Our boat journey took a little longer than we expected (even though we had still been prepared for quite a long trip!). Unfortunately this meant our time to travel deeper into the Amazon was limited. We didn’t let this stop us though and found a trip we could do with our litmited time.
Our hostel in Iquitos, Green Tracks, has a highly recommened four/five day trip deep in to the Amazon jungle. We only had two and a bit days to play with before our flight to Ecuador so opted for their trip to El Chino.
El Chino is a 200 strong community in the jungle and is five hours away from Iquitos by boat. We were to stay with Jorge and his family for the next two nights learning more about the jungle. We did a jungle trek, fished and canoed. If it weren’t for the misquitoes, I’m a magnet for them, (and our upcoming flight) we definitely would have stayed longer!
We arrived in El Chino at lunchtime and after eating a tasty meal cooked by Jorge’s wife we headed off on a three hour trek into the jungle. On the trek we learnt a bit about the village; it’s population and the fact the number of families living there (50) hasn’t increased or decreased the last five years or so, saw the foundations of the new collegio, and also about the plants growing in the jungle. Amongst the plants were the “jungle knife”: a plant with razor sharp leaves, and the “jungle chair”: a tree who’s branches wind round making a seat.
We were lucky enough to catch sight of some monkeys swinging high above us too! Unfortunately they proved impossible to get a photo of, so you’ll just have to believe me.
Unlike our fishing trip in the Pantanals, this one on the Amazon was a lot more entertaining.
Within a few seconds we felt a pull on our line and after a few attempts at reeling in the fish I successfully hauled in a sardine! Over the next few hours we caught piranhas, sabados, and a lot more! There were so many fish that if you went 30 seconds without feeling a pull, you knew you’d lost your bait to nibbling piranhas!
As a side note, did you know piranhas make a funny grunting sound? I certainly didn’t before!
As we headed off back to Jorge’s home we stopped by another part of the river to see electric eels – they were huge!
We enjoyed some of our catch for dinner: can’t get much fresher than that!
When we first looked at trips in to the Amazon (before we even started this journey!) we knew we wanted to canoe along the river, but couldn’t find any trips offering canoes that weren’t motorised. In El Chino we got to paddle down streams, past broken trees and over sunken trunks. We spotted a monkey sleeping high above us too!
The following morning we woke early at 4am and got on the small motor boat. As we travelled down stream the sky ahead was lit up by lightening every few seconds.
Just as I was nodding off to sleep I got a blow to the ear, followed by the sound of something slapping in the floor of the boat. A fish that had jumped out the water found itself on our boat (via my ear)! There were a few more close escapes as hundreds of fish could be seen jumping in and out of the water.
Our Amazon adventure was topped off by watching a group of river dolphins swimming nearby. The perfect ending to a great adventure!