Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Travel -

My knowl­edge of “dark­est Peru” be­fore the trip came courtesy of Padding­ton Bear, but I’m not sure even he had ven­tured this far into the Ama­zo­nian jun­gle. From Puerto Mal­don­ado in the coun­try’s east, a small boat took me sev­eral hours up river into the heart of the rain­for­est, slow­ing down only to point out any wildlife on the river­banks... so a de­cent cam­era is a must. As the sun set, there was a small hike to reach the im­pres­sive eco lodge – and I don’t only mean the open air lounge and bar area! My room was open-sided, and re­lax­ing in the ham­mock you lit­er­ally can have the rain­for­est in your room. A 4.30am start to view the sun­rise from above the rain­for­est canopy (by climb­ing a very high ob­ser­va­tion tower) had me a lit­tle blurry on day one, so when I awoke to what sounded like a jet en­gine over­head, I ques­tioned how iso­lated we re­ally were. “Ah, that’s the howler mon­keys, my friend,” my ex­pert guide ex­plained as I searched for a caf­feine hit. The jun­gle noises can be in­tense and some­times any­thing but peace­ful. The se­lec­tion of guided tours by boat or on foot al­lowed me to ex­pe­ri­ence so much of the rain­for­est, from jaguar spot­ting (nope, didn’t see one!), macaws and other ex­otic birds, gi­ant trees, swamps, and of course my old mates, the mon­keys. But my par­tic­u­lar favourite was the night walk and an en­counter with a fam­ily of taran­tu­las. The ex­pert guide prod­ded its nest and proved there re­ally is more wildlife than you can poke a stick at!

Howler mon­keys sure do live up to their name! Sun­set trips to spot wildlife on the river­banks... no jaguars this time though. Love macaws? The rain­for­est de­liv­ers! You can find spi­ders as big as your hand in the Ama­zon.

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