The Amazon? And my imagination went wild…Tarantula, crocodiles and anaconda. Seeing this trailer from a film didn’t rouse any interest for a jungle visit. Oh yes, I am that silly and naive village girl.
I tried to hide my apprehension about the trip from my husband and the girls, not wanting my daughters to let fear or anxiety held them back in exploring the world. Even checked the weather and tried to persuade my husband that it was not a good time to go. As we have to choose between Galapagos Island and the Cuyabeno trip, the latter was a cheaper trip for the family. And so before the anxiety and fear of the unknown took over, I hesitantly ok’ed our Amazon trip.
Quickly reading some info on what to do’s from others who had done the same trip, I readied our things. Some suggestions:
- Cover backpacks/valises with black plastic garbage bag during the 2 hr boat travel to the accommodation.
- Put Ipad/cellphones in a ziplock.
- Bring clothes that can dry quickly.
Our Cuyabeno tour was arranged by an agency near our hostel. Tours to the reserve are primarily handled by operators. We were to stay in Jamu Lodge. We left Quito on the 27th August around 23h in a private tourist mini bus and arrived the following day in Lago Agrio at 5h45. Together with other tourists going to Cuyabeno reserve, we waited until 9h30 in Hotel D’Mario to be fetched by staff of Jamu Lodge. We would then be driven (2 hrs) to the meeting point in Cuyabeno.
During those 4 hours of waiting time, we had breakfast, walked nearby the hotel, played cards and phrase game and found a hair salon where Karen and I had our quick hair cut for $7.- Our group is composed of another couple from Lille,France.
28-31 August 2018
We had lunch then took a boat ride of 3 hours to our lodge. Upon settling in the boat, ponchos and life vests were given.
The activity started the afternoon we arrived until the morning before our check out. This included: swimming in the lagoon, birds/monkey watching, looking for caiman, walked in the forest, rowing back to the lodge, community visit and meeting the shaman.
A walk in the forest
With our rain boots and ponchos, we hiked in the forest. Cry of the birds or monkeys, alternately broke the somewhat stillness of the surrounding. The girls, half way in our march, were so eager to be in the boat knowing that we would row on our way back to the lodge.
In the above picture, Erin was inspecting the so-called walking tree.Our guide, Sulema, explained that as trees canopied the forest and sunlight barely reach the ground, this particular tree would root where there’s light near it. Causing the other roots without sunlight to die.
Before leaving Quito,we bought a chocolate cake for Carlo’s bday celebration (it survived the travel) and on the 2nd night of our stay in the lodge after dinner, Sulema and the rest of the staff brought out two cakes, singing, accompanied by guitar. Unknown to me and the rest of the family, the chef prepared another cake.
Puerto Bolivar is one of the 11 communities in Cuyabeno where 400 people of Siona tribe live. Their dialect is called Paicoca.
My name is… – Je mami..
I am from… –Je kato
Thank you. – Deoji.
Making yuca tortilla or cassava bread in images
After making and eating the yuca bread, we walked around the community. Then it was time to meet Raphael, the shaman. Karen has written a post about it here.
Time to go
Just when we were getting used to the tinamou‘s morning song, the usual stillness of the forest and the night visit of tarantula, it was time to go.
The garbage bags didn’t serve its purpose. Electronics devices were kept dry in the ziplock. As for our clothes, socks and undergarments took ages to dry.
The weather was great, drizzling every now and then, but that was fine. Our luggage stayed dried under the tarpaulin during the boat ride to and from the lodge, though there were waves due to boat’s motion –to my daughters’ delight, our ponchos kept us all dry.
As we waited for our transport back to Lago Agrio, we had lunch and then watched the birds weave their nests up on the tree branches.
My youngest child, Erin, was sick during the ride back to Lago Agrio. Not wanting to take any medication, she has this pink pouch containing small plastic bag, wipes and tissues for car sickness.
The anxiety I had before our trip was replaced by awe and a dash of sense of adventure ;). This village girl (woman) is looking forward for more of the latter.