After our adventure on the Inca trail and at Machu Picchu, we flew to Puerto Maldonado for the last leg of our tour. I think we were all looking forward to a change of scenery and for some warm weather.
We arrived at Puerto Maldonado around noon and we met our two local guides and conservationists, Elvis and Ronald. After a brief stop at the G Adventures office, we were on our way to the river where our boat was waiting for us. And then it was time for our rain forest expedition to begin.
The boat ride to the Tambopata Lodge was a slow one mainly because Edwin and Ronald were trying to spot some wildlife. A pair of macaws were the first ones we saw and eventually we found a turtle, a few white cayman, and various types of other birds.
After a couple hours on the boat, we finally arrived at the lodge. G Adventures built this Eco-friendly resort and it's big enough to accommodate a few groups at a time. There was electricity available but it was only in the main lodge and we were allowed to charge our electronics between 5 to 10 pm. The rest of the time, especially on our rooms, we were mostly relying on our head lamps and the super romantics candle light. In the main building by the bar and cafeteria is a local resident named Homer. One of the other guides informed us that Homer was rescued from the illegal trade. He now spends his days hanging out at the lodge and occasionally laughing at his visitors.
Our main agenda for that evening was the night walk. After picking up our rain boots and getting a little bit if rest, it was time for our walk through the jungle. We saw a few more animals including a bullet ant (apparently you don't want to get bit by one of these), a green snake, a few tree frogs, a praying mantis and a lot of different spiders.
Considering it was the rain forest, we were warned by our guides that they cannot guarantee any animals on the trail but we were extremely lucky seeing all these animals on the trail so close to our lodge.
The next day, we had another scheduled walk to a different part of the rain forest and a visit to one of the lakes. Considering we were a huge group, we had to split into two different groups. Unfortunately for our group, we didn't see any monkeys that the other group saw. Despite the lack of monkeys, Ronald was giving us an interesting lesson about the trees commonly found in the area. Unfortunately for me I can't remember what the names are but one trees' leaves were used as a natural mosquito repellent by the locals, another one had leaves that turn red when mashed and mixed with water (Steph volunteered to be drawn on), and perhaps the most interesting tree was the strangler tree where it would latch on to a bigger tree and slowly kill the host tree (when you don't have monkeys to brag about, you have to make do with the trees).
Besides the vegetation, we also saw a tarantula and a millipede (which a few us held and its legs just tickled when it walked).
We eventually met up with the other group by the lake and we boarded a wooden boat and made our way to the other side of the lake where we had a much shorter walk. While on the boat making our way across the lake we were escorted by a multitude of butterflies of different colours.
During the second part of our walk, there was a giant straggler tree, usually hollow on the inside, and a few people went in to take a group photo.
Not too far away was another gigantic tree that is very significant to the locals. Elvis told us that if you want to make a wish for love, health and happiness, you should walk around the tree clockwise, one for each wish. They told us we can do a "combo" walk so we just walked around the tree once and then took a group photo after.
With that, our morning jungle tour was over and so started our boat ride and walk back to the main river. I think it is safe to say we all worked up an appetite by the time we arrived back at the lodge.
We had no scheduled activities for the afternoon but there were a few optional activities. Some of our group went to a local farmer's house for a visit, there was also the option of going to a swimming hole and of course, napping was also an optional activity. Julian and I chose napping. After our nap, we made our way back to the main building and that's where we met Homer.
Later on that evening, we had a boat ride with the goal of finding black caymans. Unfortunately for us, we didn't spot any black caymans but we did find a few white caymans. They're not as big as I thought they would be and it's pretty crazy how Elvis could have spotted them. At the end of our night time adventure, the captain killed off his engine, Elvis turned off his spotlight and we sat in the dark for a few minutes. Since it was pitch dark, the stars shone much brighter and it made for a very serene experience.
Eventually the captain switched on his engine and we made our way back to the lodge one last time. As tired as we were, a few of us hung out at the bar for a few minutes to unwind before going to bed. Most of us couldn't believe that our time in Peru is almost over and we were flying back to Lima the next day.