An organised tour into the Amazon Jungle wasn’t adventurous enough – it was time for Jack (my travel buddy) to put his Spanish skills to the test and get us in without a guide.
From Quito we travelled by bus to Tena, arriving around 1am in the morning. I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but that drop in altitude meant a significant increase in temperature and humidity.
With a quick bit of research the next morning, we were packed into a local bus (just 60 cents each), and continued our journey deeper into the jungle. We had no plan for once we got there.
Our first priority after arriving in Misahuallí was to cool down in the River Napo. We then donned our backpacks and asked some locals for a ride down river (including the lifejackets!) in search of a Cabaña.
We were taken to two locations.
I was practically sold on the first. As we looked around, calls of “mira, mira, gringos!” – “look, look, gringos!” followed us.
We moved on though, and as we pulled up for the second time, we were told we were at the better place. The driver suggested we grab our backpacks, and then went and left us standing on the edge of a soccer field. We hadn’t even seen the cabaña!!
After an hour or so of playing frisbee with a couple of local kids, and watching the soccer match in play, we were finally led to our little cabaña for the next two nights.
The area we stayed in was built for tourists, but Jack and I found ourselves fortunate enough to be the only two there.
Our cabaña was built for two, had a little balcony with a hammock, and even our own little drop dunny and outdoor shower – there was a window near the toilet which necessitated a few rules when someone was using it…
It was then a pleasant evening of swinging in hammocks and listening to the river flowing and the sounds of the jungle surrounding us.
Our second day in the jungle had a very relaxed beginning, with breakfast served by our Quechua hosts at 8am.
Eventually we walked back to Misahuallí in search of transport to a nearby animal sanctuary (referred to as a zoo). Unfortunately, everyone Jack spoke to told us the price was $80 for a boat – way out of our budget.
Luckily, our new “medio gringo” friend told us this was a fixed price everyone had to abide by (we’re pretty certain he decided he was half gringo only because he knew the word thank you…). He then managed to find us a ride to Puerto Barantilla for $30 which would get us close enough to take a boat for another $10 – half price!!!
And so it came to be that David (pronounced Da-Vid) took us out, full of conversation the entire way – questioning how women in Australia behave, asking Jack if I was his wife (the second time that happened in just a few days!!) and other similar subjects.
However, our run of luck failed as we arrived with noone in sight to help us continue our journey.
Regardless, Jack and I chose to throw caution to the wind and wait it out as David returned to Misahuallí.
Fortunately, just ten or so minutes later, along came a boat and we were on our way again!
We arrived at Amazoologica and were given a private tour in English, seeing all sorts of amazing animals:
I think the highlight for Jack was the turtles that were obviously ready to increase their numbers in a very noisy fashion…
After that eye opener into turtle life, we found the boat driver waiting for us, and jumped aboard.
We did find ourselves a little stuck again once we made it back to land, but David eventually returned. In the meantime, the local kids got us back into the water:
With Davids speeding and ignorance of stop signs, I’m still amazed we made it back to our little cabaña for our final night.
It was a brief introduction to the Amazon Jungle – I’m looking forward to the next time!
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