The Amazon Beckons

My oldest daughter, Jade, turned 12 in July and to celebrate this passage, I am taking her on a mother/daughter trip to the Colombian Amazon. We will be flying into Leticia and staying outside of town, in the jungle at Omshanty Lodge. The first couple of days will be somewhat tame as we take a boat up the Amazon River and visit Monkey Island (Isla de los Mono), Puerto Nariño (the environmental showpiece of the Amazon), and several lakes to see the world’s largest water lilies and possibly pink dolphins. We will also visit an indigenous village and spend the day learning how to make handicrafts with the women.

After a few days settling in, we will up the ante and head of for a couple of days into the jungle. On day 1, we will hike a few hours to an indigenous settlement where we will learn about the tribe’s farming methods and cultural norms and beliefs, have dinner and sleep in a hammock in a maloka (longhouse). A ayuasca ceremony (strong hallucinogenic drink) was offered but I declined thinking that it would not be good role modeling for a 12 year old.

On day 2, things will really get interesting as we basically enjoy 24 hours of survival in the jungle (thankfully, with an experienced guide!) We will fish for our food, cook it up on a fire which we will make and then sleep in hammocks, slung between trees with only a mosquito net for protection. I already told Jade that we will not be drinking any liquids after 3 pm. There is no way I will be getting out of that hammock to pee once it’s dark out. We have already been to the Amazon and I have seen the creatures that come out at night, Tarantulas the size of two of my hands, Banana Spiders whose bite can kill you (according to our guide), Anacondas…. OK,I am freaking myself out… I chose this adventure, as I always do, and I am both a little nervous and very,very excited!

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