Welcome to Peru

Posted: August 30, 2011 in Peru

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After crossing into Peru, I slept in a small town called Jaen and the next day I headed over to Chachapoyas. In Jaen, I also bought a new rear tire, a Pirelli MT 21, which happens to be my favorite tire and got it at a killer deal from the Honda dealer for 52$ or so.

On the way to Chachapoyas, the road looks something like this

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While in Chachapoyas, I didn’t visit much of the ruins or the big water falls. Seen soo many water falls all over the place that I didn’t care that much anymore. I just spent a couple of nights to relax. Right above the city, there are these tiny ruins though.

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And a view of the town

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I also had some of the best seafood of my life

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Look of the town center

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Back on the road towards Tarapoto. I had no idea what I was going to do there and the road from Tarapoto to the south wasn’t too clear. Some said that it was dangerous, others that it was bad, others that it was ok. Something about the amazon was calling me so I was heading over as close as possible without a real plan.

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I spent a couple of nights in Tarapoto where I met Adam who had just come back from the Amazon. Went out for a few drinks and exchanged some stories. His was quite interesting as he had been bitten by some bug that laid eggs under his skin on his legs. The eggs had hatched and there was larva in there. The doctors tried to get it all out and gave him a tone of medication without knowing exactly what to do. Lets just say that you don’t wanna end up having to go to a hospital here. Better look up information online, buy your own medication and maybe do your own surgery too. So yeh, he had eggs and larva under his skin with infections. The jungle started to sound interesting.

After talking to the nice lady in charge at the hostel and buying a Peru map, I found out that you can take big boats down the amazon rivers for days at a time to go pretty much anywhere you want to. She offered me to look after my motorcycle in the hostel’s parking lot while I would take up on a journey for a couple of weeks through the Amazon.

Here was the plan: First go to Urimaguas with a “bus”, then to Lagunas with a big lancha, from Lagunas to Iquitos with an even bigger lancha and then maybe return with a plane or go to Pucalpa with another boat. It was kind of an opened plan.

I tried to find a bus that goes to Yurimaguas but it turns out you gotta take a collective taxi for 20S (about 7$) or a collective truck where if you wanna sit in the back of the truck it’s 10S (3$) or in the front for 15S. I sat in the front and was able to watch the crazy truck driver go all over the place. Once I got into Yurimaguas, I quickly caught a moto taxi to get to the port just to see the boat leaving. Oh well, gotta spend the night. I took advantage of the extra time to buy water, rope for my hammock and a couple of other things. Meanwhile I got approached buy a guy trying to sell me on buying guided days to go into the reserve which starts in Lagunas. At 60$ I found it quite steep for my budget so I declined nicely. While talking, the Shaman subject came up and it was something I was a bit more interested in than doing the tourist stuff. He said he knew a guy that would do a ceremony for 80S (About 28$) and he could arrange everything, even a free place for me to stay at his friend’s place. Cool, that sounded pretty good.

The next morning I got up early and went to check out the boat I was going to spend about a day on. Here it is:

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And some other examples

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For these boat rides, you need a good comfy hammock! It’s the best way to travel!

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Here’s mine

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Picture of the fancy port when looking from the boat

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So relaxing riding on these boats! Oh, and I forgot to mention that I also scored some green herb from the guy in Yurimaguas for 20 soles. At about 2.8 to 1 exchange rate, that’s about 7$. Money well spent! It’s pretty much a must have in order to travel around the Amazon on these boats for days at a time.

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Another boat we passed

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Loading and unloading stuff and passengers

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And then this happened! I have seen sunsets, but noting like in the Amazon. I couldn’t stop taking pictures…

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Finally in Lagunas. The guy that I was going to spend the night at was waiting for me and somehow I can’t remember his name anymore. Super nice guy! I’m just horrible with names. Bought myself a booklet and a pen now to write them down. Anyway, It was already dark so it was nice to have someone there. He brought me to his house where he offered me a room with a bed. No mattress though so I was sleeping on a piece of wood but I guess that’s how they sleep there. I didn’t bring my inflatable insert for the sleeping bag either so it was a bit rough. Good for the back though? Anyway, the next day I had a whole day to spend before the ceremony night with the Shaman so I decided to check out the expensive reserve for a day. Took a moto taxi there that cost me 15S (6$) then paid 40S to enter the park where I got screwed cause it’s only 20S and paid a guide 40 more Soles for a few hours of rowing.

Here is the entrance to the reserve. You can only go into the reserve by lancha.

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And here is my guide with the “lancha”…. notice anything strange?

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If you go into the reserve for just one day, it’s kind of a waste of money cause you wont see much. In order to see animals and big birds as well as mammals, you gotta go in for at least 4-5 days. At 50$ or so a day, it can be expensive! I still shot a few shots of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve.

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Oh yeh, if you hadn’t noticed, the strange part was the rear part of the lancha that wasn’t really there… but we made it back ok and I gotta say that the old man had some strength. He rowed for about 5-6 hours out of which 3-4 were against current.

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Some kids at the entrance to the reserve.

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I went back and rested for a bit while a bit excited and really nervous about what was waiting for me that night with the Shaman. I was going to drink ahyawaska for the first time in my life…

  1. Ellen says:

    let’s see your blog on choquequirao. Sophie and I met you on that trail.

    • pimptrix says:

      Hi Ellen, thanks for checking the blog and thanks again for saving my feet with those band aids! I will get to the choquequirao part but it wont be for a bit as I’m about a month or so behind due to lack of fast internet. Did you guys make it back home already or you’re still traveling?

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