After more than 14 hours of flying to Manaus, we had finally reached the heart of the Amazon! However, our journey had just begun, as Lydia and I were met at the airport for our 30-minute transfer to the port, then we swapped to travel by boat to cross the famous ‘Meeting of the Waters’; the stunning natural phenomenon where the waters which make up the Amazon river meet. After another road transfer, we boarded our final mode of transport to reach Juma Lodge – an incredible hour-long boat journey which sped through flooded canopies, then wide expanses of the Amazon where we could hardly make out the other bank of the river!
We arrived at Juma, a remote and idyllic lodge set on stilts and made up of walkways and individual bungalows. Friendly monkeys roam along the walkways, while caimans sunbathe in the river beneath your feet and iguanas rest in the tree canopies – we were in paradise!
After a delicious first dinner, our activities began. Our amazing Guide Anthony led our caiman hunting expedition, as we set off in the dark with the moon lighting the way and illuminating the treetops above our heads. After 40 minutes, Anthony leapt into the river itself and brought a caiman onboard, providing us with an amazing opportunity to see such a wonderful animal up-close! (The caiman was returned shortly to the river from the same spot he was caught from, completely unharmed).
This action-packed first evening set the precedent for our amazing stay at Juma Lodge; with hikes through the rainforest, canoeing along the Amazon, listening to the jungle waking up with the sunrise, piranha fishing, swimming in the middle of the river and trekking to see a vast Samauma tree. It was a complete overload on the senses; the sounds and sights, the heat from the sun and then dense air with a tropical storm blowing in.
On top of all these once in a lifetime experiences, for me, one of the most incredible aspects to Juma was our Guides. From their ability to know which animals had left a trail ahead of us during a hike, to the medicinal properties of different trees; it made our stay at Lodge even more unbelievable!
After three nights, it was with a heavy heart we said goodbye to our Guides and the incredible staff and stepped off the jetty and back into our boat to take us back to Manaus. Waving back as we set off, it felt as if we were leaving paradise. It was beyond any of my expectations and was an incredible adventure which I will always remember!