April 29 – Into The Amazon

We woke up today to cloudy skies and cool temperatures.  We were served an awesome breakfast with lots of fresh fruits and baked goodies.  Then onto the bus we went for a several hour drive, downhill all the way. We dropped from 13,000ft to less than 1,000ft in elevation.  The further we travelled, the more lush and green the vegetation became.  We travelled through many small towns and villages.

We then came to the end of the road at a wide river.  It was raining heavily at the time and we all had to load up into some long canoes for the final stretch of our journey into the jungle.

A short cruise down the Napo River brought us to our next destination – Casa Del Suizo.

Perched on a bluff high above the river, Casa Del Suizo is a definite must stay place if you ever travel into the jungle of Ecuador.  The cabanas are large, clean, well equipped.  They are open air – no windows, just expansive screens to keep the bugs out. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with tons of local varieties of jungle flowers and bushes.

The monsoon rains stopped shortly after we arrived and things dried out very quickly. After a nice lunch buffet we donned our “roober boots” to prepare for a short tour to an indigenous village nearby.  We loaded onto the long canoes and travelled down river a mile or so and unloaded on an island in the middle of the river.  Then I completely understood the need for roober boots!

The vegetation was thick, and the trail very muddy.  We were led along a trail towards an aboriginal village in the jungle.  We stopped along the way to be shown some of the local flowers and plants, then we had to cross a small but deep stream.  The water was up to my waist and the roober boots became water logged.  Some young children from the village greeted us on the other side.

 We were led into a small enclave of huts on stilts where we were treated to an indigenous cleansing ceremony hosted by the owner of the hut we entered.  She showed us examples of local food and drink, and after we were able to purchase some crafts that were made locally.

We then headed outside where Wilson had a contest set up – hit the monkey with a dart from a blowgun!  We all got a chance to try and several of us were able to hit the target.  I guess we wouldn’t starve in the jungle if it came down to it….

We were then all painted with war paint derived from a local fruit.

 After all the fun and learning, we headed back to our lodging for a demonstration of what the locals eat……Ewwwwwww

Besides the local fruits and veggies, these slugs are a common part of their diet!  Not for me!

After a short rest, we all gathered for a sumptuous buffet dinner in the open dining area.  The temperature here stayed near 30deg. C most of the time during the day, with humidity around 95%.  The evenings were nice and cool –  Indoor heating, air conditioning, etc. definitely not needed.