From the comfort of Cuzco, we headed our on an AreoCondor flight to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon Jungle. While being back close to sea level was a relief, the temperature had also increased considerably along with the humidity, and the number of mosquitoes - although, none of these were quite as bad as we had expected.
After leaving the airport at Puerto Maldonado we were picked up by our Jungle Lodge transfer service - a Mercedes Benz bus without windows, and wooden seats with Jungle themes painted down the sides. The bus took us into Puerto Maldonado - a bit of a slum really, with not much there, and very dirty. Apparently the main mode of transport is the motorbike, with hundreds of these packing the dirty streets. While helmets did appear to be quite common, this was only the case for the drivers, with the passengers (often another 2 or 3 people) never seen to be wearing them.
We had a quick tour of the local market in Puerto Maldonado, which showed us some of the local Jungle produce, and one of the specialties of the area, the Brazil nut - which were quite nice.
From Puerto Maldonado we caught a slim boat down the river 2 hours to eventually arrive at the Ecoamazonia Lodge - our accommodation for the next two nights.
The lodge was very well set out and very comfortable - two hammocks in every room. The rooms were very open to the outside but sealed well with flyscreens - not a single mosquito bite the whole time :).
They also had a very nice bar, which offered beer and cocktails till 10pm, when all power was turned off to the lodge - literally lights out.
During the first afternoon, we had a short trek around Monkey Island - so called due to the local inhabitants. Our guide took a ruck sack full of banana's and oranges to entice the locals down from the trees, which worked a treat. Very shortly after emptying his bag onto a bench the monkeys swarmed in for the feed - allowing us to observe them at very close proximity.
It was a pretty cool experience, although I think Laura would have preferred them to be on the other side of a fence or similar - a little too close for her comfort.
One of our group ended up with a monkey on his back - and after a few photos the monkey was finally lead off to a nearby tree - quite funny for those of us without the monkey on our backs!
Later that evening we took a small boat out onto the river in search of cayman (local alligators). We spotted only a few small ones - again something I think that made Laura happy - she was not too fond of the small boats, and didn't really enjoy the idea of looking for alligators in the dark.
The next day we had a very early start to begin a 7.5km trek through a patch of local jungle - this was made a little more difficult by the fact that we had to wear gumboots due to the mud in certain sections.
At the half way mark there was an 'observation tower' - actually a huge tree with steps built into it. Not being fond of heights, I though I would just go a little way up, but ended up at the top - with nothing to see but the tops of trees swaying in the wind!
The return trip entailed a 3km boat paddle which was pretty tough in the heat of the day. By the time we go back to the lodge we were all pretty hungry and ready for a siesta!
Last night was completed in the bar enjoying a few cocktails and beers.
Today we left the lodge and headed back to Puerto Maldonado to catch a flight back to Lima. We arrived in Lima this afternoon - completing our Peruvian Experience!
So one to the next part of our journey.