Even though I had previously spent some time in the Brazilian Amazon I still needed to up my confidence in preparation for the immense challenge I had set myself, so in late May 2013 with my trusty credit card to hand I booked an eight-day trip to an Eco lodge in deepest darkest Peru with Amazonia Expeditions, as they have a Jungle survival programme as well as other more Eco tourist activities.
Whilst waiting for my connecting flight to Iquitos at Lima airport I met up with Gadiel Sanchez ( Cho – from Walking the Amazon ) It was great to meet Cho again and reassuring to see a familiar face after such a long journey, typical of him and his generous character to take time off work to meet up, he was also happy to receive a new pair or Altberg Jungle boots and Petzl head torch I had got him for his forthcoming Lake Titicaca expedition in Bolivia with Belgian explorer Louis-Philippe-Loncke
We chatted over a beer and laughed about my time on the Walking the Amazon trek when we would all sing the Robbie Williams song -” I hope I’m old before I die” A very suitable song for that time I’d say!
So on then via LAN Peru airlines to Iquitos.
Iquitos was built during the early 20th century rubber boom, the biggest city in the world without access by road, and the only way to get there is by river, airplane or of course for the crazy few – walking!
It’s an amazing place, the city center is always lively, friendly and buzzing with mototaxis, restaurants, jungle tour operators, bars, music, tourists and locals.
By pure coincidence on the first day, I bumped into Raul, a Mototaxi driver ( one of thousands in Iquitos ) whom I knew from my first trip there 5 years earlier.
He insisted to be my dedicated free taxi driver for the rest of the day/evening, but I paid of course, he has a young family to keep and they all live in one room.
So instead of resting after 40 plus hours of travel, I ended up drinking beer, watching a Peru national football match with the locals, then onto an open air local disco.
After about 2 hours sleep I was on my way to the Lodge, via a small motorboat up the Rio Amazonas then further up a river called the -Tahuayo on to the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo reserve.
I was happy to depart the bright lights and noise of the humid jungle city for a week. …….. Iquitos Peru Map
Read all about Iquitos here
Amazonia expeditions is owned and run by Paul Beaver. The Tahuayo lodge and all the staff are excellent, I can highly recommend it to anyone wanting to experience the real natural rainforest. They also have biologists and scientists working at the lodge.
Weninger Flores was the excellent guide allocated to my time there, he was born in a village on the Tahuayo river, very knowledgable and at home in the forest, he now lives in Iquitos but prefers living in the jungle he grew up in.
Weiniger and another guide from a nearby village and myself spent about 4 days in the jungle reserve, activities included making a shelter from natural resources, trekking, identifying different useful plants and trees, identifying animals, insects and reptiles, making a raft from Balsa wood deadfall, hunting jungle chickens at night, finding water & food resources and sleeping on the jungle floor.
The first morning i awoke with a Bullet Ant crawling over me, apparently the guide said I had slept right next to a Bullet Ants nest, also the Mosquitos had plenty to eat that night courtesy of me.
I would liked to have spent more time at the lodge but I had work and financial commitments back home in the UK.
Many thanks again to all the staff and guides at the amazing Lodge.
How to get to the Amazon in 140 seconds
A friendly Woolly Monkey near the Lodge