Travel to the Peruvian Amazon

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Laying awake under the mosquito net I’m staring at the ceiling of the bungalow. The air is still thick, and covers are useless. Silently, I listen to the orchestra of sound around me. Each species rhythmically singing its tune, as if they’ve all been practicing for centuries. Despite the exhausting humidity and general uncomfortable feeling that comes with constantly being covered in a film of sweat I’m at ease. The noise is deafening – as if someone is blasting a system right by your bedside. However, I’m pleasantly tired. It’s as if every moment was meant to exist just like this.

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Hidden lagoons

Density on a Whole New Level

The Amazon Jungle is the Tokyo of the natural world. Instead of car horns, music and blinking lights there’s frogs, monkeys, and flowers. The traffic becomes lazily moving rivers slowly winding there way through the landscape. Buildings morph into trees of all shapes and sizes battling for their brilliant green leaves to spread their wings among the sky.

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Our guide Walt from the Cumaceba Lodge resting near a tree

 

Nothing canย describe the shear density of flora and fauna in such a diverse landscape. The rhythm of the day pulses onward, just as rush hour traffic envelopes each morning, monkeys calling, birds crying, and the day time cold blooded creatures soak up the morning rays. As the day wears on, all get quiet, until the night shift shows up. That’s when the real show begins.

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After the sun sets the orchestra begins

Reconnect with Your Senses

Your senses awaken in the Amazon.ย Listen closely and you’ll hear the monkeys. With a keen eye you can easily spot a giant iguana basking on a palm frond. The sweet smell of the earthy forest permeates everything. Edible fruit tastes sweater than sugar. It only took a few days to get into the rhythm of the jungle. The place pulses with life and all you have to do is open your senses to this extraordinary landscape. Travel to the Peruvian Amazon reminds you to reconnect not only with nature, but how you relate to nature.

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Spotting monkeys in the wild is much more difficult than I originally thought

Conquer your Fears

I’ll be the first to admit it – I hate bugs. In fact, I’m petrified of spiders. The second I booked this trip I got extremely anxious – what are you doing?!? The place is teaming with spiders! That’s not far from the truth, at all. My bungalow had a friendly neighborhood roach that probably measured 8″ long. You know what I learned about the creepy crawlies? They want nothing to do with you. Climbing and crawling about on your skin, hunting you down, biting, stinging, scratching and causing a ruckus? Those are activities that are simply not on their radar. Most of the time we encountered these creatures they would run the other way.

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The guide books warn you about swimming in the waters, but we dove in anyway ย – the water was nice.

When I first showed up in the jungle I would wear a rain jacket at night with my hood up, in fear that the bugs were out to get me. By the end of the 1st night I realized that for one, this was an extremely sweaty way to go about business. Number two, bugs weren’t waiting to fall on your head and kill you – they mostly ran from you.

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So apparently this is a real creature. About the size of a small dinner plate, this is literally one of my nightmares.

The only exception to this rule is the mosquito. I spent time in the Amazon in March, which is the low season for tourism and the high season for mozzies. They love me so much that they decided to lay eggs in an exposed part of my leg. Yes it was insanely gross and very itchy (I’ll save you the photo). Don’t be dumb like me – wear pants when traveling in the jungle. Even the DEET-est of DEET will not protect you here. Were the un-welcomed guests on legs worth it to canoe through the rain forest during the river’s high season? Absolutely! I had the place to myself.

A People in Flux

Travel to the Peruvian Amazon isn’t Disney World. It’s a real experience. You’ll be greeted by barges of tropical hardwoods plunging down the river. There will be armed guards, military, and poverty. People struggle and want the comforts of modern life, while still trying to stay rooted to their tribal heritage.

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Farm life in the Peruvian Amazon

The experience with local people is eye opening, and to be honest, I still don’t know what to make of it. The Amazon and its people are such an important aspect of our planet, but who can blame them for wanting modern clothing, access to medicine, and even cell phones. It’s easy to see why people turn to illegal mining, forestry, and drug production. Who am I to judge? What really rings clear is these people are deeply connected to the land, but they don’t want to be stuck in the stone age. It’s a complicated conflict I can’t even begin to wrap my head around, but by visiting the Amazon and seeing it first hand, I can at least appreciate the hard work and determination of its people.

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The floating towns outside of Iquitos, the capital of the region

Should You Travel to the Peruvian Amazon?

Absolutely. Just like anywhere in the wild there are dangers, pests, and uncomfortable moments. But that shouldn’t stop you. The Peruvian Amazon provides endless adventure, beauty, and total stimulation of all the senses. There’s no other place in the world that awakens your soul the way that the Amazon can.

Looking to travel to the Peruvian Amazon? Read about life in the jungle. Peru is an amazing spot to discover the Amazon River Basin.

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49 thoughts on “Travel to the Peruvian Amazon

    1. foxintheforest Post author

      I wasn’t either! I freaked out after I booked the trip. But I decided it would be worth it and found it very healthy to face my fears. I would totally go – just be sure to stay covered and endure the heat instead of expose yourself for the mosquitos!

      Reply
  1. Kelly

    Great post!! I love your discussion of the amazon people and the conflict between staying true to your roots and modernizing. And i wish I had gone here but i didn’t have time to get malaria pills before i went to peru. So no amazon for me. And i’m glaf you were ok after the mosquito laid eggs in your skin. Soo gross!

    Reply
    1. foxintheforest Post author

      Oh my gosh it was SO GROSS. I debated putting the picture up there, but decided that it would probably turn a lot of people off. The tour I went on provided a sustainable look at the Amazon and worked closely with a local village and small farmers there. It was great to meet so many people and be able to interact with them. Next time you should definitely make it out there.

      Reply
  2. Megan

    This looks great! I just had my first stay in an ecolodge and had to deal with some fun bugs and lizards. It was quite the experience to have!!!

    Reply
  3. Julia

    I would love to go to the Amazon and your post convinced me! Though I could do without those mosquitoes… Good to know that other bugs run away from people though!

    Reply
  4. Birthe (from Wandering the World)

    Thanks for giving me spider nightmares too! No, just kidding. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Really disgusting though, it gives me the chills! Loving the way you compare the Amazon to Tokyo, I almost saw the morphing happing in front of me. Not sure if me and the Amazon could be friends though. I believe you when you say nothing awakens your soul like the Amazon can, but I think it’s maybe just a tad too adventurous for me. But who knows, maybe you’ll find me animal spotting in the Amazon one day!

    Reply
    1. foxintheforest Post author

      Ya that was probably the creepiest crawly I saw while I was there. I’m not sure how evolution led to that thing, but it sure was interesting. The Amazon certainly isn’t for everyone, but there are different ways to go out and enjoy it. My parents recently went and they are the last people I ever thought would be interested in the jungle, they did it by cruise which is pretty neat.

      Reply
  5. Tatum

    Pretty sure I just shit my pants seeing that huge dinner plate looking creature. OH EM GEE. I applaud you for taking the plunge and going here. Like you said though, you found out these things want nothing to do with you! Which is good but hard to trust that that’s true haha. Thanks for my nightmares tonight ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
    1. foxintheforest Post author

      LOL I didn’t mean to give you nightmares! The exposure therapy lasted several years though! I will say that even today I’m much less afraid of spiders now that I’ve been there.

      Reply
  6. Patrice

    Love your way of making me feel like I’m there with your writing style! That being said, I have chills because I feel there are massive roaches and spiders lurking near. I’m thinking I’ll have to wait until the kiddos are a bit older to take this trip. Can’t wait!

    Reply
  7. Sam

    I love Peru and it’s people and you perfectly highlighted their culture and the essence of the Amazon in your beautifully written post!

    Reply
  8. Sylvanmist

    Nice overview! I always felt like the jungle or rainforest would be one of the last places I’d want to visit..mostly because of the bugs and humidity lol, but who knows maybe I’ll get there one day ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  9. Meghan

    I just recently went to the Amazon and found many of the same things to be true. Like how you included the piece about people in flux. I felt the exact same way while there!

    Reply
  10. Jamie

    Your writing style drew me in from the beginning. And then you talked about bugs and mosquitos…then you showed a picture of the massive spider….I kept reading. But I’m still debating whether the bugs would ‘really’ run away from me. Your article made the Peruvian Amazon a maybe for my bucket list, and that’s saying something, as it was never on my radar before. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. foxintheforest Post author

      Thank you so much! Hey if you made it past the scariest spider I’ve ever seen, then I must be doing something right :). It’s a spectacular place to see – despite the challenges. It made me fall in love with jungle landscapes – I’ve been to quite a few others in Malaysia, Costa Rica, New Zealand, and the Pacific Northwest – nothing has ever compared to the sites, sounds, and aura of the Amazon!

      Reply
  11. Nikaia

    A lovely thought on the people of the Amazon. This what i love about traveling, learning about the culture and the people is an amazing thing. Love this post!
    Xx Nikaia | wheresnika.com

    Reply
  12. Claire

    Great insight into your journey. I’m planning a trip there next April, this has made me more excited. Apart from the bugs of course! I think I must be the only person who wants to see the gross leg picture though haha.

    Reply
    1. foxintheforest Post author

      Haha I can email it to you if you really want to see ;). It hurt more than anything. I went in March/April – it’s a brilliant time to be there! You’ll have the place to yourself. Definitely wear pants!

      Reply
  13. Anna

    Beautiful exeperice, nice impressions! But that spider… damn I don’t want to imagine my reaction if I should ever see it in front of me. no no no… :PPP

    Reply
  14. Marguerite

    I totally get what you’re saying! I once went straight from Manhattan to the jungle of Panama, a complete 180 in just a few hours! Great read, and such an adventure even with the mosquito mishaps!

    Reply
  15. Anthony Jury

    Such an amazing story about your experiences in the Amazon. I have never been to anywhere remotely near the Amazon bur I would love to. Love the story about the mozzies laying eggs on you. Yes, I may wear long pants if I ever get there.

    Reply
  16. Tom

    You explanation of the people is spot on, They are isolated from the rest of Peru and have the traditional life but at the same time satellite dishes are around. My limited interaction with them was one of friendly people who wanted to share their life with you. I am the parent that explored the Amazon via boat with daily trips up the tributaries of the river, swam in the river and spent a fascinating day in Iquitos. Enjoyed the post and keep on trekking. Turn around and you may see me trekking behind you.

    Reply
    1. foxintheforest Post author

      Thanks Tom!

      It’s good to hear that people with different itineraries had similar experiences! Thank you for the words of encouragement – you should go trekking sometime. I’m actually currently reading a book called “Walking the Amazon” by Ed Stafford. He walked the entire length of the River – over 4,000 miles in 860 some-odd days! Great read – you should pick it up.

      Reply
  17. Ariane

    I absolutely adore your writing and description of the rainforest and fauna and flora. This would be an adventure I’d love to experience. Especially meeting the locals!

    Reply
  18. Carola

    Um, plate-sized spiders and larvae in your leg. Nightmares! But it’s good to read that you had a marvelous time, regardless ๐Ÿ™‚

    Happy continued travels!
    C

    Reply
  19. Stephanie Frias

    Wonderful writing! I just love this type of travel storytelling rather than the overwhelming amount of guides and reviews out there. My favorite part is how you talk about the local culture…only a person who really immersed them in the experience would get that. We see it all the time too in Ecuador. An off balance plea of the cultures to find their rightful place somewhere between yesterday and today.

    Reply
    1. foxintheforest Post author

      Thanks Stephanie. This is my favorite style of writing too! I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I’ve heard Ecuador can be quite similar to Peru – I’d love to visit one day!

      Reply
  20. Christina

    Traveling to the amazon would be amazing and your experience (minus the gross mosquito egg incident) sounds amazing! We always enjoy seeing the locals and their lifestyle it allows us to learn and see the world in a different perspective. I understand your thinking and it is sad to hear about their situation. I cannot imagine what a conflict it must be for them to want to be one with nature, but still have the need for modernization like you said. Really nice article. Glad to hear you had a good experience and conquered your fear of bugs.

    Reply
  21. Ling

    I would love to visit the Amazon someday but I am still on the fence simply because of the mosquitos. A good friend of mine went to the Amazon and he got destroyed by them, regardless of whatever bug spray and preventative measures he took. Mosquitos LOVE me and I feel like I’d be covered head to toe with bites…but someday I’m going to have to get over it and endure it, especially before the rainforests potentially disappear.

    Reply
    1. foxintheforest Post author

      Oh I got destroyed – they love me too. But I found that it was well worth it. They don’t itch as bad as they do in the States – so it really wasn’t that horrible. Just gross.

      Reply

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