We recently had an amazing 4 days away in the Amazon. It was one of the most incredible experiences, and I would whole heartedly encourage everyone to visit this special place.
Day 1: After an overnight bus from Quito to Lago Agrio, we waited patiently to be picked up and taken to our lodge. A bus arrived, for what was a 2 hour bus ride to a meeting point where we would enjoy lunch and also change transportation mode to canoe. After about maybe 3 minutes in the canoe, we came across our first bit of wildlife – a baby anaconda… An awesome introduction to what the next 4 days would be like.
Along the ride, we saw much more wildlife including sloths, monkeys, many birds and even a caiman. We arrived at our lodge – Siona, to meet the beautiful people who run it and to settle into our (unexpectedly) luxurious accommodations. We had a beautiful room complete with four poster bamboo bed, private ensuite and balcony.
We headed back out later in the afternoon for another round of wildlife spotting which included the beautiful pink dolphins. Everyone also had the chance to jump into the lagoon at sunset – which we decided not to do (we were not brave enough!).
We also went for an night walk through the jungle which was our chance to see HUGE frogs and LOTS of spiders. We went back to the lodge for a delicious three course dinner, and to settle in for an incredible sleep in true darkness.
Day 2: We started the day with a buffet breakfast and then took the canoe across the lagoon to then walk through the jungle and back to the lodge. We learnt all about the flora and fauna of the forest. My favourite part was learning about this particular type of mushroom that uses an ant as its host and slowly grows itself by killing the ant.
After the jungle walk, we arrived back at the lodge for a three course lunch, and a relaxing afternoon. At about 4pm, we went back out on the canoe to look for some more wildlife. There was another opportunity for a sunset swim in the lagoon, and this time Matt was brave enough to jump in!
On this night, we went out looking for night creatures again, but this time in the canoe. It was a highly eventful evening when our guide Luis spotted a Boa Constrictor in the tree. The canoe pulled up as close as it could to the tree and he managed to pull the Boa out of the tree and into his hands. In the process of getting the snake, it bit him on the hand but that did not stop him in the slightest. After giving us all the opportunity to touch the Boa, he returned it back to its home in the tree.
After a little bit more night time spotting of animals, and admiring the amount of stars in the sky, it was time to head back for another dinner feast and rest!
Day 3: It was time to take a break from animal searching, and go and meet a local community. In the morning, we had Gladys show us how to make Yuca bread – Yuca is a root which is extracted, peeled, washed, grated, dried, and cooked to make bread. Yuca can also be boiled and eaten as is, which we found to be very similar to potato.
In the afternoon, we went to meet the Shaman of the Siona community. His name was Rafael and he spoke to us about his journey to become a Shaman. He had studied for 12-15 years and is well respected in his community for curing the sick with medicinal plants from the jungle, and also removing any bad energy. What surprised me most was that Rafael was 55 years young, but was also a great grandfather!!!
We were able to see Rafael do a cleansing ritual on a volunteer from the group and we also were able to watch Rafael use his blowpipe with perfect aim. Matt also had a go with the blowpipe, but didn’t quite hit the target.
After returning from the village, we had one more chance to go out for a sunset cruise and it was the best one yet. We floated peacefully in the lagoon and really enjoyed how spectacular the sunset was.
We returned for our last three course dinner and to rest, before our final day in the Amazon. 😦
Day 4: We woke up very early to spot animals active at dawn – we got incredibly lucky and had at least 5 pink dolphins swimming around the lagoon close by to where our canoe had stopped. We also spotted more monkeys (now up to a total of 9 different species, out of 10 that exist in this area) and lots more birds (toucans, macaws, vultures, snake birds, hoatzins aka stinky birds, kingfishers, woodpeckers).
It was time for our last breakfast, and to pack up and say goodbye to Siona Lodge. We had such an unbelievable time and we are so glad we decided to visit the Amazon.