After putting off a visit to the Amazon time and time again, I finally decided that there was no better way to kick off the decade than by finally leaping out of my comfort zone. Admittedly, I am not one for the jungle, despite being, or maybe because I was born in the jungle country of the Philippines. My undying love for that country is only rivaled by my undying hate for mosquitoes, humidity, and heat. Three things of which that the Amazon Rainforest definitely has no shortage.
I arrived in Rurrenabaque and immediately fell in love. Before the plane even landed, I was already gaping at the incredible landscapes that the Amazon offered. Lush greens in every direction, going on infinitely. Only the brown, raging rivers separated the dense, inhospitable jungle. I was giddy like a schoolchild on Christmas morning. It had been far too long since my last “real” adventure, having basically just hopped around familiar territory in Peru and Bolivia since conquering the Cordillera Huayhuash two months prior.
The following few days in the Amazon was everything I expected and more. Sweaty, stinky, mosquito-ridden, and inhospitable. Caymans lurked at every turn, often visiting the shores of our campsite. Howler monkeys woke us up at 4 or 5 AM every morning, a disturbance that would have been far worse if the sunrises weren’t so damn worth waking up for. Every piece of clothing that I brought became contaminated in layers and layers of sweat, mud, and insect repellant. And above all that, nothing could wipe the cheeky grin off of my face, the type of happiness and fulfillment that can only come from new, full-hearted, and unadulterated adventures.
I could ramble on, but pictures are worth a thousand words, and I probably took close to a thousand photos. So here’s a million words.
An anaconda that we ran into in a marshy field. They are a lot smaller than the movie Anaconda will have you believe. Our guide says the largest he had stumbled upon was maybe 4-5 meters, although this little guy was a lanky 2 meters at best.
Adventures in the wee hours of the day. Golden hour in the Amazon hits differently, and the next few pictures are from a sunrise mission that we undertook one tranquil morning.
Nature is metal. Our alligator friend, creatively named Allie, had recently finished munching on a porcupine. The quills of the poor animal are still stuck all over Allie’s mouth.
Update: Turns out there aren’t actually alligators in South America. Our guide often called them alligators, leading to my confusion. Allie the Cayman doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, unfortunately.
These playful monkeys were the first animals to greet us right on the onset of our journey. Some of them even skittered onto our boat to say hello, whilst others shyly tried to remain hidden behind the leaves.
One of the mornings, we went on a search to see if we could find some anacondas. The search involved a miserable trudge through swampy waters and tall grass in the blistering heat. Our search ended up successful, but the hour spent under the sweltering sun was torturous.
Our homey little lodge along the banks of the river. Many a cayman came by to visit the shores of our little campsite.
The hammocks where I spent most of my down time. Mosquitoes swarmed us at all hours of the day, making relaxation time not very relaxing. There was not much respite to be had during the sizzling afternoons. The dilemma was often to be covered up and boiling hot, or strip down and make yourself a target to the thousands of mosquitoes.
and Instagram below!
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how the first few days of the new decade looked like 🔥 back in civilization after a sweaty, slimy, greasy, grimy, mosquito-infested but all around good timey in this extra moist stretch of Bolivian Amazon!!! what an epic few days surrounded by crazy wildlife and stunning scenery. maybe I’m just too lazy to come up with a real resolution but the goal for this new year is nothing more than to keep doing what I’m doing 🌍 More of these life-at-it’s-fullest adventures where nothing can wipe away the cheeky grin off my face no matter how smelly, muddy, sweaty, and all out repulsive i may get 🤙🏽 what a way to kick it off 🌴🐍🐊