Our days started really early, waking up at 6am in order to be ready for a canoe excursion at 6.30am. In Rosario, I usually wake up before 6am so it wasn’t a problem, although I wasn’t able to do anything more than grunt an acknowledgement when our guide came around and woke us up with a cheerful “Good morning!”
That first morning we saw more monkeys and birds (toucans, parrots, macaws, stinky turkeys and kingfishers).
I was discovering rapidly that it’s incredibly difficult to take photos of wildlife from the canoe. You would need an outstanding zoom lens, I reckon, and the canoe needs to be absolutely still. I love my Sony RX100iv, which is great for its size, but I ended up with a bunch of pictures full of trees where I couldn’t see what I was trying to capture in the first place.
I noticed that the others (even those with DSLRs) also soon gave up trying to take photos of everything that our guide pointed out, and only reached for the camera when the canoe stopped or when the wildlife in question was very close.
I can’t remember what this jungle fruit is called, but it’s very similar to the Ecuadorean guava (below, not the same as the fruit with the same name in English).
We tried some of it but it wasn’t ripe yet and didn’t have much taste.
In any case, I really liked those early morning canoe excursions – a laid-back and mellow way to start the day.
We got back to the lodge at about 8.30am in time for breakfast: a scrumptious spread of empanadas, scrambled eggs, juice, sliced pineapple and watermelon and bread with jam and butter on the side. It was then that I realized how much I’ve missed sliced bread! In Rosario, we make bread fairly often but it’s in the form of buns or rolls. Sliced bread is something else altogether – and it tastes totally different too! I consumed a lot of sliced bread over those few days and kept raving to Linda about how good it was.
After a short break, we went for a jungle walk at 10am which lasted about 3 hours. It was fascinating – our guide told us about medicinal uses for the plants that we saw, including plants used to treat diabetes, acne and cleanse the stomach of parasites. There was also a plant which apparently acts like a natural contraceptive!
Even when trees die (it’s quite common for them to fall over because their roots are quite shallow), new life springs up rapidly:
This (above) is a colony of ants living in a particular type of tree, with which they have a symbiotic relationship. You can actually eat the ants (I didn’t, although others in the group did) and they apparently taste a bit like lemon!
And if you’re ever lost in the jungle and need some fresh water:
Above is a parasitic tree growing on (and slowly choking the life out of) its host tree. It’s a tough world.
This tree (above) is known as a “jungle telephone” because if you hit the roots with a stick, the sound reverberates for miles and apparently that’s how you call for help if you get lost in the jungle.
The tree above is known as a walking tree because it grows new roots to stabilize it when it leans in a certain direction, making it look like it’s walking.
A spiny palm tree below – touching not recommended!
We saw a 400-year-old tree which dwarfed everything else. No mean feat considering we were in the middle of the jungle!
We also saw lots of insects. In the jungle, everything seems bigger and deadlier. No snakes were spotted though! I’m not too cut up about it.
I was hoping to see a sloth but we never did, although we saw plenty of monkeys.
After lunch, we had a break, during which Linda and I played chess (something which we came to do a lot – a combination of there being a chess board around and no internet), while most of the others took a nap or just lay in the hammocks. There was 1 hammock per room and it was so comfortable. I just wish there were more hammocks.
At 4pm we went for another canoe excursion – floating downriver without the motor, which was nice but also had me dozing off. This tour involved a lot of sitting!
After dinner, we went for a night walk through the jungle. It seemed totally different at night, and the insects seemed a lot more active. We saw huge insects, some of whom were poisonous.
There was also a click beetle which has lights in its head like headlights!
My flashlight came in super handy here, although it’s possible to manage without one as almost everyone had one.
The night ended with more stargazing, chess and beer-drinking. The lodge sells a big bottle of Pilsener for just $2.50. Incredibly cheap!