Amok in the Amazon – A mini guide to the mighty Amazon

After a wonderful day in Lima, I flew to Iquitos to start my Amazon adventure. First stop was the Manatee Rescue Center, where biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees that have suffered injuries. It was at once a heartbreaking and heartwarming experience. I wanted to cry when I saw the injured animals there, but my heart grew full when I saw how nurturing the volunteers were with these majestic creatures. I even got to feed a few!DSC02456

Next, I was off on a super high-speed boat ride to my home for the next four days – the Ceiba Tops Lodge.  The place is hidden in the jungle, and is absolutely breathtaking. There are trees, plants, birds, and animals everywhere! The rooms are simply equipped, but large and clean. It’s amazing to wake up in the morning and open your door right into the jungle. You never know what kind of animals you’ll find waiting for you. For instance, I met Cynthia the tapir the first day I was there. Ain’t she a looker?
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Generally speaking, my schedule was pretty consistent: Breakfast, boat ride, morning hike or excursion, lunch, afternoon hike or excursion, boat ride, happy hour, dinner, evening hike or show. My days were pretty packed, but it made for some good sleeping! The Ceiba Tops Lodge has tons of different hiking paths, however, I wasn’t able to enjoy but one or two because I’d always come back filthy, exhausted, and hungry. I chatted with some folks who had been there for a week already, and they raved about the trails and all the amazing wildlife near the lodge.

Now, I don’t w20160622_174248ant to sound like a whiner, but I’m going to whine just a little. Mosquitos are EVIL here. I got bitten three times walking to my room on the first day. Those buggers even got me through my clothes. Oh, it was on now! I sprayed myself stupid with tons of natural repellent. I even wore citronella wrist bands – absolute shit. One smart ass mosquito even bit me right next to the wrist band. Really? The kicker was when a litter turd bit me twice on my eyelid while I was reading. I actually cackled when I smooshed that one. I’d learned my lesson though and started putting insect repellent in my face moisturizer. And I’m happy to report that oil of lemon eucalyptus actually works!

On my second day in the Amazon, we visited a Yagua Village. It was absolutely fascinating. The Yagua people are a fairly shy, and I felt a little weird poking around their village like it was a zoo or museum exhibit. However, after fifteen minutes or so, I was comfortable enough to join them in a dance. After some cardiac event inducing dancing (my partner was a sweet but energetic young fella), I was in for a real treat. I got to try a full-sized, hunting blowgun. I was a dead shot!DSC00528

Since I had a little bit of free time, I decided to do some shopping. The Yagua have incredible craft-making skills, and their carvings and jewelry were beautiful and intricate. I wound up getting a mini blowgun with a piranha jaw attached. Not sure when I’ll ever use it, but better safe than sorry.

One of my favorite experiences was going on the Canopy Walkway. It was a very long and narrow walkway, but there was netting on both sides of the planks, so I wasn’t too wigged out. Talk about a view! It’s stunning being up where the birds like to hang out. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to the canopy until later in the morning, so the birds and animals were not very active. However, there was a gentle breeze to keep me cool, and the vibe was so peaceful, I could have meditated up there.DSC02957

Of course I meditate the best when I’m medicated. Now what’s a trip without a little bit of moonshine? Turns out there are tons of moonshine distilleries in the Amazon. I got to visit a tiny distillery out in the middle of nowhere run by a lovely family. They grow sugar cane on their property, and still use old school machinery. I had to try my hand at making some hooch. The owner was kind enough to let me help out. However, the job I really wanted was taste tester. Lucky for me, the owner happily let me take the lead on that job. I’m such a self-starter! Let’s just say it’s a good thing I wasn’t driving. A little moonshine goes a very long way in the hot Amazon.DSC00598

Look who was waiting for me back at one of the lodges. It’s Charlie the capybara. He made the cutest squeaks. I tried to give him a kiss a few times, but he wasn’t having any.DSC02830

On my last day at Ceiba Tops Lodge, I got to play with monkeys on Monkey Island! It’s a private reserve for all sorts of primates. The inhabitants roam free on the island, and one spider monkey even escorted me from the boat to the main house. The only primates held in cages were ones that were still in transition or injured. I completely lost my mind. I wanted to hold them and squeeze them and call them George. I think my favorite furry friend was this super cute sloth named Margarita. I got to hold her for a bit. She’s got an incredible grip and hung on to me when her caretaker tried to pry her out of my arms. I miss my Margarita!DSC03257

So far, my Amazon trip has been unbelievable. I’ll be talking about the cruise part of my journey next!

Su

If laughter is the best medicine, you definitely need an extra dose of me.

15 thoughts on “Amok in the Amazon – A mini guide to the mighty Amazon

  • August 5, 2016 at 8:33 am
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    OMG, you didn’t tell me you held a sloth! If a manatee is Nancy’s spirit animal (which you also hung with) then a sloth is mine, naturally. What a great post, almost makes me want to go to the Amazon but the bugs will keep me away. Sounds like the mosquitos like Asian food and there’s more of me to eat!

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    • August 5, 2016 at 10:42 am
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      I totes thought about you when I saw the sloth, LOL!

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  • August 5, 2016 at 8:52 am
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    That sloth is so cute, and looks like such a good hugger!

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    • August 5, 2016 at 10:43 am
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      She was so sweet and snugly. I wanted to take her home!

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  • August 5, 2016 at 10:08 am
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    What an awesome trip ! And Omg Margarita and you made the prettiest pic I’ve seen in a long time.

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  • August 5, 2016 at 10:34 am
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    I have to say that looks like one of the coolest trips EVER! Sorry about that damn mosquito. That looked so big it could’ve been a snake bite!
    Was hubby taking all the pictures? Is that why we don’t see any of him? He must be shy…(I do hear that opposites attract). LOL!
    Can you show us a picture of your blow gun? I’d love to see what yours looks like.

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    • August 5, 2016 at 10:44 am
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      Yup! Hubs was taking the pictures. My blowgun is child-sized, LOL!

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  • August 5, 2016 at 12:03 pm
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    OMG, the sweet face on that little sloth is adorable!!!!!! How did you get to do all that….was it a package trip plan???? Amazing!!!!

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    • August 6, 2016 at 11:52 am
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      We basically asked our guide about all the different things we could do, and he set everything up for us. Each day is a little different. I really didn’t care about shopping, so we didn’t do any shopping stops. My focus was on Amazonian flora and fauna. It was amazing!

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  • August 12, 2016 at 10:51 am
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    When I was reading about the Amazon boat trip I thought to myself that the only thing missing was manatees, and then BAM! You didn’t just see them you were able to feed them. They really are my spirit animal and I will give you an example when I see you next week.
    I loved the sloth and the cool animals you saw. I want to bring the capybara home, he is just the right amount of goofy looking to fit right in.
    Tell me about your sweet outfits. Did you bring them or get them when you were there?

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  • August 12, 2016 at 2:24 pm
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    Who knew capybara had taste LOL Margarita looks so sweet and happy!

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    • August 12, 2016 at 2:24 pm
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      oh and I’ll be watching out for that blow pipe next time I see you!

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  • August 12, 2016 at 3:21 pm
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    Sloth smile — LOVE! That suspension bridge looked like it was only one person wide. What happens if you encounter someone going the other way?

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  • August 13, 2016 at 6:25 am
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    Oh that sloth is too adorable!!! I love this pics. And btw, is that a very long straw that you’re sipping the moonshine with??

    Reply

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