The Amazon – It´s a jungle out there.

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After a relaxing day in Cusco it was time to leave the highlands and head for the jungle. Off with the alpaca wool and into the shorts again. From Cusco our plane took us 400km east to Puerto Maldonado, almost at the Bolivian boarder. The temperature difference from the highlands in the Andes was huge. The guides from Eco Amazonia met us at the airport and took us down to the river Madre de Dios. 30km up the river by boat to the Eco lodge. We installed ourselves in our bungalow right next to the dense jungle. You could hear a cacophony of birds, monkeys and insects. The eco lodge had electric power from 18.30 until 22.00, no wifi and no cellphone reception. But some really nice hammocks, a pool and a bar with pool table and dartboard. So in between all the jungle trekking a nice book in the hammock was pure joy!

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Hammock relaxation, Lucas with a butterfly on his toe.

After lunch the first day we went to Monkey Island just a 5 minute boat ride from the lodge. After trekking trough the jungle for 15 minutes we came to the feeding station. Four types of monkeys inhabited the island and they all came for bananas. Brown and white capuchin monkeys, Spider monkey and a black one that I do not remember the name. Forgive us if we do not get all the names on the animals right..

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White Capuchin

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Brown Capuchin, greedy little fellow.

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Spider Monkey, a bit more shy.

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Maybe you know the name of this one?

The guide gave the monkeys the bananas and we came really close to them. On the way home from Monkey Island we got to se the most beautiful sunset. It get really dark fast in the jungle and we had to pas a river delta with quicksand. The guides put out branches to step on but Lucas tough it was a bit scary. Walking on quicksand was a new experience for all of us. Good thing we had rubber boots on.

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Shuffeling through the quicksand.

The second day we went hiking in the jungle. 6 people and a very skilled guide, named David. All together we walked 8km in the jungle. Lucas managed the hike very well. The hike involved a lot of stops to smell a tree, or fish for a tarantula, og listen to a red howler monkey. Very entertaining and educational. The guide told us a lot about the different trees and what it could be used as. Different trees for curing malaria, prostate problems and rheumatism.

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Tarrentula fishing with a straw.

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Two Hoatzin birds

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A 500 years humongous Saba tree.

The destination for our hike was The Lost Lake, Cocha Perdida. Cocha Perdida is a swamp that is the home of caimans, turtles, and a lot of other species. On the Lost Lake David took us rowing looking for turtles and caimans. We saw both up close. All over is big clods of beautiful butterflies and a lot of birds.

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A squarl monkey on the way to the lake.

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Drinking water from a liana.

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On the board walk

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Can you see the Caiman?

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On the Lost Lake.

We climbed a watchtower to get an overview of the huge jungle. Lucas made the top without any fuss. Not afraid of heights at all..

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The Watchtower

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On the top.

On the way back from the Lost Lake we got to try our paddling skills. Not likely that any of us will join the olympics any time soon. But we manage to paddle 3km without any mayor incidents.

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Padeling down the swamp.

After lunch we had a stroll in the botanical garden on the lodge and visited the parrots and orphan baby monkey that live behind the restaurant on the lodge. The baby monkeys were just too cute. Before we left we got to hold them and cuddle them.

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Parrot kissing.

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Baby Red Howler monkey.

After dinner we went on a night safari to watch the magnificent night sky and to look for caimans. I have never seen a more spectacular starlit sky; southern cross, the lima eyes and the scorpion… There was also a lot of caimans to be seen. Caimans are the alligators in the Amazon.

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Caiman in the dark.

Next day was fishing day. We went up a little side river to Madre de Dias and went fishing for piranhas and catfish. We did not get any piranhas but David got a catfish. Fishing was entertaining still and we got to study the butterflies while doing it.

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Fishing for piranhas.

After we finished fishing we visited a native family on the riverbank. They showed us how to use bow and arrow and how they made fire in the jungle.(I bet they use a lighter now, but they demonstrated how they used to do it anyway). Lucas was trilled to hold the parrot the family had as pets. (Until on of them bit his finger that is).

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Feeding the parrot with papaya.

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Do we have a volunteer for trying bow and arrow?

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Old fashion way of making fire in the jungle.

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The kids in the family.

After lunch we went hiking again this time only for one kilometer behind the lodge. David brought chicken meat to feed the caimans living in the lake. From a viewing platform we could see the baby caimans up close as they came to eat chicken. The big papa caiman came as well, but it seemed like he was only a bodyguard for his young one. He just sat there on the shore and watched as the kids ate.

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Tiger Heron

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Flock of parrots

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Baby caimans

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Papa caiman

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You Tarzan, me Jane.

A Tiger heron also came to visit and ha huge flock of parrots flew over our heads. A lovely afternoon by Caiman Lake. We were in the same group of people the whole time and got to know Georgio from Peru and Catie and Laura from Chicago. Always a pleasure to meet new people.

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Yesterday we had a new travel day. From Puerto Maldonado to Lima to Quito in Ecuador. Tomorrow a new adventure awaits us at the Galapagos Islands.

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