Elizabeth Sanders

Trip report: The Incas and the Amazon

Trip report: The Incas and the Amazon

Aug 10, 2017|Holbrook in the Field| by Holbrook Travel

Holbrook's Elizabeth Sanders recounts her trip to Peru, where she experienced the Amazon rainforest and the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.

The first day of my adventure started early, but I was so happy to be traveling to Peru on the first running of our program, The Incas and the Amazon, an active 12-night program for grandparents and their grandchildren. We stayed the first two nights in the Miraflores neighborhood of Lima, where we explored the Larco Museum and El Malecon, a seaside park with paved sidewalks for walking or running and a few shops and restaurants. There are great views of the ocean from here, as well as local people out and about.



On the third day, we transferred to the airport for our 9 am flight to Puerto Maldonado, known as the "gateway to the Amazon." On arrival we were met by our guide from Posada Amazonas, who would be with us for our entire stay there. We then joined other guests for the drive to Rainforest Expeditions' office, where we were given a cold fruit juice drink, and had time to pack a smaller bag for the trip to the rainforest, leaving our larger main bag in the locked storage at the office. On the bus transfer to the river port, we were given a snack of fruit and roasted Brazil nuts. Once on the boat we were given out lunch which was similar to a fried rice dish but wrapped in a banana leaf.


The Tambopata River is red in color as seen from the airplane, but less so when riding on it. I love boat rides, even if they are over 4 hours! But this was only a 2 hour trip and it was interesting to get to know the other passengers as well as see the beautiful river vistas. We got to the lodge’s port, which was not as I ever envisioned a port to look like. We pulled up along the bank of the river, which is about 20 feet high, meaning we were climbing wooden stairs with hand rails (thank goodness), up about 200 steps.  

The lodge is beautiful and made from native wood that is reddish in color when cured and processed. The superior rooms had electricity but the standard rooms had candles and kerosene lamps for lights. All meals were served buffet style and the food was awesome! There were potato dishes with avocado, tuna salad, quinoa soup, roasted chicken, french fries, beans and rice, eggs, fresh fruit, rolls and toast, yogurt, grilled fish and salads of cabbage and lettuce with other raw veggies.


On the fourth day, we visited the parrot clay lick early in the morning. We were hoping for possible visits by any of the parrot species but specifically the Scarlet or Green-winged Macaw. Unfortunately they were no-shows to our party. We went back to the lodge in time to make the trip to the oxbow lake (a U-shaped body of water). We didn't see the family of giant otters or the elusive white caiman, but the slow drifting along the glassy smooth lake was so peaceful. It was one of my favorite excursions. We saw some birds such as the Hoatzin, which roosts in the tree branches and basically hops from branch to branch, as it's not a great flier. We also got close to a beautiful Tiger Heron that was fishing and another heron that actually had caught a fish! We learned to fish for piranha and a handful of people caught some of the smaller ones. You have to sink the hook deeper than you might think.

Later, we went to the botanical gardens, where we toured the medicinal plants with the shaman. Afterwards we were treated to medicinal preparations such as one that mimics Viagra and another that mimics Red Bull. One person in the group bought a bottle of the medicinal Viagra imitation!


We went back to the lodge in time to catch up on email and Facebook before a delicious dinner. Since it had been hot and humid during the day and early evening, that night I found my pjs extremely damp! This place was more humid than even Florida! But surprisingly I often used the fleece blanket around 4 am.

The next day we went back to the clay lick, but this time we went later in the morning.  This time we had planned well (and were lucky), seeing two Scarlet Macaws at the lick, but no more than that. It was great to watch them as they cautiously took turns at the lick; one eating and the other in the nearby tree watching for predators!


On the boat ride back, we were able to watch the sunset over the river, the perfect ending to the day!



This post contains excerpts from a series originally published in 2013.

Click here to continue reading about Elizabeth's adventure.

Click here to read the full series from the beginning.

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