We left the Queen Violeta at 6:30 am and rode the short distance to the town on the skiff. As always, the ship was tied up during the dark hours since traveling on the river can be dangerous due to floating logs and debris. Since the river was down, we had a fairly rough climb up the bank to the market. The market was already bustling, and it was fun to see all the fresh fruits, foods, and other goods for sale. Three huge stalks of bananas could be purchased for 10 sols (less than $5), and one huge stalk of plantains sells for only 20 sols (less than $10). Quite a difference from home. Was surprised to find that a watermelon sold for 5 sols--not much different than in Georgia. The market also had clothing, a barber, cooked food, and goods like a "Little Mermaid" tote bag. Although it was only about 7 am, the market looked like it had been open for hours, but evidently people go home when it starts to get hot.
Our little group then walked to the town square (Plaza de Armas), which was flanked by the Catholic Church and school. At the square we boarded a 3-wheeled motokar (half motor bike and half car seat) to ride to a large pond on the edge of town. As we had seen in Iquitos on the first day of our adventure, these motokars came into the area in the 1980's and have multiplied rapidly. We had two people per motokar plus the driver, and the ride was quite fun, if a little harrowing at times. When we got to the large pond, we were delighted to find that it was filled with the large turtles we had only seen from afar, plus had some caimans, and many paiche, the Amazon's largest fish, which can reach 400 pounds. We've eaten the paiche a few times, and it's very good. Victor even brought along a little stale bread for us to feed to the turtles and fish.
We've seen locals selling handicrafts almost everywhere we've been, including at the pond. This part of Peru has very few tourists, but these vendors seem to be everywhere. Most of us spent what little sols we had early on the trip since we didn't know we would have purchasing opportunities almost every day. One couple has two, 100-sol notes, but they can't find enough to buy at one place to spend them, and none of the locals have much change. We have been told to not just give them money since it's important that they not connect tourism with money they haven't earned. Good point!
We reboarded the eight motokars, had a quick motokar tour of Nauta, and then got dropped off where we had left the skiff. We were back on the ship by 8:30. Amazing what you can do in a couple of hours!
G Adventures' Amazon Adventure Cruise Tour
- Page 1 -- Day 1 -- Overview of Lima and Preview of Amazon Riverboat Cruise
- Page 2 -- Day 2 -- Iquitos
- Page 3 -- Day 2 -- Late Afternoon Skiff Ride from the Queen Violeta
- Page 4 -- Day 3 -- Early Morning on the Amazon River
- Page 5 -- Day 3 -- Visit to a Sugar Cane Distillery
- Page 6 -- Day 3 -- Amazon Rainforest Hike
- Page 7 -- Day 4 -- Early Morning Skiff Ride
- Page 8 -- Day 4 -- Las Palmas Village and School
- Page 9 -- Day 4 -- Nightime Wildlife Viewing from the Skiff
- Page 10 - Day 5 -- Catamaran Ride
- Page 11 - Day 5 -- Suspension Bridge Hike and Lunch at Louisa's Home
- Page 12 - Day 5 -- Cleansed by a Shaman
- Page 13 - Day 6 -- Breakfast Boat Ride and Piranha Fishing
- Page 14 - Day 6 -- Rainforest Hike with Snakes and Frogs
- Page 15 - Day 7 -- Markets and Motokar Ride in Nauta
- Page 16 - Day 7 -- Swimming in the Amazon River
- Page 17 - Day 8 -- Iquitos Manatee Rescue Center and Return to Lima
- Page 18 - Day 9 -- A Day in Lima and Home