We took a five day trip into Ecuador's slice of the Amazon to an area called the Cuyabeno Reserve. The journey to our camp was very long and involved an overnight bus, a two hour shuttle to the entrance of the reserve and then a two hour boat ride down the Cuyabeno River to our lodge.
Our first taste of the Amazon began as soon as we started down the river. Within the first hour we saw monkeys, caimans (similar to a crocodile), sloths and other countless birds and butterflies. It's difficult not to be a little starstruck by this place as it seems almost unreal to be surrounded by so much wildlife in such a big, green, beautiful place.
Our lodge was very rustic with grass roof huts and walkways on stilts to keep us up off the ground which harboured a lot of water and more insects and critters than we cared to know about. Our cabana even came with its own tarantula who we named Tito after the second day. Tito stayed with us the whole time we were there....
The jungle itself is absolutely beautiful. It's difficult to relay the feeling of the place in this blog but there really is an energy to it that is undeniable. The jungle wakes up at dusk and with the sounds of all the insects and animals at night, it's amazing that you can sleep.
We did several day trips including canoeing down some of the tributaries off the Cuyabeno River and a few different jungle treks (we paid homage to the makers of Off six times a day).
Our guide took us to visit the local village for the Sioni people in our area. They showed us how they use the manoc root to make bread which was very tasty.
They also took us piranha fishing and Jared managed to catch one. However, our guide was the one to take it off the hook as these fish are feisty and one of them managed to take a good bite out of another one of the guides.
We would go every evening at dusk for a sunset swim in a lagoon near our lodge which was definitely one of the highlights of our trip into the jungle.
On our last night, we did a nightwalk behind our lodge. We were very creeped out by all the critters lurking mere meters behind our sleeping quarters!
Despite being dirty and perpetually damp (it rains a lot in the Amazon), we were sad to say goodbye to our lovely lodge in the jungle. We both hope to be able to visit the Amazon again sometime.