Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Are We There Yet?: Rainforest

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By the time we got back to Cusco from Machu Picchu it was late evening and we were pretty darn exhausted.  We had booked a 3 day/2 night rainforest excursion that started the next day, and by the time we got back I was already dreading the 5am wake up call the next morning.  If I could do it over again, I would budget at least a day of rest after completing the Inca Trail hike.

We had actually booked the rainforest excursion after arriving in Peru and ended up going with the same tour company, SAS Travel.  After completing this tour, I would actually recommend looking into other tour group options.  SAS Travel specializes in the Inca Trail excursion, and they do it really well.  However, the rainforest tour we had felt a bit more disorganized, and the guide and crew weren't as experienced and knowledgeable relative to what we had on the Inca Trail.

Getting from Cusco to Manu National Park is a loooooong drive, over 8 hours each way.  We took a couple stops along the way to explore a couple cultural sites, as well as a couple towns/markets.  As much as I wanted to sleep, much of the drive is quite rocky and bumpy, so it was particularly hard to snooze.



view on the way to rainforest

We arrived at Manu National Park in the early afternoon, and spent some of the remaining daylight hours exploring the area.  We did a brief hike and the guide provided us with binoculars for bird watching and monkey spotting.  Afterwards, we headed to the cabin for dinner and went to bed early after the long day.

The next day, after breakfast we spent a bit more time exploring the area around our cabin.  There was actually a garden where you could see all of the different types of crops that are grown in Peru.  It's pretty amazing, since basically anything you can think of can be grown in Peru to the number of climates throughout the various regions.

monkey spotting

cotton
huge jungle avocados


Afterwards we drove to a nearby dock and took a boat further down the Amazon river.  Traveling by boat is actually the most efficient way to travel through the rainforest area.  We stopped at our next lodge which was right off of the river.  Because of the proximity to the water, there were a ton of different insects flying and crawling through the area.  This was definitely one of the most sleepless nights I've had in my life, as I constantly woke up terrified of bugs crawling all over me.

After dinner, we actually went on a night hike through the area which was really cool.  We thought that we had seen a lot during the day, but at night the rainforest really gets cracking.  We even stalked a crocodile swimming through the water hunting its prey.

boat trip down the amazon river



eating termites

bird with a mohawk


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