There are a few places that one conjures up in their minds when they think of South America; like Macchu Pichu, the Galapagos Islands, and of course, the Amazon.
Prior to actually setting foot on the continent I didn’t even consider the fact that the Amazon river and jungle actually extend past Brazil. It actually reaches into Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela and Colombia as well as the famed Brazil, and while not every country boasts the same experience each region has its own unique charm.
The cheapest place to do a tour is Bolivia, so it was there that this budget traveler decided to tick this jungliest of jungles of the ‘ole bucket-list. In bolivia there are two options for tours from the northern town of Rurrenabaque- the Pampas tour and the Jungle tour. The Pampas is largely a boat-tour from which you float the rivers and spot myriad different hilarious and awesome animals, and the Jungle tour is a survival tour that teaches techniques and tricks for living in the jungle (eating ants, making fire, wanting to die etc etc). Guess which one I chose?
The Pampas tour was everything I wanted from a tour- minimal exercise, lots of delightful animals, and some light (read: flat) trekking. We walked for hours in search of Anaconda and failed to find any, except for the most wondrous experience of spotting a cobra in the field we were walking through and, after our trust guide chased it down and picked it up, proceeded to see it vomit out a baby Anaconda. You can’t say it was boring. Also I had a bad stomach and had the splendid choice of either pooping my pants or taking a squat in the very same field in which we had just found not one but two cobras. Yay.
We also woke up for sunrises
And fished for piranha (success!)
We played with monkeys
Nearly hyperventilated with joy at the sight of Capybara (the largest rodent in the world and also the most wise-just look at those furry faces)
Spotted squillions of alligators and cayman
and even more birds
and even some frisky turtles
In those same waters that the alligators and pihana reside are the elusive pink dolphins, which we also had the opportunity to swim with. Now, I am a complete water-baby and love to swim anywhere from wrecked ships to glacial lakes. However, on this particular occasion it wasn’t just that we had just seen an alligator and were expected to swim in the same water, it was that I happened to be experiencing that monthly joy of womanhood- my period- and was afraid that the piranhas would eat my vagina. So there’s that.
I did get some glimpses of the pink dolphins, though not enough to catch on camera or even film unfortunately. It is also possible to see toucans and sloths (ohhh, would that have been amazing) but such is a trip into wildlife in all its unpredictability. Still worth it.
Have you ever been to the Amazon? What did you see?