Put on Your Night Vision Goggles in the Amazon @LetsRoamWild

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A Night Hike in the Amazon

AMAZON NIGHT HIKE

Ana and I arrived in Puerto Maldonado towards the end of our three-week adventure in Peru.  We had helicoptered over the Nazca lines, trekked the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu, and surfed sand dunes in Huacachina. Intrepid, the organizer that curated this experience for us, chose local operators that were responsible, eco-friendly and outdoor-adventure focused. We were proud of having traveled sustainably and couldn’t believe that there was still more to experience.

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As we stepped off the plan from the 30-minute ride from Cusco, I immediately felt the sweltering dampness that would linger throughout our time. We gathered our belongings and joined the group in a Jurassic Park – style jeep and began the trek into the jungle. Our ancient vehicle shook uncontrollably for the hours that we bumped around the unpaved, red clay roads, spotted with potholes, that really, were just holes that looked like miniature ponds.

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The truck led us to a small, motorized boat, immediately beginning our tour of the area’s myriad flora and fauna.  I made a friend with a seven-year-old boy as we squinted our eyes to find alligators. The hum of the engine coupled with the view of the Tambopata River sent me right into a nature-induced trance.

Upon arrival at the Explorer’s Inn, we were greeted by what I had thought was a parrot, but was actually a wildly loud, rainbow-painted macaw, a bird native to the area because of the clay licks, or feeding areas for macaws in the western Amazon. I’ve got some birders in my family, and while I’ve never been one myself, one of these beauties will make anyone a birder.

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On our first night at the lodge, our guides told us that we’d have the fortune of going to explore nocturnal life in the area. Excited for the chance to see the flora and fauna that comes alive at night, but terrified of the animals/bugs/monsters eating me, I squeezed Ana’s hand and flashbacked to walking through camp after dark.

I sprint to my bed – monster, burglar, and robber images flashing through my mind – after I turn the lights out at night. I turn on every light when I walk to the bathroom. Yes, at 25 years old, I am still scared of the dark

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I don’t logically think there are monsters under my bed. Could someone break in? Sure, but with my boyfriend (and his bat) here, I’ve got some protection. I have had no traumatizing experiences in the dark and have spent much of my youth in woods, in the dark (with flashlights, but still).  I do not know why. It is just scary to me. Needless to say, I was a little jumpy about the adventure on which we were about to embark. 

We began our journey stomping through puddles in our muck boots. With a camera in one hand and my friend’s grasp in the other, we followed the tips of our tour guides heels through the woods. A few steps in and my senses became overwhelmed by the blackness that clouded my vision. I had never experienced a darkness like this.

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But, as adaptable as the human body is, my eyes began to adjust. As I listened to our guide point out insects larger than some small mammals and frogs tinier than a quarter, I began to let the fear dissipate. Nature’s serenity took over and instead of feeling terrified that some creature would eat me alive, I began to absorb his facts while sensing a new level of pure relaxation.

We returned from the hike filled with new knowledge and for me, achievement for having survived a hike, through the jungle, at night. And after snacking on the best banana of my life, I got settled in my new bed, mosquito netting and all.

Want to go?

There are many packages that you can book through eco lodges in the Amazon, some are more budget-friendly than others. Book your flight to Puerto Maldonado from Cuzco. Most lodges will pick you up from the airport and transport you to their base.  You can also book endless outdoor adventure activities through your lodges.  We stayed at Explorer’s Inn – a leader in conservation and ecotourism. I would highly recommend them! This wiki is also very helpful for other lodges and recommendations in the Puerto Maldonado area.

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Emily is the creator and author of Let's Roam Wild. She writes about twenty-something solo female adventure travel. Follower her on her six-month stint in Southeast Asia this winter on her blog.

19 Comments

  1. Rachel

    July 4, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    Great post 🙂 Hats off to you for coping with all the bugs! Don’t mind the majority of them, but the spiders… *shudder* Thanks for mentioning Explorer’s Inn, I’m keen to stay in a true ecotourism lodge and is it focuses on conservation too – prefect.

    • Emily from Let's Roam Wild

      July 6, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      Thanks, Rachel! I am freaking terrified of spiders too…I definitely had nightmares about the tarantulas. I loved Explorer’s Inn and can’t recommend it enough.

  2. Pingback: My Travel Plans | 2014-2015 | Let's Roam Wild

  3. Bob R

    July 6, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    Nice excursion. 🙂 I really like that spider, too.

  4. Emma

    August 31, 2014 at 3:15 AM

    Wow. That’s an amazing adventure. I would go, bugs or no bugs! 🙂

  5. Anna | slightly astray

    August 31, 2014 at 3:16 AM

    Wow, going to the Amazon is my dream! I don’t even know why because I’m terrified of bugs (and seeing your pics confirm that there are indeed huge scary bugs). But I want to be completely immersed in nature! The night hike sounds scary but I’d love to do that too!

  6. Corinne

    August 31, 2014 at 5:03 AM

    I love a good night safari. Yes, you see mostly bugs and reptiles, but they are always so cool! I have not done the one in the Amazon, but will someday!

  7. Annika - Live Laugh Explore

    August 31, 2014 at 7:15 AM

    Looks like an amazing experience! Although I would be jumpy as well, especially after seeing that spider…! I would love to explore Peru too!

  8. Angelica @BkChickTravels

    August 31, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Looks like you really needed rainboots! I’m scared of the dark a bit too still, the night gets so dark! Campfires make me feel more comfortable..sometimes lol

  9. Daidri | Thee Getaway Gal

    August 31, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    Oooh, that sounded spooky but then I don’t care for the dark either. Way to go for braving it out and enjoying the adventure.

  10. Mandie @ RamblingMandie

    August 31, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    What a crazy adventure – those bugs are HUGE! I would love to go night hiking someday. I mean, I’ve been lost in the woods, but I don’t think that counts. Haha

  11. Brittany @ Paws for Beer

    August 31, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    eeek! great shots but those creepy crawly bugs make me shudder

  12. Dennis Kopp

    September 1, 2014 at 3:39 AM

    That really looks like an interesting night excursion Ashley and Emily. I actually did something similar in jungle in Bolivia and I remember that I was simply amazed to see the animals out and about at night. At some point our guide was shining a strong light right into the forest and you could simply see the refection of eyes everywhere. That was actually quite spooky… 🙂

  13. Amy Lynne Hayes

    September 1, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    Night hiking in the Amazon… that’s a brave venture!! I think one sighting of a spider that size would chase me away lol. But it must be amazing to experience all the sounds and atmosphere of the jungle without daylight.

  14. Michele {Malaysian Meanders}

    September 2, 2014 at 12:13 AM

    What a cool experience. I think I would also be a bit nervous about being in the dark. I bet the jungle really blocks out all the moonlight. Still, it sounds so exciting. I especially like the photo of that little frog.

  15. Margherita @The Crowded Planet

    September 2, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    Oh I love night hikes! I’ve done them in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Borneo and recently in Madagascar. Sounds like Peruvian Amazon is another great place!

  16. Adelina // Pack Me To

    September 4, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Eeek! I’m not sure I could survive a night out in the jungle. I’m too squeamish when it comes to bugs and things flying close to my ears.

  17. Gary

    September 7, 2016 at 10:12 AM

    Hi Emily,

    Just so you know…It’s okay (even a good thing) to be scared of the dark. The key is having something that lets you see through the darkness. 🙂

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