There are two seasons at the Amazon River in Peru: high water season from December to May and low water season from June to November. Even though we went during the low water season, there was still some rain. The main difference in visiting during the different seasons is the ability to access the jungle trails that get flooded during the high water season. But having said that, you can get closer to the animals by boat and see the rainforest at its lushest during the high water season.
We stayed on the Aria of Aqua Expeditions during our visit to the Peruvian Amazon. The boat is modern and the cabins are spacious. I can’t think of a better way to visit this part of the Amazon river. Like a cruise, we navigate to a new location everyday and are taken on excursions into the rain forest. We sailed along the two largest tributaries of the Peruvian Amazon, the Ucayali and the Marañon, as well as on the Amazon itself.
The Aria of Aqua Expeditions – our home on the Amazon.
Our bedroom on board the Aria.
Dining room of the Aria.
The Aria docked amongst the water lettuce.
We went on our excursions on these skiffs.
Cruising along the tributaries of the Amazon.
Truth be told, the Amazon was not as I imagined. I thought it would be more like going on a safari and seeing loads of animals peering at you along the river. But in reality, we didn’t really seeing many animals. It took us a while to spot a few monkeys and we only saw one sloth through the whole journey. However, we did get to see some strange animals during the trip.
The bumps of the tree trunk are actually bats.
Guide showing us some water lettuce.
The elusive pink dolphin.
We went piranhas fishing with small pieces of steak.
Check out the sharpness of the teeth of the piranha.
As I mentioned before, one of the benefits of going to the Amazon during low water season is the ability to venture into the jungle on foot. We were given knee high rubber boots for the trek.
The poison dart frog is probably the most poisonous animal alive. The poison from the frog is what native hunters used to coat their darts. We were told that a single frog can harbour enough poison to kill 10 grown men.
Weird looking creepy crawlies in the rain forest.
Finally something beautiful.
Hundred year old giant ficus.
Lots of strange looking plants and trees.
One evening we went out in search of some caymans. It was very dark and spooky navigating the river in the dark.
The walking catfish looks prehistoric and almost alien. It can walk on land using its pectoral fins as legs and breathe air when it is out of water.
The following morning we went out before sunrise to try to spot some animals before they went into hiding in the hot weather.
Dusk at the Amazon
Spotted some ant eaters and a lone monkey.
Little money having some breakfast.
Weird looking monkey with a big nose.
The guide spotted a baby jaguar on the riverbank and brought it on board our skiff.
We are terrible for touching wildlife.
Finally found a sloth climbing up the tree.
Sloth in the tree.
The giant lily pads are so large and buoyant that we were told locals put toddlers on them for photos. The guide tried to convince me to put my backpack on one of the lily pads…. of course I said “no way” :)
I especially enjoyed the opportunity to visit a local village in the Amazon. It reminded me of a village in the Philippines or somewhere in South-East Asia. We got to meet the shaman of the village as well as curious and giggling local children.
Village in the Amazon.
Because of the lack of resources and teachers willing to live in these villages, children of all ages went to school together.
Enjoying some brazil nuts with our champagne while we wait for sunset on our last day.
Beautiful end to the trip.
After disembarking the Aria, we were taken to the Manatee Rescue Center before our flight back out. It is a kind of an orphanage for manatees where they are rehabilitated and then released back into the wild. They are quite strange looking and I am surprised that folklore has it that sailors often mistake manatees for mermaids when at sea.
Feeding the baby manatee some milk.
The older manatees are fed water lettuce.