The Peruvian Amazon – Part Three: the Tribe, the Blowgun, and Iquitos

Hey all. Sorry this took so long, I was away until Monday night on another trip (which will probably be another 3-part serial), and didn’t get to this on Tuesday. This is my last week in Lima, and as such I’ve been trying to get all of my souvenir shopping and last sightseeing in! Enjoy.

So, the last day in the Amazon arrived bright and cloudy. I had the option to go bird-watching again, but I declined, having nearly fallen asleep the previous time (and at this point the guide mentioned he’d noticed… whoops). That being the case, I “slept in” until 7am, which was a nice break from the previous really early mornings. I should probably also mention something about the food at Heliconia – it was always a very varied spread, and delicious. They have great cooks! Breakfasts were usually some kind of meat (bacon, sausages, etc.), eggs, fruit, and a selection of breads and cereals. They also always had juice, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate available, which were included.

Flooded bridge next to the Yanamono clinic, which is usually linked to the village.

After breakfast, we had a last excursion to a nearby tribal village. The village belongs to the Yagua tribe. We took a brief walk around the village, where they had schools, houses, and businesses, and then went by boat to the nearby cultural centre. There, we were shown a tribal dance (with some audience participation), and given a chance to shoot darts with a long blowgun. Unfortunately I don’t have a video, but I ended up being the only one in my group to hit the target both times… I’d like to think my aim has improved due to consistently throwing axes back home, but who knows, it may have also been a fluke.

We also had the opportunity to support the tribe by purchasing handicrafts. They made necklaces, carved hangings, and small figurines. I picked up a wooden hanging of a squirrel which I hadn’t seen elsewhere (I didn’t realize they had squirrels in the Amazon at all… I never saw one), and some other things.

On the way back to the lodge, we were told of an opportunity to go and see a pet boa constrictor which was a little ways upriver. Of course we wanted to go see it, so off we went. Unfortunately it turned out the owner wasn’t home, and our navigator had no luck finding him, so we didn’t get to see it in the end. There was a rooster though, here’s a picture:

Not a boa constrictor.

There was also a really massive tree which I was unable to capture the full scope of, but it was easily the tallest thing in the area:

Extremely tall tree.

Anyway, once we got back to the lodge, we had free time both before and after lunch, before having to head back via speedboat to Iquitos. It was nice to relax further (after packing).

The speedboat ride was uneventful, I managed to read the whole way back without getting motion sick, and it was actually kind of jarring to arrive back in the crowded Iquitos dock. We were dropped back at the local hotel to await our transfer, which was ~2 hours after being dropped off. I was anticipating having to sit tight, but our Amazon guide had also come back with us and was free to hang out (off the clock, so to speak), so I had the opportunity to walk around Iquitos with someone who knew where they were going, and get a better feel for the city itself. We also briefly visited a government building which was doubling as a museum to the previous owners of the building – I haven’t been able to find details about it online, but it was an interesting experience; there were lots of old statues and belongings which I assume were either donated or left to the next owners.

Overall, I actually really liked Iquitos. It felt laid-back and relaxed as a city (at least the section closest to the coast), and the motocars gave it a unique feel. As with most cities, I heard there were some sketchy bits, but as we were there during the day, it wasn’t as much of an issue. I’d like to go back there (and to the Amazon) at some point in the future, except maybe with much more heavy-duty bug spray!

The flight out was uneventful, and I managed to catch the next AirportExpress bus out of the Lima airport, back to Miraflores. Until next time, Iquitos!

So it’s been a week, and several of my mosquito bites are still itchy :(. If I was to do this trip again, I’d not only take bug repellent, but also the strongest itch-relief cream I can find. I’ve been waking up itching, which is really not the best. Those mosquitoes were brutal! But the Amazon river and rainforest were beautiful, and definitely an overall fantastic experience. Highly recommended, mosquitoes aside.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s