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Thursday, 16 June 2016 Puerto Maldonado, Perú

hakuna matata

The peruvian adventure continues after some wild nights out and sadly seeing off some peeps in our group. Next stop: Puerto Maldonado. Hello 30º Celsius and 100% humidity (+ every imaginable insect creature..)

Yep. From Cuscos miniature airport a ca. 1h flight took us into a completely different world. Instead of seeing mountain ranges out of our cabin windows, soon enough we were left speechless by the vast greenness and of course the Amazon river. It was absolutely stunning! When we stepped off the plane after our short ride we were immediately hit by the heatwave and sadly had to take off our statement aplaca jumpers. As after the jungle I wouldn't be flying back to Lima but stop off in Cusco again I had to leave all my luggage there and only travelled with a small duffle. So when that was picked up I was immediately hussled outside as the time has, once again, come to get my second to last rabies shot. Yay. Not sure if I mentioned the one in Puno (was a bit of a nightmare to get that one), but that was about a week back, and kindly our rainforest guide snatched up a taxi for me and together went on a hunt for a hospital willing to give me my really quite necessary shot. We were in a bit of a rush as we had to get back to the group in order to catch a boat taking us to our lodge in the middle of nowhere.
Stepping foot in to a jungle hospital is not something you get to see everyday. The term hygiene doesn't seem to exist over there, or at least has a different definition to how I interpret it. The nurse there was amazing and took me in to the childrens area where I got my lovely injection (it was pretty damn painful, even hours after).

In the end we managed to catch up with our group that in the meantime furiously rubbed themselves up with creams and deet, ready for some mosquitos. And of we went into the jungle. At first we had to drive in a little van for about 45min to reach the river and this was one of the worst roads I had ever experienced. We were jolted around and with every hole in the road (to be honest, can't even really call it a road) nearly fell out of our seats. However, when we finally did reach the river we were able to change into a more accommodation way of transport. The boat, which had to be kept in balance to prevent it from tipping over took us for another hour or so and we even got served delicious rice and veggies all wrapped up nicely in banana leaves.

Soon enough we made it to some stairs and a narrow, winded pathway that would eventually lead us to our lodge. And the lodge was freaking fantastic. It was pretty luxurious especially compared to where I slept at in Tena, Ecuador. Again, we had hammocks, but this time there was also a lounge, bar area (with wifi that worked, although they informed us it wouldnt (; ) and last but not least our amazing rooms with eco friendly soaps and shampoos. Oh yeah, and forgot to mention thefact that there were no windows, so right in front of our beds we basically saw monkeys swining from one tree to the other. Paradise.

After some delicious, fruity refreshments we were off to explore. Our rainforest guide was ever the pro and pointed out so many spiders, insects, plants and tarantulas our blind tourist eye wasn't really able to spot. We reached a lookout tower (can't remember how high it really was) that didn't seem too safe but still somehow managed to hold most of us. The sunset from up there was phenomenal and although I didn't really like how the tower started to sway, it was a lot safer up there due to the fact that the mosquitos prefered to eat up the ones closer to the ground.

Dinner was served and I have to say, in the jungle I ate some of the most amazing food. The same actually goes for the food in the jungle in Ecuador. I guess that's just the place to be to stuff your face with deliciousness. With full bellies we were off again to attempt to spot some nocturnal wildlife. We were pretty damn lucky. We took the boat again and saw some alligators but what I enjoyed the most were simply the stars. I couldn't get enough of how clear you were able to see the milky way, probably some planets, and all this was reflected in the amazon river. The night couldn't have gotten any better.

But it did. We stepped foot on the shore again and whilst I was busy trying not to trip over stones whilst looking up at the sky or the other way round looking at the ground  to keep myself from falling over and as a result hitting my head on lowhanging branches I nearly missed out on seeing spiders the size of my head (!!!), oppossuns and monkeys hiding away in the trees. And last but not least, the absolute highlight, we got to see a rare sight - a freaking sloth. Saying I was excited would be an understatement. I was simply over the moon.

The next day we were off to an early start and this time I wasn't complaining as I slept like a baby AND the sky was doing things that lightened up my tired soul (look at the first picture again). Boarded the boat once again before we started a short hike on which our fantastic guide pointed out interesting creatures and plants before we reached a small lake. Now this lake was beautiful, especially with the sun, the mist and overall great things nature those at dawn. We used some sort of wooden katamaran to navigate around the lake, used plants to draw tattoos on ourselves that ended up staying for more than a week and wait for it: we got to see otters. Overall, the jungle here blew all my expectations out the window. It was incredible .

Caught some evil piranhas and had a leg of a dead tarantula on my hand. Goals.
We returned at about 8am, which was insane as we've been on the go for four hours already. Some of us did kayaking, others climbed some trees but I decided to just grab myself a hammock and chillout for a bit and enjoy the last hours in the jungle. I also have to say the mosquitos here were a bit more aggressive than in Ecuador but still, I never got eaten alive which was pretty surprising... Not complaining though.

Later that day we sadly left the jungle, could've definitely stayed there for a couple days more, and explored Puerto Maldonado, its markets and the great foods (talking 'bout roasted nuts, coconut balls and a looot more). Our hotel also happened to have a pool, so must of us jumped into that one whilst enjoying cheap and disgusting cocktails. I also think that was our last night all together so we went out for a delicious dinner and believe it or not found a karaoke bar where things kind of got out of hand.

The next day it was not only time to say goodbye to Puerto, but also to some dear friends. The plane stopped over in Cusco before continuing on to Lima so it was quite and emotional, even teary-eyed goodbye to some great travel buddies. Luckily two fellow friends from the UK would be staying in Cusco aswell (and I'd be meeting them at a later stage again), so not all by myself after all.

Excited though to spend some more time in Peru, meet up with Marlo and do some yoga :)

Check to another jungle adventure and hakuna matataaaaaa

J x

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