon Introductory tour with Timoteo. Just the two of us with one guide. What a fabulous introduction. We saw a Tapir in the water trying to get away from the flies. I didn’t blame it, I was getting really irritated by them as they were stinging me through my clothes! You had to try and kill them otherwise they just followed you everywhere. We saw a lizard and spiders too.
We rested on the hammocks before our buffet dinner followed by an interesting presentation on the Macaw Project, one of their initiatives to protect the Macaws.
Monday 18th November 2019
We got up really early again at 4.45pm so go and see the Macaws again, but this time on the Claylick. We had a short boat ride to the lick where we were taking to a viewing point. Like all wildlife, they don’t necessarily perform when you would like them too. Macaws flew all around us, but in the main weren’t too interested in the lick itself. However, the parrots did land on the lick so it didn’t feel like all was a waste of time and it’s beautiful watching such stunning birds in their natural habitat.
We returned to the lodge for breakfast. I was feeling quite poorly with my tummy and we were due out to go and look for monkeys. Determined not to miss a moment of my Amazonian adventure, I headed out with Juan Carlos our guide. The weather in the Amazon is hot and humid and I was feeling rough.
We didn’t see so many monkeys. We saw one which I think was the Titi monkey (but I may be wrong on that) and lots of birds.
I skipped lunch as by this point food was going through me. The lodge staff were lovely with their concern and said to Elaine that they would cook me a chicken and vegetable “diet” broth for dinner.
Still determined to make it out and feeling a little better for skipping lunch we headed out for our afternoon hike, which was to a viewpoint over the river. Timiteo was again our guide. We were rewarded with more monkey that afternoon. We saw Red Howlers and Spider Monkeys. The Red Howlers made a booming noise through the forest.
After dinner of my diet soup we headed out for a night walk. We saw frogs again, but we also saw the most massive tarantula! On returning to the room, there was a possum running around on the veranda outside. It was quite frightened so we gave it space to make a quick exit 😊
Tuesday 19th November 2019
Today we set off at 6am for our longest trek in the Amazon so far. I was nervous about eating so the kitchen gave me some of the soup for breakfast too. I didn’t want to be ill on a 6 hour trek.
Timoteo was again our guide. This was scheduled to be a 6 hour hike through the different terrains in the rainforest.
We walked through a swamp area and a bamboo forest. We hoped that we may see a Jaguar as we managed to see its footprints in the mud. However, it alluded us. That would have been very special indeed. However, we did manage to see Howler monkeys, Spider Monkeys and Tamarind Monkeys. We went to the viewpoint and saw some Capybara’s swimming across the Amazon river and also a budgie in the tree. I managed the trek without further being ill.
We had our normal siesta after lunch (this we had become accustomed to in the Amazon and I was loving it). We then headed out at 3.30pm for a Sunset Cruise. However, it started raining whilst we were on the boat. We did manage to catch some sunset however. The highlight was seeing a whole family of Capybara’s swimming in the Amazon. We had seen them on the morning walk, but we were much closer to them this time and this was a real treat. The birds liked riding on the Capybara as they swam.
Back at the lodge, I treated myself to a massage, which was a lovely treat after 3 weeks of hiking and being poorly and as we were leaving the following morning it was the perfect time for me to treat myself.
After dinner we did our last night walk. We saw another tarantula. We didn’t see too much more although we did see a tiny scorpion with the guide’s night light. The guide did make us switch off all our torches and just stand in the pitch dark and just listen to all the sounds. This was awesome. It felt really odd to be in the pitch black in the Amazon listening to the sounds of the frogs, cicada’s and other creatures.
Wednesday 20th November 2019
Today we were leaving the Amazon. We were ready to leave the lodge at 7.45am after breakfast. We headed back down the river by boat to the bus, which then took us to the offices where we picked up our luggage.
The next part of the journey was to head back to Cusco by flight. We had arranged a pick up from the airport, which wasn’t there. This was the first time that we then had to haggle with the taxi drivers at the airport to take us to the hotel, which we managed to do with ease. The hotel was in the older part of the city. After dropping off our bags we walked into Cusco to do our final shopping.
Being in the older part meant that, once again, we managed to discover a new part of the city that we hadn’t quite reached before. We found a market and little unique shops. We must have walked miles as we had to keep going to the cash point as we were spending more than we anticipated 😊
We also discovered a small restaurant called La Caverne Del Oriente that had good reviews on Trip Advisor. They tempted us to have dinner there by throwing in a free Pisco Sour. I’m always sucker for anything free and particularly if it’s a Pisco Sour 😊 so we decided that we would take them up on their offer and we ventured back there for our evening meal. Elaine kept pondering on whether to have Guinea Pig. I’d already decided that wasn’t for me, particularly as my stomach was still unsettled. I had an Alpaca steak instead and Elaine the Alpaca Saltado (an Alpaca stir-fry) which was her firm favourite anyway. One of the dishes we had cooked on our cookery class.
With our bags bulging with presents and souvenirs we headed back to the hotel as we had to be up at 3.30am for a 5.30am flight 🙁
Thursday 21st November 2019
We were picked up at 3.30am and headed to the airport. We had debated whether we were going to be leaving enough time but we were glad that we decided to take the chance as check in wasn’t open on arrival and it was about 4am before it did.
We flew firstly to Lima and then onto Sao Paulo. We had about 5.5 hours in Sao Paulo, but it actually went quite quickly. We had lasagne and some wine and enjoyed our last few hours before taking our final flight to the UK.
We actually arrived back in the UK mid-afternoon of Friday 22nd after around 30 hours of travelling. Luckily, I had slept quite a bit on the flight so I didn’t feel too jetlagged.
It was the end of an amazing trip. Despite being somewhat poorly I had an experience that I will never forget and am so glad that I took part in. Now back to reality and work next week………