The first thing we did when we got there was take a 90-minute boat ride to our rainforest lodge. We cruised up the Tambopata River, which is a tributary to the Amazon. It goes for 5,000 kilometers until it meets the Amazon.
On our ride over, we saw some nice wildlife, like the capybara, which is the largest rodent on earth and is the size of a dog. We also saw a huge tree filled with lots of monkeys. Besides mammals, we also saw lots of birds, like macaws and toucans.
The next day we had a "late" start (7:30am wakeup instead of 5:00am) because it was one of only a few days a year where it gets cold and really rainy. Around 8:30 we left to go to the lake where we were searching for giant river otters ... we didn't find them though. They were probably hiding from the cold. After being on the lake for about 30 minutes, our guide pulled out some fishing rods, made out of sticks and after he baited them with some meat, the piranha fishing began! The fish were nibbling right away, but it took a little while before Grace and Dewey caught one. Everyone was so excited to see a piranha up close and our guide showed us all its teeth. The second we threw it back in the water, someone else pulled out another one.
That afternoon we went to go see a shaman and he showed us his natural healing medicines. He also showed us how the locals use the rainforest plants and fruits for paint. At the end, we got to try some of the local medicines ... they didn't taste too hot.
On our last day, we woke up early and hiked to the clay lick to look for parrots and macaws. The birds come to the clay lick to help them digest their diet of fruits and leaves. Because of the cold weather, there weren't any birds there, so we left after only about a half hour. From there, we went to this thing called the canopy tower. It's a huge staircase with a platform on top that is 120 feet up in the air, so you get above the tops of the trees. From the top you can see the canopy below for as far as the eye can see.
The last rainforest activity we did was go to the place where the locals grow their fruits and vegetables. There we saw things like orange and lemon trees, and some exotic fruits, like starfruit and cocoa beans, which they use to make chocolate.
After the rainforest we headed back to Lima and said goodbye to the Hands-On Explorer group and the two teachers who won the contest. I look forward to seeing them again during some reunions that are already planned. So thank you everyone for letting us participate in such a wonderful expedition! Now we are off with just our parents for the final five weeks of this year-long adventure.
Here's a video of us climbing up lots and LOTS of steps:
'Till next time!