Off to the Amazon


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South America » Peru » Loreto
May 22nd 2016
Published: August 9th 2016
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Today Gladys had organised wakeup calls for 4 am. We were due to depart the hotel at 500a m and had to be in the lobby and checked out by 4:45 am. Too early for breakfast when we left the hotel supplied us with a slice of cake and tea/coffee to help wake us up.



We loaded up onto a private bus and drove to airport. At this time of morning the trip only took about half an hour. Gladys checked us in as a group and we had a free hour to eat or do whatever before we were due at the gate.



Our flight ended up delayed about 40 minutes. I met another Canadian girl Ashley. Myself, Christine and Ashley are all 32 and said we will be taking plenty of photographs. So its good to have some people on tour who also like to take pictures. Ashley had already been to Machu Picchu and Cuzco so was telling us about the markets and the great alpaca stuff you can buy. I can't wait for that part of the tour also.



You had to get a bus to the plane. The aircraft was a BAE 146. Never heard of it. I'm the shittest aviation person ever. I was seated in 8 b (who doesn't love a middle seat) with 2 people from the tour on either side of me.



The girl next to me (Emily) was from Seattle a year younger then me and an engineer for Boeing. We talked a lot about previous travel and adventures for the duration of the flight. She had planned to do the tour herself and then a friend from work also came and her parents also decided to come.



On the way to Iquitos the plane stopped somewhere but I don't know where. We couldn't see anything from our seats over engine but some people got some really nice shots of the Andes. On board I tried my first Inca-Cola. Its bright yellow and kind of like creaming soda or Iron Brew.



When we landed we were met by our guide Juan Carlos and Daniel and jumped onto a private bus. Our first stop was a Manatee rescue centre. We met a guide who gave us a briefing on manatees and learnt that some locals eat them and the babies are often taken as pets and not fed correctly as they are lactose intolerant. Apparently the centre needs to get the formula from the USA and it costs about $80 US for about 3 days worth of formula.



The centre also takes in other animals that need rehabilitation. Lots of these are monkeys that were taken to be kept as pets and when they got older and rebellious the owners hand them in. Usually they have been brought up with a lot of sweets and foods that should not be in their diets and also needs to be weaned off them.



We were shown information on the pink and grey dolphins that can be found on the Amazon and were assured we would see them on our 6 day riverboat adventure. I really hope we get to see pink dolphins. In terms of dolphins they are pretty ugly but you cannot see them many places and I've always thought they were really cool living in the Amazon swimming between all the rainforest trees in high season.



Walking down to the rehabilitation section was a first taste of some rainforest plants. Some a really vibrant red and we saw several butterflies.



First the man showed us some tortoises and caught a few to introduce to us to them. One who looked like he was suffering from small man syndrome kept getting all territorial. He launched several slow motion attacks chasing the man and trying to nip him at tortoise speed.



After the tortoise we saw several cages of monkeys. Most were babies and so cute. Naughty but super cute. Apparently in the afternoon the rehabilitation centre is closed to the public and the monkeys are let out to explore and play in the trees. The guides said they know when diner is so they always come back.



When they get a little bit older then are then sent to 'monkey island'. Here they rehabilitate them further. They are not kept in cages and are free to explore however the staff provide food. Eventually the monkeys stop coming back to be fed and return to the wild.



There was also had an otter which a child had as a pet until she bit him playing one day. One strike and she was out. She was also super cute and a big show off.



Finally it was onto the manatees. First you washed your hands and then got to see some of the babies in small pens. We were also introduced to another otter who had to come out of his swim pen to his dry pen to dry off. He wasn't happy about it. He was like a little kid having a tantrum being told he had to get out of the water now and go home.



We were given some lettuce or leaves or some sort to go feed the manatees. One leaf at a time. The pen held 3 manatee. Manatee, we were told, have very poor eyesight. To feed them we were asked to splash the leaf around in the water and they would come up and take the food. They do not bite and if your fingers ended up in their mouth they would suck on it like it was a baby bottle. It was a great experience. We were allowed to give them a pat as well as we or other people were feeding them. They feel like rubber – the same sort of feeling as a dolphin but with whiskers on their face. As we were leaving a volunteer was holding a baby sloth so we got a photo of that but were unable to touch it.











It was about another hour to an hour and a half drive until we reached the place where the boat would leave. Just as we arrived we were told we would not be on the Amastia. We were all a bit bummed about that. The Amastia was getting some maintenance done. Instead we would be on the Zafiro. We were assured it was a better boat and we would love it. I was sceptical. Another person (I can't remember who) said G is considering switching the boats so were testing the Zafiro on us. Turns out the Zafiro was a definite upgrade. She was incredible. There was even a Gym and a Spa on deck. Warren said when they were planning their holiday and trying to book a river boat they looked at the Zafiro and it was a lot more expensive so we got ourselves a really good upgrade.



We were taken by the skiff to our boat. I was expecting to have to carry our packs however all we took with us was our day pack/carry on. The crew brought over our baggage. We were given our rooms and told to go explore and then lunch would be served as is was quite late. Already I am much more spoilt then I would have imagined. I guess it is a comfort trip. I don't generally opt for the comfort levels.



Lunch was buffet style. Rice, salad, bread, a chicken dish and a fish dish. I ate so much and still went back for seconds because it was too good. Then they brought out a caramel scroll for desert. Amazing. So much food. The bar had been set pretty high and if it keeps up at this level I'm going to be pretty fat pretty fast. Lucky the next half of my trip is going to be more active.



As we were late landing in Iquitos and the change of boat had us departing from a different port the afternoon plans were to cruise as far as we could for the rest of the day. Therefore we had no off the boat activities. However Juan Carlos suggested we meet on the upper deck with the lounges and spa at 5:00 pm to bird watch and take photos for an hour.



We saw a fair few birds just from the boat. I kept thinking I had seen monkeys but it was always termite or weaver bird nests. We did see several eagles and water birds and some macaws flying in the distance. I couldn't tell they were macaws – have to take Juan Carlos observation on that one.



Going down the river was so gorgeous. There was a rainbow and we got a really nice sunset.



At 6:30 we all headed into the lounge area and our waiters/staff pulled out their instruments and became our musicians and provided us with some entertainment. Bulmer had a secret opera talent and Herbert somehow could coordinate and play like 3- 4 things at once. It was insane. They played for about 30 minutes. They know so many songs. It was pretty cool. I was so tired and drifting off so I felt really bad about that. Dam you jet lag – making me a grandma. Its horrible to have such good talent right there and having to physically hold my eyelids open.



Following the performance it was time for dinner. I struggled to eat much due to overeating at lunch. Rookie mistake. Once again the food was incredible and features a chicken and fish dish with Jelly for dessert. I was so glad when dinner was over to shower and go to bed.


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