What better way to see in 2017 than a trip to the Amazon in a luxury cabina and spend the days trekking round the jungle and boating up the Madre De Dios river.
We spent two days in Puerto Maldonado the gateway town before we headed into the jungle. It was super hot and very chilled. We milled around the town in ‘motocarros’ effectively moto-trikes with a cabin on the back. Just flag down in the street and hop in.
A 40min boat trip and a short walk and we were at the incredible luxury of the Inkaterra Hacienda lodge. Wow. As this was a Christmas present from mummy and daddy soust we were living it up in luxury for the first time in a long time.
Our guide was the Peruvian equivalent of Bear Grylls/Rambo who swotted Mosquitos with his fist onto his face while not even breaking his sentence. He ripped trees out of ground if they were across the path and used to catch caiman with his bear hands (until one got him back). We heard the story of the founder of inkaterra and saw the first steam boat they used to use for sustainable logging of rubber trees.
Then we were back in the lodge for a 3 course a la carte dinner then a twilight river trip hunting for caiman, anacondas and anything else we could find with a spotlight from a boat. Then an early bed for a 5am New Years Eve day start for lake canoing, canopy climbing and a night jungle walk.
The walk to the lake was a muddy one. We got wellies to wear and sticks to use and still all nearly went in the mud numerous times. A 3km hike took us to the edge of the lake where we hopped in a canoe to see what we could find.
We rowed around the middle of the lake and got our first glimpse of the reason we were there. Giant river otters. Who doesn’t want to see giant river otters. We didn’t get closer than 50m but from the boat we could see them swimming and fishing before they retreated back to the edge due to the heat of the sun. After the excitement of the river otters we still managed to see caiman, bats, piranhas, birds and turtles before heading back for our 3km trek back.
After a yummy buffet lunch, a dry off and a nap we were off again into the jungle for a 30m high canopy climb! The guide explained that Inkaterra was also part of an ngo dedicated to looking after the wildlife and sustainability of the forest. They had built the rope bridges in the canopy of the rainforest to watch the animals, count the birds and keep tabs on the trees and plant growth.
As it was New Year’s Eve we were treated to a traditional Quechua dance show, a pisco sour and a weird meaty appetiser then sat down to a 5 course dinner! Forgot to take photos of all the courses (as we’re enjoying them too much) but here are some highlights!
The we headed out for a late night creature hunt…….
As it had already passed new year in England and we had another early start we headed to bed to the screeches of howler monkeys welcoming in the new year.
Then we were up for out last short trip of the weekend which had gone far too quickly! An early morning canoe trip in the still water of the lodge. We spotted kingfishers, herons, caiman, hummingbirds, wrens, fish and butterflies. This chap was the highlight.