Day 1 & 2 – Lima and Iquitos Travel Transition Locations
Our plane arrived from Miami, Florida, on 25 July 2001 into Lima, Perú, where we stayed the evening in the Sheraton Hotel & Towers overlooking the central square, pictured immediately below, as the town prepared for the inauguration of their new president, Señor Alejandro Toledo.
In the morning, along with a couple from San Diego, we toured the city and viewed several city plazas and visited two museums.
One of the museums in Lima, Huaca Pucllana, houses archaeological discoveries of an ancient pyramid. Some of these findings date back before Christ and show us how these civilizations changed over thousands of years in different locations in Perú.
The Huaca Pucllana pyramid is a primitive version without the formal triangular structure found in Egypt. Instead, they used hand-made bricks stacked in alternating rows to create a foundation. Over the centuries, they would add additional layers every 50 years to bury their dead. These structures have endured many years of earthquakes and are being excavated to learn more about Peruvian history.
Later that afternoon, our Pre-Trip Expedition team of four took a 90 minute plane flight to Iquitos, Perú, where we stayed the night in the El Dorado Plaza Hotel overlooking the Iquitos central square, as illustrated below.
Morning in Iquitos, Perú
Iquitos is a bustling town, similar to Key West, Florida, with intriguing shops and interesting people. The town has several interesting landmarks like the church in the central square.
At the end of the street from the central square, a panoramic view of the Amazon river accentuates the rustic town.
Visitors can find several artisan shops in a thatched-roof hut mall located at the same boardwalk as pictured above. Here, shoppers can find an assortment of hand crafted items full of color and creativity.
The Pre-Trip Extension Tour to the ExplorNapo Lodge and ACEER started with boat ride down the Amazon River then up the Napo River. This is a 95 mile speed-boat trip from Iquitos with a stop-break at Explorama Lodge, as illustrated in yellow on the map.
The ACEER guest rooms are located far back in the Rainforest yet within hiking distance from the Canopy Walkway. These rooms are open-air accommodations with mosquito-net covered beds. From the veranda, visitors can see many animals crawling and flying through the brush.
These facilities offer a camping environment with kerosene lamp lighting, latrines, and a screened dining room with plenty of hammocks. Our meals were prepared fresh daily and served buffet style. Softdrinks, water, and beer were always available and refreshingly cold.
During our hikes, our guide Cliver stopped to explain many of the plants and animals we spotted on the way. He is very skilled in finding and identifying the smallest, and hearing the faintest sounds of animals in the wild. Here he is showing us one of the poison-dart frog specimens he captured and later released.
On a couple of these hikes, we climbed the ACEER Canopy Walkway. There the forest opened up to show a myriad of plants, birds, and mammals inhabiting the upper layer of the rainforest. At this level, you can see for miles above the rainforest and peer down on the inhabitants. On several occasions, we saw flocks of macaws, black mantled tamarins, cotingas, and several other birds.
Behind the ACEER lodge is a small lagoon where we spotted several popular aquarium tropical fish. There were cichlids, tetras, a fresh water shrimp, and a whip-tail catfish swimming near the shoreline.
On the final day in the area, we visited the ethnobotanical gardens near the ExplorNapo Lodge. In this garden, we saw several unusual plant specimens. One such plant is a mimosa that immediately closes its leaves when touched, as if it has muscles. Other specimen have healing capabilities to prevent hemorrhaging, remedy diabetes, and other powerful capabilities being studied by researchers worldwide.
At this garden, we also visited the local Shaman, Antonio Montero, who spent a few minute with us before we set off in the speedboat back to Explorama Lodge.
We arrived at the Explorama Lodge about an hour before lunch. Here we saw several new species such as a sun bittern, heliconia butterflies, and several squirrel monkeys playing in the rainforest.
That evening, we boarded La Amatista…