Monday, September 29, 2014

2014 - Peru Day 8 (Amazon Day 1)

Today we begin our 7-day amazon trip. We signed up through Pantiacolla which will take us to the Manu biosphere.  We would spend day 1 on a bus to get to lodge #1 (San Pedro) for 1 night, bus/boat to get to lodge #2 (Yine) for 1 night, boat to get to lodge #3 (Salvador) for 2 nights, boat to get to lodge #4 (Blanquillo) for 2 nights, and our final day will be boat/taxi/boat/bus back to Cusco. Initial cost was $1,390 USD, but I got it down to $1,290 USD for the week which includes 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 snacks, and 6 dinners, all transportation and accommodations and a private guide.

Map of Manu
We had to get up for the bus at 5:30am which at this point is a piece of cake.  We met up with the group and it was us (Allison, Sharon, and myself), a couple from Germany, a couple from Holland and 2 guys from Israel, so 9 in total.  Everyone was in their late 20s, early 30s except the Holland couple who looked like they were in their 40s, so, a good mix age-wise (I was worried we'd be the only young group).

One of many waterfalls we saw on the way down to the Amazon
We stopped at a restaurant at Paucartambo for breakfast. Typical bread with scrambled eggs and a hot drink. While there we also visited the local museum which is a joint venture between Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Chile to promote Incan history.  We spent about an hour here, the tour guide that was with us brought us to all the rooms here (there are 4) and told us about the history and purpose behind each room.

View of the Amazon from a lookout point
We arrived in the rainforest around noon, the place is pretty neat to see. From above you just see tons of trees but when you actually go in you will notice a variety of different types of flora and tons of birds. Many of which are tiny. Just seeing all the different species intermingle is pretty fascinating. By the time we get there, there is a mix of sightseeing by bus and hiking along the road and looking at local flora and birds (didn't see any animals here) although a majority of the day is spent getting there by bus.

Lunch was a packed lunch consisting of a piece of chicken, boiled potato, a cheese sandwich, chocolate, cookies and some candies. Pop was included as well.

Lunch!
We arrived at the lodge just before dark and it is what I expected. Wooden lodges with netting everywhere and mosquito nets.

Beds of San Pedro lodge
Dinner was mashed potato with vegetables and fried trout. We also had another bananas flambéed.

Soup

Garlic bread

Trout with mashed potatoes and vegetables
Tomorrow we enter the amazon basin by bus and start heading down by boat which is also the last day we are with Sharon.