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Peru 2000 an Amazon Adventure (part 1)

Allan James


"It is a humbling experience, and surely a healthy one, to enter a landscape that man has not been able to alter, to dominate, to twist to his own purposes."

Marston Bates/Where Winter Never Comes.

This is my own personal experiences over a twelve day period on a trip that for me was a once in a lifetime adventure and I hope that it will give you an insight on what to expect if you ever have the fortune to experience it for yourself, and of course to also have an understanding bank manager!

Peru National Flag

South America
Peru = Area circled was the destination at Iquitos


Day 1
MY adventure actually started at Glasgow Airport on the Wednesday evening flight to London/Gatwick on the 12th July and an overnight stay at a B&B near the Airport. Next morning I met Steve Pritchard and Alan Appleton at Gatwick, meeting Alan for the first time, as I had known Steve for a number of years. The flight for Atlanta USA was leaving at 11.55am and at 11am there was still no sight of our traveling companions the husband and wife team of Julian (Jools) Dignall (from www.planetcatfish.com) and his long suffering wife Clare! We boarded the flight ready to fly when the aforementioned couple scrambled aboard all stressed out before we had even started our adventure, their flight from Edinburgh was late but no worries as we all settled down for the 8 hour flight to Atlanta, Georgia.

We arrived at Atlanta Airport at 4.30pm after a good flight and had a 6-hour wait for our next connection, the Delta flight to Lima, Peru. If you ever have to hang about at this airport try the yogurt on offer, lovely, lovely!
We boarded the 10.20pm flight to Lima and tried to sleep on and off which was only broken by the hilarious antics of Alan when he woke up with a start and sent his dinner halfway down the aisle, priceless!

Day 3

Arrived in Lima, capital of Peru, at the unearthly hour of 4.30 in the morning of the 14th (I think) then we were off again on our internal flight with TACAS Airways to Iquitos on the edge of the Amazon.


Flying over the Andes


Flying over the Andes



The highlight of this flight was the view of the snow-capped Andes Mountains from the plane window, fantastic, then again from the window our first look at the Amazon Rainforest and its meandering tributaries.

Landed at Iquitos Airport which by the way has the longest name for an airport that you will ever see in the world, so long that I couldn't remember it.


Flying over the Amazon Basin


Flying over the Amazon Basin



Cezar, the local manager for Margarita Tours, met us and if there ever was a man organised, he is that man. Off we went in the minibus into town to our Hotel, the short journey was memorable as I had never seen a place like it, there seemed to be a soap opera being played out on every corner and the taxi's were something else, a fantastic and vibrant city.

We arrived at the Amazon Gardens Hotel or Hostel as they are called here where we had a small pool situated just outside the reception area. The rooms were pretty basic but comfortable. We went for a short walk around to get our bearings then retired for a short nap to recharge our batteries. Before we went out for a meal at night we met our tour guides and operators Drs. David Schleser and Devon Graham who turned out to be the two most enthusiastic people I had ever met.

We took our meal at Ari's Diner, which was recommended to us and known to the locals as "Gringolandi" as tourists usually find their way here. This is were I ate something that I thought I would never eat, Catfish!, it was the local variety labeled in the menu as 'Dourada', and most probably the large Pimelodid, Brachyplatastoma flavicans, it was very nice and I put my guilty conscience to the back of my mind.


Iquitos Taxis


Iquitos Taxis


It was a fun relaxing evening and the five of us rode back to the hotel in these fantastic taxi's which was basically a motorbike with the back cut off and double wheels welded on with a seat and canopy, great fun. Steve and I retired for the night and we woke at 5.30am with Steve suggesting that we head down to the fish market before breakfast, well why not I was on holiday.

Day 4.
This was the time that I wished that I had learned some Spanish as we had trouble communicating with the taxi driver and ended up at the Fruit Market instead, it was still interesting and I had never seen so many bananas in the one place before. After breakfast we headed off for a look at the fish exporters in town.


Siamese fighters at Rio Mamon


                                                                             Siamese fighters at Rio Mamon

First one we stopped off at was Rio Mamon and let me tell you we only got here and most other places by taxi with Devon, who was pretty fluent in the lingo.

Rio Mamon is run by an Austrian who breeds believe it or not Asian Siamese fighters which were lined up in rows on half a dozen shelves. They had lots of Cory's here notably C. fowleri and C. aeneus (Peru Gold stripes). We then headed for the second exporter, Yacarunas International Enterprise that had some nice Loracariids and Characins. In the afternoon we visited the fish and food markets an experience in itself. In the evening myself, Devon, Jools, Clare, Steve and Alan went for a few beers, the Peruvian beer is to be well recommended. We then went on to a Chinese Restaurant for a great sweet and sour and a few more beers of course.

All pictures © Allan James @ ScotCat

Follow link to part 2 of
An Amazon Adventure

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                                                                                                              Article updated = December 16, 2018
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