After flying from Bogota to Lima for an overnight stop (surprisingly interesting place Lima, we would have liked to spend longer there) we then caught a flight to Puerto Maldonando. On landing there we were met at the airport and transfered by bus and then boat to our lodge on the edge of the river. I have to admit this wasn´t exactly a mud hut deal, our cabana was nicer than most of the hotel rooms we have stayed in recently. The main inconvenience was that the power was only on for periods of 4-6 hours during the day and off all night. Not exactly roughing it though!
On the first day we were taken out for an orientation walk around the immediate area. The property had previously been a rubber plantation and a hospital but was now owned by Inkaterra who finance their preservation work, in part, by eco- tourism. Having got our bearings we were then fed and had a couple of hours before the night walk. This was mainly memorable for our guide coaxing a tarantula out of it’s home with a stick!
The next morning we set out on a short 3km walk to Sandoval Lake. Unfortunately after the first 100m the path turned into a mud bath. The effort involved in physically extracting your feet after each step was only equalled by the concentration required to try and navigate the best route through. The lake was worth the work, the tranquility was overwhelming as we were rowed around by the guide and the wildlife around us was amazing. We returned to the lodge muddy and soaked through!
We spent the next couple of days in various locations around the lodge, we walked on the rainforest canopy rope bridges, ate exotic fruit and veg in a local farm, discovered various herbal remedies in the botanic garden and rowed around the small lagoon spotting turtles and “stinky birds”.
Ann managed to accumulate a record 34 mosquito bites in one day, despite being covered from head to toe and wearing a can of mosquito repellent! Amongst other animals we saw many bats, butterflies, caiman and monkeys. We watched the howler monkeys in the treetops as we had tea one day, a family came together and then after a short while swung off through the branches.
The Amazon was everything we hoped it would be, it is breathtakingly beautiful but with the edge of danger ever present.