Have you ever wondered what it is like to live in the jungle? Well, now you don’t have to. As I recollect the days in the jungle it brings back some interesting memories.
1. It’s a different kind of hot.
It isn’t just hot in the jungle, it is a new level of atmospheric conditions. Even during a rain storm, it didn’t cool off. Here it is always a steady 80 or above degrees Fahrenheit. On top of that, it is always very muggy. If you start to sweat, forget about ever being dry again. The only time you will feel comfortable is directly after a late-night shower. There is a 2-minute span from when you turn off the water where you actually feel comfortable and normal. Then you’re right back to sweating again. If you get anything wet, it will probably never be dry again. The constant humidity in the air keeps your things from completely drying. In addition, I have a waterproof phone. However, the humidity was causing my phone to think it was wet. Therefore, my phone refused to charge in the jungle.
My suggestion: Pack plenty of extra clothes and possibly a life proof case
2. Live as one with the jungle.
If you’re taking the trip to the jungle. Stay at a traditional lodge with no electricity or internet. It’s a lot of fun to immerse yourself in nature and be away from technology. I’m not saying you should be a total caveman. We did have running water as well as a toilet. However, there were no lights, no internet, no outlets, nothing else in the rooms. There is a little electricity for lights, food, and charging objects in the main area. They have a small bar to make drinks and cook all the food in this general area. There are small lights hanging down low to the tables, kerosene lamps, and a fire pit. The fire pit, however, is not necessary. The lack of electricity is a result of the lodge’s effort to become more green and reduce their footprint on the earth. We were greeted with a traditional indigenous tea, guayusa, that has more caffeine than coffee. It is used specifically to greet new people into the location. We used kerosene lamps to walk through the jungle and light our cabins. We had no internet and you bet, no service! I actually loved this – being unattached from the world can be refreshing. The cabins are adorable with screened in beds to protect from any bugs. The windows are nothing more than screens with some drapes. At night as you lay in bed, you have a personal sound machine. You can hear the bugs and animals of the wild right outside your door.
My Suggestion: Cotococha Lodge – If you ever find yourself in the jungle, this place is awesome. The staff also speaks some English for anyone that doesn’t know Spanish.
3. The views
The views here are always stunning. To get to the lodge from the small “parking lot” you must walk through the jungle to the social area. The social area is all open to the wilderness. It’s a gorgeous area with plenty of foliage around. The décor is set to match the jungle and is very outdoorsy feeling. The walkways are made out of stones as well as the stairways. The cabins are what you would expect out of living in the jungle. The foliage is the best part of being in the jungle. The lodge is right along the river with a ton of different plants. The hikes are to die for. They are not the easiest hikes because they are full of rocks, branches, and vines but definitely worth the struggle. There are waterfalls and plenty of new flowers and plants to see. If you go with a guide, they will even point out certain animals to you as well.
Suggestion: Wear sunscreen and bug spray all the time because the conditions are very different here. Take the leap and go on the hikes but pace yourself. At such a high altitude, it is easy to get winded.
4. Things to do
You’ll never be bored when you are in the jungle. This is especially true if you take advantage of jungle excursions. One of the first things we did was take a boat ride down the Napo River (river off the Amazon). The boat stopped at an island full of monkeys. This was amazing. The monkeys can sometimes be found in the middle of the town trying to take food from children. Most often they are in the jungle off to the side. Our guide walked us through the jungle until we found a group of monkeys in the trees. We watched them as they swung around in their natural habitat with no cages locking them in. You must be careful in this setting because monkeys are attracted to anything shiny such as a phone, camera or glasses. Then hop on a boat to Amazonico, an animal rescue center. This place is phenomenal. Here the animals are all rescued animals native to the jungle that have been confiscated from mistreatment. There are so many animals from the monkeys, to ocelots. Don’t forget about all of the wonderful jungle that you have to hike through. We took a hike to a waterfall that was hidden away and perfect for swimming. Then we took tubes down the river back to the lodge. You can also utilize the wonderful pool or hot tub. One night we were able to help shell the Cacao beans and grind them into a paste with a machine. Then it is heated over the fire with some sugar mixed in. Once melted they add milk and stir it until it is mixed. Then we were able to eat the chocolate with bananas and mangoes. It was very bitter but fresh and no preservatives of course. The meals are as follows: breakfast at 8, lunch at 1 and dinner at 7. Don’t forget to try the lemon ants as a snack! These are ants that are found in the leaf of a tree. You take the stem of the leaf and break it and the ants run out. Then you are supposed to eat the ants. They taste like lemon – hence the name.Lastly, this can be a nice romantic getaway if you are an outdoorsy couple. The kerosene lamps and candle lit dinners are perfect for a romantic weekend!
My Suggestion: Do everything and anything that is offered to you. I know, eating ants sounds less than appealing but when will you have the opportunity to again?
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The jungle is a ton of fun and worth the suffering! If you're ever looking for something different to do for vacation, consider stopping here!