No trip to South America is complete without a visit to the Amazon. While Brazil is a common starting-point for Amazon adventures, we were keen to get off the beaten track. More than half of Peru is covered by jungle and rainforest, making it a perfect place to explore the so-called ‘lungs of the world’.
We embarked on our jungle adventure from Puerto Maldonado, a ten-hour drive north of Cusco. My irrational (but very real) fear of moths and flappy things made me more than a little apprehensive about venturing too deep into the jungle. As a result, and in a bid to remain within budget for the month, we chose a three-day two-night jungle trek with Tambopata Trek. Not only was the trip great value for money, it was also educational, engaging and a lot of fun. Johanna and Kike, the business-owners, took great care of us and – despite the multitude of flappy things we encountered – we thoroughly enjoyed our experience.
We spent one of the nights in a homestay, with Esther and her adorable baby grandson. Esther lives in the middle of the jungle with no electricity and only the river to bathe in. It was humbling to see how resourceful she was, and had to be, and how beautifully simple her life is.
During the second day of our trek, en route to Esther’s house, we came across several bamboo plants. Wielding his machete, Kike sliced off metre of bamboo declaring it was ‘para cenar’ (for dinner). I was bamboozled – no pun intended – could you actually eat bamboo? What would it taste like? How would we cook it?
It wasn’t until later that we realised the bamboo was merely a vessel for yummier ingredients! Esther showed us how to stuff the bamboo with the chicken and vegetable mixture, before placing the bamboo trunks in a saucepan full of boiling water. She then covered them with giant leaves, and left the fire to do it’s thing. Check out this short video to see how it turned out. Don’t forget to subscribe!
Our jungle experience was without doubt one of the highlights of our trip, made all the more enjoyable by a taste of jungle-life from Esther and her family.
*Coming soon: how we made hot chocolate from cocoa-beans in the middle of the jungle*
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