02.12.2006 24 °C
We arrived in Cusco on the early afternoon and set out to book some trips to Machu Picchu and the jungle.
We found a good jungle trip for 6 days/5 nights which meant that we had to squeeze Machu Picchu in over the weekend and ended up not really seeing much of Cusco or the Sacred Valley...
Awesome place! Most people will have heard about and seen pictures of it so I won't go on too much about it.
We were there early before most of the tourists arrive and the weather was good all morning so we had about 5 hours strolling around the ruins. We had a guide for the first 2 hours and were then left just to wander. It's a really amazing place, it really took my breathe away. It felt quite mystical to me, so high up in the mountains away from everything. Loved it.
An awesome trip despite me cathing the lurgy from Laura and having to spend a day in bed and not being able to venture too far away from the toilets!
The Manu Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site in the southwestern region of the Amazon Basin, encompasses approximately 5 million acres ranging from high alpine grasslands and cloud forest on the eastern slopes of the Andes to lowland rainforest.
Peru's national park is home to 200 species of mammals, including 13 different species of monkeys, the endangered giant otter, the caiman and the jaguar. It also boasts the largest concentration of birdlife in the world with an estimated 925 species.
This is one of the most biologically diverse regions of the world, not to mention being home to several ethnic groups such as the Matchiguengas, Yine and others, which often have very little contact with westerners.
Day 1 - Long bus ride into the jungle along the only road into the jungle which felt like the bumpiest road in the world.
Arrived at our first stop for lunch and then went white water rafting (Grade 3) along the Alto Madre de Dios river - awesome!
Night at Erika Lodge where we meet the rest of our group and where the electricity gets turned off at 9pm so we all have an early night!
5am start. Breakfast and then 5 of us go off into the jungle to swing through the canopy on the cacble zip lines. Another great experience. The guide flicks a giant ant off of Laura's shoulder - if they bight you you go all numb and someone says it feels like you are having a heart attack... They are really big too!
Back in the boat for a long trip up the river to our next camp ground near Boca Manu. Lots of birds and monkeys to see and a few white caimans (alligators)
We have another walk in the jungle at Boca Manu and see lots of spiders and other large insects.
4.30am start. Another long boat journey up the Madre de Dios river and we enter the Reserve Zone where we have to sign in.
Our camp for the next 2 nights is nice but the water from the shower is the same colour as the river, brown. You don't spend a long time showering in the jungle cos you don't really get clean but you do get eaten by mozzies!
We take another walk through the jungle and then take the wooden catamaran out onto the lake where we see black caimans and lots more birds and monkeys but no giant otters.
I get sick and spend a lot of time in the toilet.
I am in bed or in the toilet all day feeling really dreadful. The nice guide gives me some jungle tea and some tablets for my symptoms which do nothing! Find a grasshopper the size of my arm in the room as I decide to get up and take a shower. Climb back under the safety of my mozzie net and wait for Laura. Grasshopper manages to disappear in this time. We eventually find it under the other side of Laura's bed and ask our guide Jose to get ride of it. It is HUGE. Wrong.
I'm still sick but manage to make the short walk to the river to see if we can spot the Giant Otters and we do!!! There's a family of about 5 and they are fishing and eating and playing and fighting and we get up really close. They aren't giant but they're pretty big!
In the afternoon we are back on the boat heading back to Boca Manu. We stop off at the village where the lads play football with the locals. The locals hardly break a sweat, the lads are dripping at the end of it but at least they win!
Fly back to Cusco in small 12 seater plane. A little scarey I have to say!
And that was the jungle. Another great experience. Couldn't live in the jungle though, too many abnormally large insects!
And being sick whilst in the jungle is not a good experience!
When it's summarised like that it sounds like we were in & out of the jungle in no time at all!
It really was an amazing experience, regardless of the 40 odd mozi bites I ended up with despite applying 85% deet, the showering in brown water, the nightly killing spree of some rather large cockroaches in our cabin just before bedtime (I let J9 deal with that bit) & the sound of distant howler monkeys & animals creeping around behind the cabin in the pitch black.
Luckily I have managed to perfect the ability to sleep absolutely anywhere as I think the jungle is the only place I know which is noisier at night than during the day.
The only bad nights sleep I had was when I woke from a nightmare that I had a huge spiders web around my bed. Unfortunately I awoke to find it wasn't a dream but reality (well to me the mosi net appeared very web like). It was so real I woke J9 up & told her we had to leave! It was only when she asked why that I realised how ridiculous I sounded. The jungle really plays with your mind!!!
We flew back to Lima and then back to Miami. The weather is still good here in Miama and Claire and Michelle have arrived so we have just been chilling on the beach and I have started to eat again after 7 days so all is good.
Next stop Orlando