Thursday, January 31, 2013

Peru - Part 2 (aka my favorite part)

Okay, seriously? I could go on for HOURS about my experience at the Refugio Amazonas Eco Lodge and the exploring we did in the nearby rainforest. First off ...

Getting there
Landing at the airport in Puerto Maldonado is probably like landing no where else you've ever been before. It's one open-air building where the airline agents not only check you in, but also direct the plane once it's landed.

In order to get to the Regufio Amazonas Lodge, you take a 4 hour boat ride up river. Many of the others on the boat slept but I was too enthralled with the scenery! You pass by small villages and locals transporting their goods (usually fruit) to bigger towns to sell. Along the way you stop at a research center where you have to sign in so they can keep track of visitors to the protected area.

Tip: You can get your passport stamped here!

boats to take you up river

messing around with the fancy lens we got for the trip

Along the way your guides will point out many of the interesting plants and animals that you pass while on your trip.

this butterfly is known for eating the turtles tears

macaws kissing (that lens really came in handy!)

the capybara aka gross monster

Refugio Amazonas Lodge
Okay really? This is my idea of paradise. You get off the boat and start an uphill trek to the lodge. You walk for about 20 minutes through dense forest and then all of a sudden, BAM! The lodge is right there in front of it. It's BEAUTIFUL.

me seconds before my life was changed
When you first get there you get a short introduction to the lodge. There is only electricity for a few hours a day, you are provided three meals, oh and there is a bar and a spa. The best part about the lodge is how open it is. The main lodge has very few full walls, most are open to the forest surrounding you. Even the rooms have only three walls! Each room is missing a fourth wall and is open to the forest. Because of this, each room also has a safe to put any snacks you may have on you in case some cheeky monkeys come into your room.

Tip: During the introduction they'll ask if anyone has any food allergies (I have a dairy allergy). They take note of this and are extremely accommodating. That night for dinner, everyone was served lasagna, and I got a different dairy-free meal. 

eating at Refugio is the closest I'm ever going to get to Hogwats

missing fourth wall, aka best hotel room ever

they may not have electricity, but they have beer!

looking into the main lodge

walkway to the rooms

 Early in the morning we left for a canoe ride at a nearby pond where we were able to see a lot of wildlife

After the canoe ride it was off to explore the forest!

mr OMG & I fit inside this massive tree!

we visited a local farm where we tried local fruits right off the branch!

one of my favorite activities of the day

view from the top with the sun setting

well deserved beer after a day of forest trekking!

Unfortunately we only spent two nights here so it was time to go way earlier than I would have liked. I would suggest spending at least two days in this awe-inspiring place, more if you have the time! It was a quicker 2 hour ride back to Puerto Maldonado and then a bus ride back to the airport and we were gone. Though, we did meet one more friend ...

talk about a cheeky monkey

Part 1: Haucachina Oasis, Nazca Lines & Paracas National Reserve
Part 2: Puerto Maldonado/Amazon Rainforest
Part 3: Cusco
Part 4: Machu Picchu
Overall Trip Guide

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