Well this past weekend was one for the books! We went on an IES trip to the Amazon Rainforest, yes THE Amazon Rainforest. Not many people have the chance to get there and now I understand why because it is pretty hard to travel there, so I feel extremely grateful for this opportunity. We did a lot while we were there, but I’m just going to do some highlights of our trip (if you want more details, talk to me about it! I’d love to tell you more!)
- Traveling day: Getting to the Amazon, as I said, is an adventure in itself. It took three different buses (including an open air bus), two boats, and one airplane to get there, a total of 11 hours of traveling. It was a long day, but actually really fun and exciting. The whole day I never felt sick of traveling, but rather was enjoying the new surroundings and kept thinking about how remote our location was going to be.
- La Estación de Biodiversidad Tiputini: We stayed at a research center in Tiputini which is located within Yasuni National Park, one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. We lived in screened in cabanas, didn’t have wifi, and only had six hours of electricity per day. Living simplistically was actually refreshing and was one of my favorite parts of the whole experience. I didn’t have to worry about my emails or what was happening on social media, instead I got to focus on everything that the Amazon has to offer.
- Hiking: We went on several hikes throughout the weekend where we saw flora and fauna that were new to us. I was able to see 3 different types of monkeys (10 types live in this region), unique birds (including a toucan), poisonous insects, peccaries (sort of like a wild pig), snakes, and an endless amount of incredible trees and plants. On one hike we got to take a canoe ride through a lagoon that was apparently filled with piranhas and other not so nice wildlife. On our hikes sometimes we would walk through ankle deep water, trek across broken bridges, and we did it all in the humidity of the rainforest. On our last night we took a hike which was definitely eerie, but so cool! Keep in mind that the previous night we listened to a presentation about all of the animals in this region that come out at night, including deadly spiders, creepy anteaters, and everyone’s favorite: the jaguar. The whole time we were hiking I thought about that presentation and was a bit paranoid, but it was sweet to see and hear so many species that come out at night (and there are a lot that’s for sure). I truly loved the hiking here though and was able to observe so much during those times.
- Swimming: Tiputini is located on the Río Napo, a tributary of the Amazon River, and we were able to swim in it. We wore lifejackets of course and would swim around in the currents. One of the best parts of the trip was when we were able to float down the river ourselves. We took a boat down the river for a while, then jumped off and let the currents take us back to the research center. It took about an hour to float back and it was filled with a lot of laughter and some good views of the forest around us. No worries, the piranhas don’t really hangout outside of the lagoons (at least that’s what they told us…).
Overall, the Amazon was the trip of a lifetime and makes me feel thankful that there are parts of the world with so much biodiversity that is pure and untouched. Even though we didn’t spot any jaguars (maybe thankfully?), after this adventure, I can now say that I’ve eaten ants (they tasted like lemons strangely enough), hiked with monkeys swinging above me, and have been able to witness the beauty of the Amazon Rainforest.