When we first started to plan our South American trip, we talked about going to the Brazilian Amazon and taking a boat down the river for several days. It was one adventure I was really looking forward to. But as we got further into the planning, it looked as if it would be too expensive to get there. I was disappointed. You can’t go to South America and not go to the Amazon.

But thankfully, another solution emerged. Lonely Planet highlighted a city on the other end of the Amazon River (the Peruvian side) as one of their top cities to visit in 2011 – Iquitos. And we’d be able to use our existing flight plan to get there. Perfect. But as we got to planning our visit to Iquitos, we realized the city itself needed to be just a jumping off point for an expedition into the jungle. (We really didn’t think it was wise to go roaming around by ourselves.)

For those of you who’ve never been to Iquitos, this video pretty much sums up the tone of the city.

We did some more research and found Otorongo Expeditions to take us out into the Amazon. We were a little beat up coming off our Incan Trail adventure. (Nellu had actually gotten sick a day after I did. I think it may have had something to do with the chicha but he’s adamant it didn’t.) So the idea of heading back out into the wild for another 5 days without electricity seemed ill-timed. But our first introduction to this whole scheme was an exhilarating 2.5 hour boat ride down the Amazon. This is what we came here for!

Compared to high-altitude hiking and camping, a few days at Otorongo’s lodge was pure simple luxury. We had a bed and a shower. Yeah, it wasn’t hot shower but tales of its coldness were greatly exaggerated.

And then there was the hammock room. We’d take our after-lunch siesta in the hammock room. We fell so dead asleep one time that Nellu was snoring (which he never does) and our guide Osmar had to come find us and wake us for our afternoon adventure.

The hammock room                       Photo by Nellu

Interestingly, there was a study that came out recently that highlighted the benefits of sleeping in a hammock. We actually left the lodge quite rested.

On some of our outings, we hiked through the rainforest but we spent most of our time on a boat on the Amazon River looking for wildlife. I couldn’t get enough.

And then we went looking for Amazon River dolphins! There are two kinds: the gray ones that look like smaller versions of marine dolphins and the pink ones which are larger with a much longer beak and harder to capture on camera. Here’s the best of what I did catch:

“I just love being on the water.” I must have that said ten times a day when we were in the Amazon…maybe more. I definitely said it enough to elicit the response from Nellu, “I know. You keep telling me.”

More being-on-the-water footage to follow.

~ Molly

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