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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Trip to the Amazon

This past weekend, we were able to take a trip to the Amazon.  I knew it was going to be fun but had no idea how wonderful it would truly be. 
What I thought of when I thought of the Amazon River ( this is actually a flooded forest)
What it really looks like (it's huge!)

The Hotel

We stayed at a hotel that is built over the Amazon River.  The hotel was inspired by Jacques Cousteau during a visit to the area in the early 1980s.  The hotel has had lots of distinguish guests including Bill
Gates, Susan Sarandon, Roman Polanski, Charlton Heston, The Royal Family of Spain, The King of Morroco, Royal Family of Sweeden, and Jaques Cousteau.  

I imagine at one time, the hotel was pretty amazing.  Unfortunately, it has fallen into a terrible state of disrepair (from severe flooding and simple neglect).  But it’s still an okay hotel in a unbeatable location.  The hotel is on the Amazon River.  And I mean on top of the river.  As we walked across the decks and pathways, water was constantly splashing up between the boards.  

Positives things about the hotel

The food was good and plentiful with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, several selections of entrees, breads, desserts, etc.
One of my favorite dishes - tapioca pancake (more like a crepe) filled with ham, cheese, and onions

The excursions that are included with the hotel stay are outstanding.  (more on this below)

There are squirrel monkeys all over the hotel and they are extremely friendly (and always looking for  food).  They get excited when they see food and will jump on you to get it.  They are adorable and lots of them had little
What's in the monkeys hand?  Oh, that's the peanuts it stole from my husband.
baby monkeys that clung to their backs the entire time.  The monkeys were my daughters favorite part of the trip (although if they came too close she would take off running and screaming).

Other wildlife we saw while walking around our hotel included macaws, parrots, fish, and some other kind of monkeys.

Negatives for the hotel
There was a bat in our room on the second night.  They moved us to another room and I think there may have been one in that room too but I didn’t see it (just heard it).  I could have been a little paranoid at that point but waking up to a bat in your room in the middle of the night will do that to you.

The last night (in yet another room), we woke up to ants all over our bathroom. 

Some of the towers (there are eight all together) are closed off and don't look like they will be reopening any time soon.  If everything was open and functioning properly, it could be a really amazing place. 

The Excursions

Swimming with the pink dolphins

They were so many dolphins and they were not shy!   My daughter was scared at first but, being the brave girl that she is, she finally warmed up to them and interacted with them (and even sat on the back of one).  The dolphins are born mostly gray and they get pinker as they get older. 

Caiman scouting
 This was a little bit scary!  We went out at night (can only do this one after sunset) with the scout standing on the front of our boat.  He kept shining a light along the river bank, looking for the caiman’s eyes.  When he found one, I was under the silly impression he would just lean down and kind of scoop it up.  Instead, we pulled the boat close and he belly flopped into the water and grabbed it. He brought

it up on the boat and we were able to hold it while the guide told us all about the caimans.  For those of you that don’t know, caimans are in the same family as alligators (but smaller).  Click here to learn more about them.  On the boat ride back, we had a great view of the stars and I saw the Southern Cross constellation for the first time.  It was an really great last night in the Amazon!

Piranha fishing

Of all the excursions, this was my least favorite.  It is neat to say I went piranha fishing in the Amazon but that’s about it.  I’m not a fisherman (surprising, right?).  I am not patient enough for it but
competitive enough that it bothers me that I can’t catch anything.  One of our guides hooked one for me and let me pull it in for the sake of a photo.  Oh I’m not proud, I took it.  We took our catch back to the hotel and the kitchen staff grilled it up for us.  It’s a really tasty but tiny fish. 

piranhas for dinner!

Jungle hike with guide

We hiked with our tour guide who pointed out different medicinal plants and trees, poisonous things we
shouldn't touch, etc. It was really informative and fun.  Some of the things we saw were - frankincense, myrrh, a plant used to make Ben-Gay, a cure for athletes foot, a plant that helps lower blood pressure, and so much more that I'm forgetting now. The guide also made crowns for all of us.
Yeah!  We look cool!!!

We also did a sunrise boat trip and caught the sunset on the way home from another trip.  Gorgeous!

Sunrise on the Amazon River

There is so much more to talk about so I've made this a two part blog.  For part two (which includes the native village tour and the visit to a native home),  please click here.


  1. How many days and nights would you recommend for this location?

    1. We were there for 3 nights and I'd say that was about the right amount of time. You could do it all in 2 days but it would definitely be rushed.



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