The final vacation in Peru was to the jungle (Manu reserve). A 4 day/3 night trip, so not very deep into the jungle. Luckily, still super cool.
Also I have 15 minutes to write this so we’ll see how it goes.
Day 1 was mostly van ride to the first lodge, though we stopped in Paukartambo, which I guess was the last city the Incans, then the Spanish, felt comfortable in before it turned into jungle territory. Upon arrival to the first lodge we played bilingual mafia and did a night walk and saw a few insects, but that was all. It was already hot and humid though, and the bug attack began (even with mosquito nets!).
The second day we hitched an hour or so long van ride to the place from where we would do our river rafting. And, part of the time we walked along the road, looking at birds and looking for monkeys. No monkeys yet, but the first day we saw a harpy eagle which I guess is rare. Most of the animals we saw then were birds. River rafting was really fun- it was still hot at that point. It was only class 1 or 2 rapids, but that was nice for being able to take in the scenery. Plus we got to jump off some rocks into the river, swim and generally have a good time. However, once we got done with the rafting to take an outboard motor boat to our next lodge, it was starting to look towards rain (not surprising for a rainforest). We took a walk during the night (still no monkeys) but saw HUGE spiders and ants. Plus frogs and stuff- but yeah a face-size fishing spider.
Day 3 we woke up super early to go to a clay lick where parrots congregate, and got to see some parrots through binoculars. Came back from that, and after breakfast we went zip lining, which involved first a walk uphill in the humid rainforest, which resulted in a sweatfest. Canopy ziplining was pretty and fun, but the best part was repelling down from the last platform, which was much more scary (given that if you let go of your rope you would drop and fall and die). After that we jumped in the river by our lodge, showered and hung out until lunchtime. However, that shower quickly became moot as we played a pickup soccer game after lunch, barefoot in the sand. Basically, showering and trying to have dry clothes is impossible in the rainforest. However, during that time there were some scarlet macaws just chilling out in the tree by our lodge, which was also cool. Still monkey count at 0 though.
Final activity of the day was another walk where we saw some crazy birds and went out on a wood raft and saw a couple capybaras (Yay!). Then, after dinner we had a party, thanks to the lodge selling beer. Just card games and beer, but the group we were with were all younger people and really fun, and our tour guides were cool too. Oh, but at that point SO MANY MOSQUITO BITES. I feel really good that I got a yellow fever vaccine, even if it is a low occurrence in Manu.
Next morning, finally, during breakfast our guide came in and said there was a MONKEY. Yes! Score. Then, a full day van ride back straight to Cusco. However, when we stopped at lunch we saw our busdriver (named Rico Suave by us for his half unbuttoned shirt, open at the belly button and otherwise suave demeanor) had to change a tire. Still, there were 2 spares, so no big deal. That is, until 10 minutes later when a wooshing sound was made and our tire busted and the second spare had to go on, still an hour away from Paukartambo, aka civilization and help. Thankfully, we got to Paukar and got our two spares patched until, an hour away from Cusco…flat number 3. At this point it was dark and ridiculous. And, our tour guide assured us we would be fine AS LONG AS they fixed the tires well. Not a great if. Especially when a tire blowing out on a narrow mountain road would be bad. But, it was mostly funny and thankfully we finally got back to Peru. Really, this is something more aptly described with pictures of the huge trees and crazy vegetation, though I’m not sure if pictures capture it either. But, aside from the bug bites I WENT TO THE JUNGLE YEAAAAAAYAH.