Never in our wildest dreams have we ever thought that we would visit the Amazon Jungle – let alone spend the night! On our recent travels through South America with Geckos Adventures we had the opportunity to stay on the bank of the Amazon in wooden bungalows surrounded by nature. This was a once in a lifetime experience and one we will never forget!
Encompassing 1.4 billion acres and spread across eight nations, the Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest in the world! With unique biodiversity, waterways full of life and indigenous settlements, this place needs to be on your bucket list.
How To Get There?
Our Amazon adventure started from Lima and the best way to get to the jungle is to fly. The flight is around an hour, has a layover in Cusco and flies over The Andes – which gave us spectacular views all the way there.
Once landing in Puerto Maldonado we were taken on a 30 minute bus ride to the tour office in town. There we were able to leave most of our luggage in safe storage and continue on with just a small pack with the necessary items we would need for the next two nights in the jungle. We then took a motorised canoe upriver for 2 hours to our jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios area.
Where We Stayed
Our rainforest eco lodge was amazing! It was made entirely from wood and blended in with the surrounding forest. There was no electricity, so candles are used at night (don’t forget your flashlight) and raised walkways connected the rooms to the main lodge which had a large dining area, bar and communal areas to relax, have a drink and chill out with the rest of our Geckos Squad.
The sounds of the jungle from our room was magical. Each night we would fall asleep to the humming of insects and wake up to the sounds of bird sounds. Admittedly, our first night was a little scary for the first hour or so as we all hid underneath our mosquito nets wondering what could be just outside our rooms. But aside from a frog in the shower, all the creepy crawlies from the jungle left us in peace.
The Jungle Walks
Having one of the richest ecosystems in the world, we could not go a day without going on an adventurous trek through the jungle (both at day and night). Led by an expert guide, we wandered through the rainforests lush vegetation learning about the incredible biodiversity and marvelling at the abundance of flora and fauna surrounding us.
On our jungle walks we spotted tarantula, snakes, macaws, toucans, monkeys, possums and too many insects to count!
Searching for Anaconda & Caiman
Carrying more water than any other river in the world, exploring via canoe is a wonderful way to travel right into the heart of the rainforest. Our afternoons were spent on the river, on the look out for some anaconda. We managed to spot just one for only a second before it quickly sank underneath the reeds. Never have we seen a snake so big, and it’s safe to say we will never step foot inside the Amazon River after seeing what lies beneath!
At night, it was time to find some caiman. Caimans are alligator-like animals that live in Central and South America. They are smaller than alligators and can grow to 1 to 4 meters. They live along the edges of rivers and are easier to spot after sunset because their red eyes reflect in our torch’s light.
What To Pack
Lightweight, loose clothing. It can get quite humid in the amazon and the mosquitoes are in abundance. We suggest wearing long sleeves and trousers, especially in the evenings to protect yourself from any critters looking for a feed.
A hat. You may be protected in the jungle from the sun, but once you are out on the river the sun beats down on you.
Dark coloured clothing. Walking through the jungle, covered in insect repellent and sunscreen (oh yeah, don’t forget either of those) can be quite the messy activity. We suggest bringing clothing that will hide the sweat and dirt.
Rain jacket, walking shoes or boots, and a torch will all come in handy.
Want to explore South America? Make sure you check out Geckos Adventures South America Highlights Tour
Thanks to Geckos Adventure for allowing us to be apart of your ambassador program for 2017!