After eating at the delicious “Blah Blah” sandwiches (seriously, their secret sauce was amazing!) the previous night, we were well rested and ready for our big day in the Amazon jungle!
All we were told about this day trip was that we would leave around 9am and return around 8pm, we needed to wear our swimsuits under our clothes, and we would get a pair of rain boots and a poncho before boarding the bus. There was no itinerary we were shown or told about, no age requirements discussed (they knew Carter would be coming), and no waiver signed. We’re pretty used to that though since it seems like it’s only common in the US, but we also had no idea what the day would be like.
After boarding the bus in the morning, we drove for about 2 hours to get to the Amazon jungle! We did a lot of off-roading in our bus, and quite honestly I’m surprised we made it without any flat tires or something breaking.
Our first stop was a monkey rescue center. Our guide walked us around (speaking in Spanish so I really had no idea what he was saying most of the time), showing us the monkeys and other roaming creatures. Carter loved pointing and talking to them! The rest of the group got quite a kick out of Carter’s reaction to the monkeys.
After the monkey rescue, we drove to another location where we were instructed to put on our rain boots and our ponchos as we got off the bus. We walked, and walked through the rain and jungle until we came to a clearing with several small huts. We sat down under a canopy over looking the river and our guide started saying something about how high and fast the river was because of how much rain they had gotten recently. He said it would be really good for the canoes. “Oh, that’s nice that people who will be using the canoes will have an easier time on the river,” I thought to myself because obviously we weren’t going to be getting on canoes with it raining like this.
Sleeping Carter. This kid can seriously sleep any where!
The river was really moving fast!
One minute we were sitting under a dry canopy overlooking the river thinking that we were waiting to each lunch, and the next minute we were being shuffled onto these canoes. Oh my goodness. And to top it off, Carter woke up right as I was trying to get on the canoe and started freaking out that the poncho was over him. I was trying to keep my balance and keep him calm so I could safely get to my spot and sit down, but he had other plans… After several close calls of almost falling over, I sat down and wiggled out of the poncho enough to hold over Carter and I so we could see.
After everyone was seated we were taking off down the river! At certain points we were going through some intense rapids. Well, they probably weren’t intense for an experienced kayaker or even a river rafting group, but for us in our handmade canoe they were huge! We had water splashing in the boat and soaking us on several occasions. The man in the back controlling the canoe had to try and shovel some of the water out during the calmer parts of the river.These canoes looked like they came straight out of a tree. Like literally. You could see very well that someone dug these out by hand. There weren’t any benches in them either, just straight on the bottom with several inches of water!
Me and Carter hanging out under my poncho. I was soaking wet and my arms were killing me from having to hold it up! Carter stayed very dry, all things considered, and he enjoyed the canoe ride as long as the poncho was up. He would say “Whoa!” and “Ooo!” a lot haha and when water would come over the canoe he would say “Uh oh!” over and over.
Carter all bundled up after making it to the bus from the river. He was pretty tired since his nap was interrupted by the excitement of the canoe!
After the canoe ride, we drove to another location where we suited up in our ponchos and rain boots, then went onto a native tribe’s land. We hung up our rain coats and began our welcoming with this nasty drink that everyone had to have. It’s seen as very rude to excuse yourself from having any, so I tried that tiniest amount possible. And it was gross. Our guide downed the rest of it with a smile after everyone had some.
Once the nasty drink was finished, our guide pulled out this giant blow dart gun. We all took turns trying to hit the parrot. As you can tell from my face, I obviously hit it in the heart 🙂 Yeah right… I missed the parrot and hit the fence on the other side of the hut! Blow dart guns just aren’t my thing. Oh, and Scott didn’t do much better than I did haha.
Everyone else in the group was actually pretty good with the blow dart gun and they all at least hit the parrot. We then headed to another hut filled with handmade native jewelry and pottery when everyone had their turn with the gun. The jewelry was all beautiful! I kept myself from buying a necklace (because Carter would most likely break it the first time I wore it) and got a beautiful bracelet instead.
Carter was mostly interested in drumming on the wooden stumps while I looked at all the jewelry 🙂
In this same hut, there was a man and a woman painting tribal patterns on anyones face who wanted one. Scott and I opted for Carter to get his painted instead of either of us haha. It was a good idea in theory and we’re lucky it didn’t get on too many things. This was Carter’s first time getting his face painted and he did great! Whenever the stick would come close to his face, Carter would sort of half close his eyes haha. He looked super cute with his face painted!
We FINALLY had lunch after everyone got their face painted. It was a really delicious chicken and rice dish and it was very filling.
After lunch we headed on a hike. When we were gathered at the beginning of the trail, the guide looked at me holding Carter and said something in Spanish. Scott said, “Oh I’m sure she’ll be fine.” And I piped in, “Yeah! No worries, I can definitely do this!” I had no idea what the guide had said, and I had NO idea what kind of hike we were going on. Unfortunately, both of our cameras died at this point so we don’t have any pictures… you’ll just have to believe me on this one!
We hiked straight up a mountain. And it was muddy. Very muddy. There were stairs during certain parts of the trail, but they were at least 1.5-2 feet tall! Not very helpful. The hike was intense, but it felt really good to be pushing my body that hard. Oh yeah, and Carter was on my back this whole time. You know, just an extra 25lbs to help my legs really feel the burn! I’m very used to carrying Carter though (I wore him for the first half of the hike and Scott wore him for the second half) so it didn’t throw me off at all really. I was thrown off balance when I took Carter off my back haha. It took me a while to adjust to not having that extra weight on me!
At the top of the mountain was a rope swing. We all took turns swinging before continuing the hike. The swing was incredible! It swung out far past the trees and you could see the river. Also to note, the swing was literally a rope tied to a tree so I did not swing with Carter on my back haha.
We hiked back down the mountain (way worse than hiking up because of all of the mud) and then around a different part of the mountain until we made it to a waterfall. There was a nice swimming spot so we got Carter all ready in his swim suit. He was brave enough to handle the cold until it was at his belly button, and that’s about where he stayed. He loved picking up rocks and splashing them down into the water making all sorts of fun sound effects.
Sadly, our time at the waterfall ended and we headed back to the bus. We were all exhausted and looking forward to a relaxing bus ride home. We ate a few snacks and Carter fell asleep for the rest of the ride. This really was an amazing experience for us in the Amazon. We were able to spend time with a really good friend, meet some new people, and challenge ourselves in several circumstances. Definitely one of my favorite experiences of our entire trip.
Just for fun, here are some extra pictures from the day: