The Jungle Series – Getting to the Amazon (Part 1)

Getting to the Amazon

Each week, I will be delivering various topics about my trip. From Snakes to trees, from Pink Dolphins to Peruvian food and of course, lots of different tropical fish but we are going to start today talking about Getting to Peru, the City of Iquitos and how to get to the jungle.

The Country of Peru is around 30 Million people of which 1/3 of them live in the Capital City of Lima. I flew into Lima, but now Copa Airlines offers a flight Direclty to Iquitos. I would recommend this as you actually probably fly over Iquitos on your way to Lima. Of the 30 million people 75% of them are urban, the remaining 25% or 7 million live in the hills or in the Jungle. The city of Iquitos is located in the Loretto “State” which has around a million people, of that, Iquitos has about half a million.
What is fascinating about Iquitos is that you CAN’T GET THERE BY TRAIN OR CAR. It is entirely surrounded by water. This is also an important point for the preserved culture of the city. There is a special feeling of being welcome when you are amongst the locals in Iquitos. If you are a Gringo and you have made it there, you are considered rich. People know this, but I do believe they are primarily genuine people and I will be talking more about the people of this are more in a later video.
I booked my trip intentionally around my 34th birthday. My flight cost $1200 bucks, the tour itself was 1500, This included 6 days on a boat with all meals paid for. The tour was done by Devon Graham of Margareta Tours. He has been doing this trip for 20 years. Let me put it to you this way. I am of the opinion that perhaps only a few other people on the planet know this region as well as Devon. When the Shedd Aquarium was doing their Amazon Exhibit, they called Devon.
When I left Kentucky, it was snowing. I arrived in Iquitos and it was over 80 degrees and the sun was blasting me. Guellermo arranged a drive who I had met on my last trip to pick me up. Of with the shoes and on with the sandal.
I elected to stay again at one of the nicest hotels in Iquitos, the Victoria Regia. It cost a wopping 66 bucks a night. I drank several beers on my birthday and ended up puking three times the following morning, I felt like crap until noon, but it didn’t matter, because I was getting on a boat to explore the Jungle.
The boat was the same boat I had been on last time, although it had been redone as wood deteriorates pretty quickly in the Amazon.
Our plan was to head North into the Napo River. Unlike many of the areas, the Napo river starts above the equator. The thinking was that this would have lower water levels, and thus, better fish netting.
As I said in last weeks Species Sunday about Pink Dolphins. The Andes Mountains are actually a rising mountain range. We were at about 250 feet above Sea Level and about 2000 miles from the actual mouth of the Amazon river. We were 3 degrees south of the equator. Let me put it to you this way. The Amazon river is MASSIVE. Ever driven across the Ohio river of the Mississippi. Yeah- Take that wide and multiply it by 1000 different channels and tributaries and you might be getting close. When I asked Devon how much of the river he had actually seen- he replied- maybe ONE %.

Oh and as soon as we boarded the boat and left the channel we saw Pink Amazon River Dophins. Magically the hangover was gone.