Our rain forest trip with Gamboa Tours – The fun begins!
We got up early to pack our small backpacks to travel with and leave the rest of our stuff at the hostel. We needed to make sure we had long pants and long sleeved shirts to trek through the rain forest as the mosquitos were ferocious. We had all been taking Thiamin for 3 weeks before as we had heard that it discourages mosquitos and we had all had our yellow fever vaccinations 10 days previously. The company gave us big rubber boots to wear on the trek as there is supposed to be copious amounts of mud on the trails due to it being rainy season now. We were to leave our hiking boots behind and take only what we could carry on our trek.
We went to the port of Tabatinga and got into our boat with our guide. There were 8 of un in total. One guy was with us for the day and a couple for one night. It was us girls and two tourists from China for the three day tour.
We took off for about two hours up the Amazon to the port of Benjamin Constant in Brazil. This is a very important city from the past because of the rubber trade. It is now in disrepair and possibly more ugly than Leticia. We had a Brazilian Arepa there made with yuca brava, or Cassava. It was delicious.
We then went up river about 20 minutes to a city called Islandia. This is a city in Peru built on stilts because of the rising waters in rainy season. The government had decided to build raised walkways between the houses so that the children could still attend school when the city was flooded. It was an interesting city, but the walkway was concrete, so the heat rose from it and there were no trees, so we were hot and sweaty. It was a sad, ugly city and it struck me as hilarious that they kept comparing it to Venice – it was absolutely nothing like!
We then went to Santa Rosa for lunch before heading up to the Gamboa River off the Amazon another hour or so down the river. We had lunch at a delicious restaurant there. It was probably my second favorite meal in the area. The fish was absolutely amazing and the restaurant had a couple of parrots that hung out there.
We took off after lunch and headed up to our first site. This is a lodge used by various groups to head further into the rain forest. It has beds and mosquito nets and simple facilities and showers. It is off the beaten path though and we passed pink dolphins and gray dolphins on our way as well as some indigenous houses with families out front doing laundry. It was absolutely beautiful along the shore and so tranquil on the water. I felt my cares float away the farther along we went. I felt peace and awe fill me. I was so happy!
We unpacked and explored the area. We then went out for a trip in the canoe, had dinner, rested and went for a nighttime canoe ride to spot alligators and hear the nighttime sounds of the river. It was like a symphony! I was at peace.