My daughter had that bedeviled look in her eye as we sat in our room in Cusco. “Mom, are you ready for an adventure? How about the Amazon?”
My stomach lurched….Amazon means jungle, rivers and wilderness. But the question was rhetorical and by 6 o’clock the next morning we were on our way. Once over the Andes we descended into the Cloud forest of thick jungle vines, belly palm trees, and exotic birdcalls. Our guide was knowledgeable, personal, fun and knew the rain forest inside out. From the cloud forest we continued to the Amazon basin at the Madre de Dios River. We traveled by small boats sitting almost at river level. The boatmen could even navigate in the dark. We saw giant river otters, caymans, and six inch hummingbirds. We climbed a ladder up a kapok tree so big that we had to use our guide’s binoculars to see a large bird known as a pootoo sitting on a branch on the other side of the tree!
Our overnight stops were at Cock of the Rock, Amazonia and Manu Reserve lodges. They were lit by candlelight, had great meals and adventures planned around the site. I had a few heart palpitations thinking about being so far from civilization, and wondered if the sometimes torrential rain would swamp our boat. After experiencing up close incredible jungle life I can close my eyes and still see Vanessa the Tapir, the leaf cutter ants, the squawking macaws, fungus and frogs. Inside my head the sounds of the jungle will resonate for a lifetime. What an adventure!