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For those who travel to Peru with Howlanders we always recommend an essential experience: The jungle of Iquitos. It is a unique place surrounded by wilderness and virgin nature, where along the native community that inhabits it you will discover each of its corners and learn a new way of life away from the big cities. To learn more about this fantastic adventure, one of our companions, Javier, will tell us first hand how was his three-day experience in the peruvian jungle.
-I already knew about the peruvian jungle experience, but my companions Daniel and Paco had never been to the Amazon, so I was convinced that they would love the tour.
We woke up early and took the Latam Airlines flight between Cuzco and Iquitos. We landed at 10:30 and Manuel and his partner, with the lodge polo shirt and the car, were waiting in the airport parking lot.
We loaded everything in the car and in a few minutes we were already on our way to the port of Nauta, the heat and humidity of the peruvian jungle being already noticeable, especially compared to Cuzco. After arriving at the port, since it was time to eat, we stopped at a restaurant; the menu was something we had never tried before, fried lizard. As soon as we finished, we took the boat to go to the lodge. We sailed more than an hour, passing by the confluence of the Ucayali and Marañón Rivers, where the Amazon River is born. Sailing in the immensity of the river was an experience that made me feel free, that’s why I enjoyed the boat trip a lot all the way to the lodge.
When we arrived, we left our things in a triple room with bathroom and went for a while to the dining area. Manuel introduced us to the person who was going to be our guide during the whole tour and coincidentally his name was also Manuel. We talked to him as he explained everything we could do so we decided on the plan for the three days of the tour. He told us that we could change it whenever we wanted, so it was perfect.
After about half an hour, we were already taking the smallest boat, with which we would move during the 3 days. The boatman was the son of our guide, both were residents of the community where the lodge is located.
We went out and little by little we got into narrower rivers, noticing how jungle became more and more closed. At that moment we headed for a route to see birds, plants and pink dolphins. It was an incredible moment to sail on the same waters as dolphins, they were several meters away from us and they only let themselves be seen for a few seconds when they come out of the water. As the day was ending we saw the sunset with its reddish colors, orange and a very warm sensation in the middle of the peruvian jungle.
We returned to the lodge, took a shower, put on some mosquito repellent and went to the dining room for dinner. It sincerely surpassed what I expected, fruit juice, water and a very good combination of dishes.
That night we decided to stay at the lodge. We went up to the hammock area and chatted with May, one of the guides I had already met during my first visit more than 5 years ago. We spent more than an hour there until we decided to go to sleep.
When we got to the room we got a better look at the place where we were going to sleep: a triple room, one bed per person and all the windows with mosquito nets. Truth be told, it gave a very comforting sensation when you realize that there is not a single mosquito in the room, comfortable beds, sounds of the jungle, heat and sleep, a lot of sleep.
The second day started, we woke up around 8 o’clock, and as we had planned we went to do a 4 hours route by boat, getting off in some areas, but overall we sailed. In one area, some monkeys approached the boat and the most curious ones even got on it while eating some fruits, which our guide had given to Daniel. No wonder they ate them, it was a fruit they had never tasted, which was very good, similar to a cherry, yellow and a bit sour and sweet at the same time.
After spending some time watching the monkeys, we continued and began to see iguanas in trees, all kinds of birds, giant termite mounds, frogs and all kinds of plants. There are a lot of animals in the Amazon jungle, if you want to know the most popular I advise you to read this article with the 5 most spectacular animals that you will find when coming to the peruvian jungle.
We returned to eat at the lodge and then laid down for awhile in the hammocks. In the afternoon we went out for piranha fishing, surprisingly my friend Paco was the one who got the most fishes, the luck of the beginner I suppose. We continued and went to see the giant water lily or Victoria Amazónica, it was an incredible plant. The landscape changes completely when the fauna is enveloped by it. I began to realize that the peruvian jungle is not a unique landscape, each zone is different from the other, and in a few minutes the landscape can change radically.
We had dinner and went out for the funnest excursion of all, alligators night sighting. It is incredible how the guide can distinguish the brightness of the lantern from the eyes of the caiman, we approached an area with more plants near one of the shores, and from the front of the boat Manuel showed his arms and we saw that he picked up a caiman of approximately 40 centimeters. It was small but gave the sensation of respect, we were observing it for a few seconds before Manuel left it again in the place where he had taken it.
We went back to the lodge, on the way, while we were sailing, two fish jumped onto the boat almost at the same time, with the darkness we had not seen them, we could only hear them, Manuel immediately picked them up, showed them to us and returned them to the river. The Amazon is full of life and does not rest, the activity is noticeable at night, the sounds of the peruvian jungle transmit a sensation difficult to describe.
The last morning at the lodge, we woke up early and went to see the sunrise, which began to clear on the horizon. Little by little the sun began to appear, the moment the engine of the boat stopped, it was total silence. I enjoyed 20 minutes of which I could say has been the most quiet time during the 3 day. I only realized in that moment that I had already gotten used to the sounds of life in the peruvian jungle. We went back to the lodge and had breakfast, I think it was the best breakfast of all, a camu camu juice, tortilla, breads, coffee …
We went out for the longest walk of the trip, we spent two hours walking through the jungle. In some areas the ground was firmer while in others it was getting wet, it was a bit slippery but with the rubber boots we had we could walk quite easily. We also drank some lianas that when cut release water while making noise, a sound similar to an effervescent pill. We saw different frogs, some spiders and even some lizards. We passed through an area with nocturnal monkeys and we even saw sloths. Truth is, I am still surprised by the ease with which the guide Manuel and his son Alexis could find the animals in the peruvian jungle, you realize that for them the jungle is like their schoolyard, where they have played and lived. At that moment I realized that we are very similar but our environment has made us different.
We went back to the lodge, had lunch and went for a walk around the community. They were celebrating a sports event organized by the lodge. You have to know that Libertad is not just a lodge, it is also a project that helps the whole community. When I visited the lodge for the first time, I was told that they had created it amongst about thirteen families. They have not been left alone with the lodge, they have also bought a mill to peel the rice. The benefits of both businesses are shared between the entire community that works there, as well as those who worked there before, such as the elders of the community. I am very excited to think about all that they have achieved and collaborate with them as Howlanders where we can also do our bit to improve the quality of life in the community.
We said goodbye to everyone, left them our Howlanders flag and on the way to Nauta I asked my colleagues what they thought. Daniel replied with a very serious face: “it has been the best tour of my life, by far”. We began to talk, share some of the photos we took and take others to remember until the last moment.
We arrived in Nauta, got out of the boat, said goodbye and got into the car that Manuel bought to take the travellers to Iquitos. We didn’t have any accommodation booked, so our driver took us to two hotels, both were very correct and at a good price. As we saw that he was a trustworthy person and was a worker at the lodge itself, we asked him if we could meet him the next day so he could take us to the airport. He accepted without any problem for a very cheap price.
Thus, we stayed and discovered Iquitos that night. The city was totally different from the jungle, the people, the climate, the proximity, but above all the atmosphere which was vibrant but relaxed. The next day, the same transfer that left us in Iquitos took us to the airport as we had agreed.
These three days in the peruvian jungle gave us all a lot of rest, we were physically tired but very calm, we have been transmitted their tranquility, their way of living in a more carefree way.
After this great experience I can only thank Manuel. Thank you for taking care of us and showing us your house, thank you for letting us be part of this project and thank you very much to all the travelers, those who have already experienced it and those who will do it soon. Dare, you won’t regret it! Book your tour now and meet this native community in the peruvian jungle.