I decided to take a trip to the jungle as I wanted to see lots of animals as I din´t see that many in Costa Rica.
Getting there, I took the night bus to Lago Agrio. I had my small bag strapped to me all night as I had heard of so many people getting their bags nicked! Thankfully, it still remained attached to me when I woke up! I then had to wait in a hotel, along with other travellers, for my pick up to my jungle lodge. Everyone that I met were staying at different lodges and one by one they disappeared...I was the only one left! I was dreading that my lodge had forgotten about me so walked outside and found another girl, Laura, with the same lodge sign as me! Hooray, I wasn´t alone! Finally, we were picked up and made our way to Cuyabeno. We were then picked up by a boat and took a two hour journey to our lodge in the middle of the jungle, by the river. Along the way, we saw beautiful birds and saki monkeys that have huge, fat tails!
We stayed in a wooden lodge with
necessary mosquito nets over our beds. I got bitten quite a lot during my stay! Straight way, we had food- I was starving! We then got ready into our walking gear and went for a night walk into the jungle. We saw lots of insects; spiders, grasshoppers, stick instects, cockroaches and some caimen along the river. You can find them really well at night. Because it so dark, you need to use your torches to see and when the light hits the caimen´s eyes they reflect back the light. They are scary looking creatures, staring with eyes wide open and their jaws looking like they are ready to bite! Strangely, they didn´t move so I presumed it was asleep! They obviously didn´t see us a threat!
The next day, we went to the community. It was supposed to be an indigenous community but I presume because they are so many travellers bringing money that their commmunities change. They had cable TV and a football pitch with flash lights! Everyone was not impressed as we wanted to see how people lived in the jungle! We were shown how they make a special bread from only yuka root. The root is
grated, the water is then squeezed out, seived and then spread on a hot pan. No milk, no butter, nothing.We tasted it with tuna and it was ok, a bit bland and dry.
We then were taken to see the villager´s shaman. He was dressed in a fine outfit, beads around his neck, a long tunic and a special type of face paint on his face (maybe it as tatooed I am not sure). He then showd us the plants he would use to heal and what he would use them for. I was sceptical of a few of his ideas but who am I to judge with my western world medicine. We were then brought into a ceremonial hut which was decribed to us as a bit like a hospital. He performed a chantm waving a bunch of leaves around. We wer then told we could ask some questions. I don´t speak Spanish so Laura wuld try to interpret for me. She was telling me tht any questions that peeopple asked his answers just didn´t answer the questions. He spoke a different type of spanish so I think his undestanding wasn´t copletely clear. We wer invited to try
a bit of ayahuaska, which shamans and people use for spiritual revelations and gives people access to their purpose on earth! I only had a small taste and it was disgusting, definitely not enough to make any effects on my body. It was very bitter and had a slight taste of coffee. A couple days later, I heard that someone in Columbia had died drinking it...obviously a lot more thn I had. Very sad. Laura had a sore wrist so asked him to have a look at it for her. He told her it was propably, tenonitis (which a doctor in our group had told her also). He chanted and breathed smoke on her wrist and the proceeded to whack her with a plant that had sharp spike on. Her face was a picture! She said her wrist did feel a bit better but was very hot. Hives started to appear all over her arm! We think that maybe the plant was a bit like a stinging nettle and just made her arm numb for a while. After an hour the lumps had gone and the pain returned!
That night, we went to the lake and had a swim
while the sun wemnt down. We were assured there were no caymen or creepy things lurking! I was told, however, that I must not wee in the lake as small fish live in their that can swim up the urine stream and can get stuck inside you! Ewww.
The next day, we went for a day walk in the jungle. We saw amazingly camouflaged frogs. The guide said there was afrog on the ground and no one could see it. He then pointed, still no on could see it! The frog looked like a bunch of leaves..amazing! One of the trees had a white fungus on and we were told that if insects land or walk on it the fungus injects spikes into the insect. Apparantly, a brilliant insect repellent for humans! We didn´t see any animals which I was sad about. That night, however, we went on a boat ride and saw a huge sloth up a tree. It climbed the tree like it was on the moon! Incredible. We saw a snake up a tree, squirral monkeys and lots of birds. We then caught a slight glimpse of a river dolphin! They are apparently very shy so
didn´t stick around for long! As soon as it was dark, we spotted a black caimen that was huge. Again, its jaw open wide, looking like it was ready to pounce!!
The next day, we woke up early to go bird watching. I saw so many toucans and parrots, we even saw vultures. I then had to get ready and head back off in the boat to get my bus back to Quito. Along the way, we saw an anaconda, I couldn´t believe the guide spotted it!
Overall, I did enjoy the trip but I would have liked to have seen more. I had to remind myself it wasn´t a zoo!! Oh well. The guides were amazing at spotting the tiniest of creatures from a far distance. I was very impressed!
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