Day 1: Let’s go
When you go to Ecuador you usually have 3 must-do’s on your travel list:
- Climbing a mountain
Last week I could mark the rainforest as done:
Late in the evening, around 23:00h I started off with the night bus to Lago Agrio. First covered with two layers of clothes for a nice comfy sleep, it got warmer the closer we got to our destination. In Lago Agrio, we had t-shirt weather, even at 6am, when we arrived at the meeting point (a restaurant).
Still very sleepy I changed from the bus seat to a nice comfy hammock until breakfast was ready at 8am. For 3$ you get a nice tiny breakfast buffet with juice, scrambled eggs and croissants.
At 9am I got picked up with a van, which drove me to the landing of the canoes, with which I would finally reach the lodge in the middle of the jungle. At the landing I got to know other members of my group as well as the guide for the next days: Galo. We got provided with a box lunch before our journey with the canoe could finally begin.
Driving in the canoe was awesome! With 30kmh we speeded down the river. The sun came out and with the wind in my face it was pleasantly cool. On the way we stopped at a bunch of trees, because monkeys were jumping from one to the other. The first monkey I’ve ever seen in real nature!! God, they were so cute, I wish I could jump like this. It almost looks like the fly from one tree to the other.
After approx. 2 hours we reached the lodge and got our rooms. My room was a whole moscitonet in itself, which was quite nice.
Equipped with a book, cookies and water I relaxed in a hammock until our evening program started at 16.30h.
Together with the others we drove to a near lagoon, where we watched the sunset, took a nice swim and enjoyed the atmosphere.
We went back to the lodge when the sun was already down. My beloved companion for the next days will be my torch. Always available, always needed (when it was dark)!
The dinner was served and it was a really nice atmosphere with all the other travelers. We passed around the bowls with the yummy food and chatted.
After that the day was over for me: I went to bed because I wanted to be fit tomorrow and all the driving today made me tired. I couldn’t resist inspecting the room for animals before I crawled into my bed :D. (To calm you down: I never had any animals in my room, except of a cute little baby gecko, who loved it to sit directly on the “button” of my soap dispenser.)
Day 2 – Crazy plants, a caiman and a beautiful sunset
I woke up with the sounds of the jungle, grabbed a cup of tea and waited with my book until breakfast was ready. The best treat this morning: chocolate cake!!!
Well equipped with rubber boots and a huge rain coat we drove with the boat to the spot where we started our walk through the primary forest. The rubber boots were essential for survival. I imagined myself going there with my trainers – I think that would have been their last journey…
Galo showed us lots of different plants. Have you ever heart of a tree whose resin can be set on fire? Or a tree covered with ants that, if you lick it with your tongue, tastes like lemon? Apart from that we saw cute little parrots in a hole in a tree, a tapir footprint and just enjoyed the atmosphere with all the different sounds of the birds. We passed through a swamp, where we tried to walk on tree trunks without seeing them, because they were covered with mud – It was so much fun! But a shower was definitely needed after this tour :D.
After our lunch in the lodge I relaxed again in the hammock until it was time to leave again for a nice ride on the rivers. We watched parrots and the stinky turkey (Don’t ask me why he is called like that :D). The colors tonight were amazing!
We had again the opportunity to swim in the lagoon. There were two new people in our group, who asked:
“Is there nothing in the water?”
One of the guys, already in the water, answered:
“Yeeeees. Caimans, anacondas, piranhas….great white sharks…” But don’t worry they are more scared of you and are usually near the shore.
It was already dark when Galo started a journey around the lagoon to look for caimans and anacondas. And…we found one.
Galo: “That one is a really fat exemplar!” No wonder since a boat from a different lodge was feeding the caiman with chicken (First I thought he threw scones in the water. Yeah…a vegetarian caiman sure…)
It is astonishing that the canoe driver was always finding the way back to the lodge completely in the dark without needing a torch.
Day 3 – “Pan de Yucca”, the spider from Harry Potter and cute monkeys
Today was all about getting to know the resident community of the Sionas in the Cuyabeno reserve. After our nice breakfast (all already fell in love with it: fruits, cereals and fresh juice – I don’t need more in the morning :)), we started with the canoe 1,5 hours to the village – that was really deep deep jungle (after my fancy). Galo was always in search of animals with his binoculars in the trees around us and he discovered half a dozen of monkeys who were again jumping daringly from one tiny branch to the next – every stuntman would have been insanely jealous.
I couldn’t take my eyes off them – I even discovered a mommy with her baby on the back <3.
But after half an hour watching, we drove on and arrived to the community. I expected straw huts and a fire place – clearly a prejudice for this part of the reserve. We were welcomed by a nice woman, who wanted to prepare “pan de yucca” with us. We harvested the yucca, which is a bit similar to our potato plants – a dry plant with thin branches and leaves, but belowground the treat: thick white tubers protected with a brown paring. As a small snack in between we picked lychees from one of the trees (What would I give for their fruit garden they have here…). We prepared the yucca – grated it, squeezed the water out until it had the consistency of flour. She put a bit “dough” in the big (!) pan on the open fire and shortly afterwards we were all eating white, yummy, flat yucca breads with mayonnaise, tuna, tomato or marmalade. Shortly after two of our group made a “chili bet” with Galo: If they eat a big piece of chili, they will get a beer from him. They did it and had fun the next few hours with a running nose, a burning mouth and tears in their eyes :D.
Apart from preparing a nice snack for us, Galo painted our faces with typical patterns. The paint was from tiny berries inside a round fruit – incredible!
After this informative and fun day we headed back to the lodge and had an afternoon break, before the real adventure in the evening starts: the night walk. I am not a real friend of spiders, scorpions and other crawling creatures, but to have seen the spider from Harry Potter in reality is something, not many people can say about themselves. But the best part is just to close your eyes, turn off the light of your torch and just listen to the sounds of the jungle. Or if you have your eyes open admire the moon and the starry sky through the high trees – no reflection of city lights, no smog – just pure nature – a perfect ending of my jungle adventure.
Day 4 – Bye bye jungle!
Day 4 already dawned, which meant to say goodbye to the jungle. I packed my stuff, climbed one last time in the canoe and just enjoyed the atmosphere. Also the monkey said goodbye to us on the way back to the civilization.
Thanks to the Jamu Lodge for such a wonderful experience.