Iquitos: Goodbye Peru

It was time to bid Peru farewell. We had done and seen so much. We had trekked, climbed and explored from one end to the other. We were tired, but tremendously happy. We went out for a last bash with Jan and Ryan in Lima. We danced our hearts out. Then a plane whisked them back to the United States. Never to waste a trip to the airport, we hopped 0n a flight to the Amazon jungle.

In South America domestic flights are cheap but flying across a border is expensive. To creatively work around that I devised an itinerary. We would fly to Iquitos, Peru and take a riverboat to Leticia, Colombia, then fly to Bogata. This saved each of us $300 US Dollars and gave us the opportunity to make another visit to the Amazon and see Nick Bode.

Iquitos is not a charming place. It is sweltering. Walking around town feels like being in an outdoor steam room. Much of the commerce here is extra-legal. It’s the kind of place that fascinates you, but also constantly reminds you to look over your shoulder.

The highlight of our time there was visiting the market. I have never been so unfamiliar with so many different products in one place. We saw jaguar skins, herbal remedies, batteries of every flavor, live turtles, live monkeys, amphibious fish being hacked apart alive, fish of every shape and color, brand name pharmaceuticals, Off brand pharmaceuticals, and on and on it went. I didn’t take a lot of pictures there, my camera made a lot of vendors uneasy. We tried to bring ourselves to eat beetle grubs, which resemble massive maggots, but in the end decided that some stones are best left unturned.

Nick Bode had been volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary about 30 minutes out of town. Our smiles grew the farther the tuktuk brought us from the city. Suddenly we were back in nature and hearing the sound of the jungle. We were delivered at a small boat pier, we then walked 3 miles to the sanctuary. Nick showed us all kinds of animals. He had grown attached to many of them over the month he had been there. We got to enter most of the enclosures and interact with all sorts of interesting animals. It was a calm and fitting end to our time in one of the world’s most incredible countries.

Next stop: Columbia.

Written by:

Scott Dusek is a writer and photography originally from Seattle, Washingon.