Bogota, leticia, Iquitos, Amazon Basin
01.01.2013 - 09.01.2013 30 °C
Hung over and tired we had an early start on New Year's Day to catch a flight back to Bogota to carry on our trip in South America....
Bogota was like a ghost town and not much was open. We stayed at a lovely little place near parque 93and spent a lot of time catching up on admin and downloading photos. That afternoon we decided to start 2013 on a good note and go for a run but we forgot that we were 3000mts above sea level so feeling the effects of the altitude it turned into a walk.
We found a crepes and waffles that we love for dinner and had an early night.
The next day we went up the cable car to the museratte cathedral which had lovely panoramic views of the city. we walked around parts of the city we hadn't seen yet and had Another crepes and waffles for dinner, ha ha!
We had a good hotel breakfast and headed back to Bogota airport to fly to Leticia. Leticia is Colombia's southernmost town and one of the major ports on the Amazon river. It is located at the point where Colombia, Brazil and Peru come together in an area called Tres Fronteras. It is 860 Kms to the nearest road, it can only be reached by boat or airplane.
The flight there was awesome, it was a small plane and a very cool view over the dense amazon forest.
After getting a colombia exit stamp, We got a taxi from leticia airport to our very average hostel. We dropped the bags off then the taxi driver took us over the boarder to brazil to buy tickets for the boat to Peru the next morning. We were so lucky, we got the last 2 tickets for that day ( some people we met waited 5 days to get a boat out). Then we took a boat over to the Peru side to get our passports stamped. We went to 3 countries in one day, don't think we'll ever get a chance to do that again!
The town of leticia is not great and it poured with rain so we grabbed a quick road side dinner, bought food for the next day and had an early night.
At 2am the next morning our taxi driver picked us up and dropped us off at the port so we could catch a 12hr speed boat to Iquitos. the 60 seater boat had a Volvo jet propelled engine. traveling along the amazon in the pitch black dark....it was rather nerve racking as we hit quite a few logs along the way. each time we hit a log the noise got louder and louder and we wandered how 60 people would get out of this boat before it sank if there was a problem. Luckily at about 4 pm we arrived safely in Iquitos and I wasn't about to complain because the people 3 seats in front of us had a leak above them and the rain dripped onto them for 12 hrs! After paying $80 I wouldn't have been happy.
When we arrived in Iquitos it was still raining ( had been the whole day) and when we got to the hostel we discovered that our backpacks clearly weren't under cover the whole boat trip, every thing was SOAKED and was not going to dry any time soon. So, not in the best of moods I went out searching for a laundry who would save our clothes from stinking like damp. When we found some where to tumble dry them, I cheered up.
We then went to the office of the lodge we were going to the next day, paid and hired gum boots and then met up with a English/ Irish couple we had met on the boat for a lovely dinner on the melecon.
Iquitos can be reached only by airplane or boat, with the exception of a road to Nauta, a small town roughly 100 km south. It is the largest city in the world which cannot be reached by road. There are half a million people living there and 80 000 tuck tucks that are shipped in. It also has a massive drug trade and we had been there 5 mins when we got offered coke.
Dinner. Camu camu juice and Mano salsa
The Amazon Basin is the part of South America drained by the Amazon River and its tributaries that drains an area of about 6,915,000 km2 or roughly 40 percent of South America. The basin is located in the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela.
Most of the basin is covered by the Amazon rainforest, also known as Amazonia. With a 8,235,430 km2 area of dense tropical forest, it is
the largest rainforest in the world.
After lots of research we decided to pay a little more and booked a 4 night stay at Muyuna Lodge which is located 140 kilometers from Iquitos, up the Amazon River. It is a small lodge that holds about 20 people and there are no other lodges around it so its lovely and secluded.
The next morning at the muyuna offices we were introduced to our guide, Jorge and 2 lovely couples of a similar age to us from the US who we spent the next few days with. The muyuna speed boat then took 3hrs up the river to the lodge.
Muyuna was awesome. Our room was basic but very comfortable and luckily covered in mossie netting and so was the dining area.There is no electricity in the lodge so at night they lit candles in the rooms and the dining area had solar lights. We had cold showers for 5 days but it was so hot that it didn't matter.
Every day, we had a wake up call at 6am to be ready for the first excursion at 6.30am, then breakfast, then another excursion, then lunch, then another excursion, then dinner then another excursion... So we were kept very busy and slept so well at night.
The excursions varied, these were some of them : piranha fishing, jungle walking at night and in the day, trips on the boat, canoeing, swimming in the river and looking for pink dolphins.
Every time we went out we spotted something new, we saw all sorts of amazing wildlife including.... snakes, all types of monkeys, pink dolphins, sloths and many species of birds.i have listed a few of the amazing things we saw below....
My favorite were the pink dolphins, they are indigenous to the amazon and so much bigger than grey dolphins. they are so difficult to get pictures of so we will have to get one off the Internet. Our guide was so knowledgable and brilliant at spotting wildlife for us. It was quite similar to being in the bush back home!
Personally I enjoyed The boat excursions a lot more than the walks solely because of the MOSQUITOS. I have never experienced Mosquitos like that, we covered ourselves in 10O% deet constantly and wore protective clothing from head to toe and still they murdered me, even through my jeans.The deet Is so strong that it ate through my nail polish and even ate into Byron's watch strap, I don't think it's very good for you. It was so incredibly hot in the jungle, so wearing thick clothes and sun cream and deet made t rather hard not to pour with sweat, but it was all part of the experience! On the last day one of our American friends lent me her head net, it was a brilliant and I really regretted not buying one on the first day.
We had an incredible time in the jungle, it was a once in a life time experience!
Tourists in the jungle
Breakfast on boat and swimming with piranha
Amazing sun set
Hiding from mossies and rain
Sloth scull necklace
Deet ate through my nail polish
After 4 nights at the lodge we returned to Iquitos for the night. We spent the afternoon doing laundry, catching up on Internet time and sitting at our favorite cafe drinking camu camu juice along the river.
The next day we flew to lima. It was not a Good start to the day . While we were packing our things we discovered both Our cameras were broken, we had lost a credit card (think it was stolen from lodge), our other bank cards were blocked cards due to suspected fraud and we had no cash and Byron's clippers broke ( now he has an excuse to grow his beard).
Some of our Sightings in amazon...
Coral poisonous snake
caimans ( small crocs)
grey dolphins and pink dolphins
lots of different beautiful birds ( trougan, prehistoric shansho, black hawk, brown hawk, pied king fisher, macaw parrorts, amazon kingshisher, horned screamer, red crested wood pecker, woody creaper, fly catcher, yellow swallows, yellow headed vulture, toucan, fishing bat, owls)