There is definitely something magical about the Amazon River. I have traveled a great deal in Europe, Africa and Central America, but my Amazon trip was by far my favorite. I worried because I was traveling with a company new to me and I worried about the heat and insects. No need to worry.
I selected International Expeditions for two reasons:
She was able to ease my concerns for the heat and insects. Yes, the Amazon is hot but IE has that under control. We were up and out EARLY each day to beat the heat and the naturalists made sure we didn't stand still for too long in one place. BEST of all they provided us with frozen washcloths half way into each mini trip. Our two naturalists used to live on the Amazon River and it was evident their love and concern for the river and the people.
Our naturalists knew the flora, fauna and people on the river too. My favorite event (actually there were two favorites) was the day we were heading upriver and Johnny, our naturalist, spotted a family floating down river on a raft with bananas. They had been on the river for 6 days (3 more to go before Iquitos) and we stopped to talk with them and to share news of Iquitos and our cold water. Before parting the family insisted on giving us a bunch of bananas which we ate all week. The river people are very sharing and friendly.
My other favorite event was visiting a local school and village. I have visited school and villages in Africa; however, this was different. The children showed us their village, the young men explained how to make a canoe, and the teacher allowed us time with the students to dance and tell stories. When I left, I really felt as if I had begun to know the Amazon and her people.
There was nothing I could do to improve this trip. As a former school administrator, I was especially impressed with the cleanliness of the ship. I observed how the crew worked together as a team to provide the best service for us and the chef served wonderful Peruvian dished for each mean while also meeting our dietary needs every day. Finally a small band entertained us nightly with local music.
What could be better? The trip was wonderful.
Two tips for the Amazon traveller:
— Jan Cowin
© All photos courtesy of Jan Cowin