After spending some days in Quito and the Andes, my Ecuadorian trip then took me few years ago to my favourite place on Earth: the one and only Amazonia!
If I had to write a love letter to one magical place I would definitely address it to the Amazon rainforest. Everything is so special there that it’s hard to put words on it but I guess I was always attracted to it like a magnet and know deep down that I’d be back someday.
What’s all the fuss about? There is a feel to it that you cannot find in any other place. It’s pristine, it’s exciting, it’s overwhelming and it’s miles away from our traditional comfort zone. And that’s also why going to the Amazon forest requires some preparation.
One of the worst enemy waiting for you there are mosquitoes. From making sure that your accomodation will have a mosquito net to buying some serious mosquito repellent, be ready to spend your days smelling like lemon grass! Making sure that your vaccines are updated depending on the area you are heading to is also extremely important so check with a doctor few months before leaving.
What I love most about being in the jungle is the surprising contrast between the fact that it feels peaceful but at the same time always so filled with life. You might walk around and see nothing and on another day just stumble upon a loud group of monkeys and colorful parrots. The jungle definitely rewards patience and determination.
As a biologist student on a field trip at the time, I had the chance to stay for few days in Tiputini Biodiversity Station. Our guides were incredible and allowed our group to experience so much during our stay. Knowing the forest by heart, they were always taking us to great places and were able to spot wildlife like nobody else could.
I still remember clearly entering a part of the forest where only one type of tree was growing and being gobsmacked to discover that lemon ants were actually killing all other trees in exchange for food and a place to stay!
To make the most of Amazonia, having walks with a guide both during the day and at night is a must. The wildlife is completely different and while you may be able to spot groups of monkeys, sloths, and birds in the early morning, the night will reveal incredible insects, spiders, snakes and amphibians. Lots of mammals are also nocturnal so you might get lucky and cross path with some opossums and bats.
Learning about the way local communities live in the forest and about their culture was also a great experience. The guides explained during our walks how to use different plants to build things or to cure diseases and we all ended up with nice (depending on our skills and creativity I have to admit) tattoos by just applying the stem of a certain plant on our skin.
Stay tuned to hear soon about the last Ecuadorian wonder: The Galapagos Islands!