One of my sensible and pragmatic daughters-in-law, on hearing my plan to cruise the Amazon into the jungles of Peru, looked at me bemused and said "why?" Since heat and humidity, bugs and butterflies, moths and mosquitoes rank so far below the bottom of the list of my favorite things - comfortable bed, hot showers, flush toilets and a temperate insect-free environment all placing quite high up - I could understand her bewilderment. But this is my year for breaking thorough the boundaries of my - until recently- very conventional urban professional and family life.
Being this luxury-loving urbanite I had nothing that would be of any use in rainforest terrain, so I had to acquire a few items. Here's what I got, and what did and did not work well for me.
This is the INDEX of posts for the travelblogue of my trip to Peru for a week-long cruise on the Amazon River. I signed up for the Amazon River Expedition travel program sponsored by the University of British Columbia Alumni Association.
From Lima we flew to Iquitos in Northern Peru, took a coach to Nauta and boarded our riverboat, La Turmalina. During this trip we traveled beyond the confluence of the Ucayali and Marañón rivers, visiting the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (the largest wetland reserve in the world), Pacama village and spending a night in the Kapok Camp.
A small skiff took us on several excursions. They are numbered 1 to 14 on the map which is the key to upcoming posts. Along the way we saw birds, monkeys, river dolphins and a fascinating variety of medicinal plants and trees
From a health perspective, a seven day journey up the Amazon River into the jungle, even on a luxury river boat, is nothing like the luxury cruise in the Mediterranean or Caribbean, that I have taken thus far. The rain forest environment is hot and humid, and vicious little mosquitoes carry nasty organisms that cause malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and other diseases. The first reminder of the isolation and primitive nature of the area into which we will be traveling, came from the disclaimers and advice in the information package from the travel agent through whom we booked this cruise. Then I did some serious reading and decided I needed to speak with a medical travel expert who would be current on what precautions would be needed to keep us fit and healthy.