Since moving to Colombia in January, my landlord Juan and I have talked continuously about going on a trip together and the weekend Nov 16-21, was when we finally put our words to actions! For 6 days and 5 nights, we would be exploring Leticia, the most south city in Colombia and home to the Amazon. While packing my backpack, I knew that this trip would be nothing similar to what I’ve experienced before and that I would be facing many fears.
Day 1: We landed in the Leticia airport in the early afternoon, where we were picked up by a guy from our hostel. The weather was hot and sticky and to be honest, outside of sports, I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much in my life outside of this trip so we were VERY fortunate that our hostel had a pool. We dropped of our stuff and ventured out to explore the town. We met this man, Jorge, very nice man! Who took us in his boat ‘lancha,’ to Santa Rosa, Peru. A small nearby island, great for lunch! We ate traditional Peruvian food and I was reunited with my favourite Peruvian beer, Cuzqueña Negra. Later back at the hostel, we met two other guys in our dorm room who would be joining us the next day for our night in the jungle. As the next day was jam packed, we took it fairly easy that evening.
Day 2: Overnight there was a major thunderstorm, which caused several mangos from the trees above our dorm room to drop on the steel roof of the building. Yes this made a huge bang and yes, it made me jump every time. Because of this, our 7:30AM wakeup came earlier than preferred. Before leaving the hostel, we were handed hammocks and rain boots, all prepared for our day and night ahead. In the afternoon, we went to one park where we were greeted by monkeys and an anaconda. These monkeys and I did not get along whatsoever (see photo). In the evening, with our guide, we were dropped off by boat in literally the middle of the jungle where we set up camp. Our hammocks hung from the trees and we created a fire, that we would be cooking dinner on that night. While we were waiting for the platano to cook, we were picked up again by a boat and taken alligator hunting. Because that’s a great idea on the Amazon river while it’s pitch black outside. When it came time to bed, I was counting on the fact that I was exhausted hoping that I would fall asleep quickly and not wake up at all. I had to erase my mind from the fact that I was sleeping in the jungle, getting eaten by mosquitos because literally there was no way out of this until morning.
Day 3: My sleep in the hammock wasn’t terrible and I’m actually pretty impressed with myself that I was able to do that, given that I have zero camping background. We had a yummy breakfast, followed by fishing for pirañas (again, whyyyyyyy), before embarking on an 18km hike through the jungle. Halfway through the trek, we stopped again to cook lunch. Pasta with chicken, along with a salad. At this point, I learned a very handy trick! I had gotten stung by a bee in my hand and my guide rubbed salt on it. This took the sting away and prevented swelling! I was impressed and definitely going to be carrying a bit of salt with me during the summer for this purpose. Despite the many bizarre moments that I was thrown into, the Night in the Jungle was definitely a highlight of the weekend.
Day 4: This day was definitely more low-key after the previous few were absolute nuts. We ventured out to several surrounding Indigenous communities and islands, where we were created by dozens of monkeys and happy people. We also came across sloths, turtles, parrots and the largest lily pads in the world (which to be honest, I didn’t know was a thing).
Day 5: Our last day we rented a tuk-tuk, which is essentially a funny looking golf cart and we drove to Brazil. We exchanged some money at the border and ventured throughout the small town, Tabitinga, where we were able to purchase a few souvenirs. Of course in Brazil they speak Portuguese so I was completely out of my element and rather than asking people if they spoke English, I was banking on finding someone who spoke Spanish. That afternoon, we tree-trekked and slept in a hut in a tree in the middle of the jungle. Very cool experience, until morning when I found a tarantula on my bed.
Overall, I think that the Amazon trip was absolutely necessary to do before heading home. It was a completely different way of life than the rest of the country from the different food offerings, different accent, etc. I would 100% recommend anyone and everyone with the slightest sense of adventure to definitely make a stop here!