First of, I apologize for waiting so long to write this post. It has been crazy and exciting being back home, so I’ve kind of put this off for too long. Here is to hoping I can still do the weekend justice two weeks later!
The drive was about 3-4 hours, and we unfortunately left late, but on our way we took a pit stop at La Casa del Arbol. This stop was quick but definitely exhilarating! After driving up the Andes, we walk a little further up and at the top find a tree house overlooking everything around the Andes and two swings. There was a line of people waiting for the swings, and we definitely joined the line. The swings were pushed by “trained professionals” who loved to push the swing as high as possible and even spin it around for the real scaredy cats! The view from the swing was beautiful as you could see everything below. While the screams of those before me made me nervous, the experience was more freeing than scary. Feeling the wind on my face and seeing the beautiful view below was definitely the start of a great last weekend!
Once we left La Casa del Arbol, we headed to Puyo, where we would be staying for the night. It was dark when we got there, but the humidity definitely told us we were in the rain forest. The hotel was absolutely gorgeous, though it was not your typical hotel. Each room was made of wood and each was its own separate house. They looked like tree houses in the middle of the rainforest – SO COOL. Walking to the rooms felt like walking through the jungle, but with a pool and cafeteria. The rooms didn’t have much in them, but it almost made the experience better! To add even more frosting on the delicious cake, I didn’t see one spider at the hotel and was almost mosquito bite free.
The next day, was probably one of the best parts of the trip! We went on an awesome Amazonian tour. The first stop was the “giant” fish. I was definitely skeptical when they tour guide brought out a pan of what looked like dog food – how big can the fish be if they’re eating kibble, right? – but quickly became full of nerves when he later brought out a plate of chunks of raw chicken. Seriously, RAW chicken. CHUNKS. Our host dad volunteered and was instructed to hold a chunk over the water. All of a sudden we saw huge shadows coming towards us and when he threw the meat into the water… WHOOOOOSH! Like 6 huge water serpent looking fish came out of the water with their huge round mouth, fighting over the chicken. If you have ever seen Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, these babies looked like the giant snake thing that Harry had to kill. CRAZY! We all screamed at the sound of the “fish” snapping up to get the chicken and there were definitely tears of fear shed by the little ones. It was definitely a great way to wake up for the rest of the tour!
After the giant fish, we took a track into the rain forest. The walk was about 30 minutes and the prize at the end was a beautiful waterfall that we all got to swim under! It was definitely a magical place, well worth the walk. We saw so many gorgeous plants, flowers and butterflies, and on the way back some of us on the tour ate ANTS. Apparently they taste like lemon. I almost regret not eating them – guess that means I’ve got to go back!
The last stop on our trip was a tour to a village of indigenous people. We learned about their culture, got our faces painted with local plants, played with a MONKEY and a parrot, and we took a beautiful, scenic canoe ride down Puyo river. Everything about the day was incredible. It’s hard to believe that all of those adventures were just 2 weeks ago! Seriously, what an amazing, indescribable, unforgettable experience. We also ended the trip with a shot of amazonian whiskey, so that wasn’t to bad either.