The Amazon

The Amazon touches 11 countries and is the defining feature of South America. By its very nature jungle is difficult to access. Rivers are the highways of the amazon and usually the only means of reliable transportation.

We knew that we would visit the Amazon at some point on our trip through South America. The Amazon is closest to the Pacific ocean in Ecuador, thus making it the easiest and least expensive country to access it. We wanted to see the Amazon in its purest state, primary forest, so we chose to visit the Cuyabeno reserve.

An overnight bus ride from quito and a few hours on a long boat brought us to Samona Lodge. It occupies a beautiful stretch of river. We were lucky to share the lodge with only four other guests that we got along with well.

Each evening we road a long boat to a nearby lake to swim, spot crocodiles, and catch glimpses of pink river dolphins. We made many walks into the forest, with mud sometimes coming up to our knees.

In the mornings and early evenings I climbed the camp’s tower and listened to the sounds of the forest. I was usually alone. I learned to recognize the calls of the various birds and animals. It was the essence of relaxation.

Our guide, Fabricio, was an encyclopedia of knowledge about the Amazon. We tried, unsuccessfully, to stump him with our questions and it was impossible. He took us to a nearby village where we learned to make cassava bread the traditional way. We also visited a shaman who told us the story of his life and how he heals people with the medicine he finds growing in the forest.

We had a wonderful 4 days in the Amazon. Were there bugs? More than I care to remember, but we expected that. Was there mud? More than I will ever need, but it was a fun part of the experience. Was it beautiful? Beyond words…

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Scott Dusek is a writer and photography from Seattle, Washingon. He has spent over five years on the road traveling to over 60 countries. When Scott is not writing you can find him trekking, climbing, and scuba diving in far flung corners of the world.