Have you ever seen an anaconda one meter in front of you or monkeys jumping in the trees? I am not speaking about the zoo. I mean in nature. I have. Last week, I had the chance to see real Amazonian wildlife in the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest.
A long but rewarding journey
Late at night I took a bus from Quito to Lago Agrio, a city near the Amazon Rainforest. Sleepy, but excited, I arrived 8 hours later on the shores of the Cuyabeno River. A local guide was waiting for us. Along with 11 other people, the guide took us on a motorized canoe to the lodge deep in the jungle.
This is where my adventure started.
On the way to the lodge I saw anacondas, monkeys, parrots, dolphins and different kinds of birds. Being so close to these animals that you have only seen on TV or at the zoo was really unbelievable. After a 2-hour journey we arrived at the beautiful ecological lodge. There, I had time to rest a bit in my charming bungalow before we entered the boat again to swim in the “Big Lagoon” in the Amazon. A bit skeptical, I asked the guide about dangerous animals in the lagoon, but he assured me that caimans are only active at night.
Swimming in the lagoon, with the most amazing sunset in front of me, was just an incredible feeling. Afterwards, we went back to the lodge, had dinner and started the night tour to observe the nocturnal caimans. The sky was full of stars and we felt like we were in a movie. Exhausted from the long journey the previous night, and the impressions of the day, I went to bed tired but happy.
Piraña’s are no joke!
The next day started with a delicious breakfast and a walk deep into the jungle. The guide explained more about local plants and their medicinal uses. I drank healing milk from a tree and ate leaves with lemon flavor. Afterwards, we drove to a lonely local spot to fish for Piranhas. After a few minutes, we already had luck and caught a big Piranha. As a proof of their sharp teeth, our guide put a leaf in its mouth. A few seconds later, the Piranha had already snapped it.
What an impressive and exciting day! Back at the lodge we got fantastic food and had time to relax. The night-walk after dinner was the best part of my day. Huge spiders and snakes crossed our path. An hour later, we arrived at the lodge where the day ended in the hammock, with a view of the Amazon.
There are worse ways to wake up
On the second day I was awoken by the screams of monkeys near the lodge. I had never heard these sounds before, and I was kind of scared for the first few minutes. After tasting homemade crepes in the lodge, I got ready for our next adventure: a visit to a local community.
A two-hour boat ride brought us to the community. A dressed up man and a native family were there waiting for us. We picked some Yucca, a root that grows in the jungle, to make bread out of it. That was really interesting, because nothing else was needed. After our delicious bread, the dressed up man told us more about healing methods in the jungle. We also learned some about living in the jungle, the local traditions and their beliefs.
In the evening, thanks to our nice guide, we once again had the possibility to spot caimans.
Just hearing the noises of the jungle at night made me grateful to experience that at this moment. On the last day, I woke up early to go on a bird-watching tour. At dawn, we took a boat and made our way through the Amazon. We saw many different sized and colored birds.
Time to leave the amazon and return back to civilization
Back at the lodge, we enjoyed a great breakfast and had to say goodbye to the staff and the jungle. The two-hour rode back to the shore of the Cuyabeno River made me feel sentimental and reminded me of the 3 unforgettable days.
Being separated from civilization, without internet, and the total trust in our guide during these days was a unique experience. I hope to return sometime, to be surrounded by this magical place once again.
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