Our second day in the Amazon just happened to be Easter Sunday. It was a very quiet morning in Iquitos and we had a little trouble finding an open place for breakfast. We managed to find one though, named for the movie that was filmed in the Amazon, Fitzcarraldo. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but the restaurant was not much to write home about. Still, at least we had satisfied our hunger and were ready for the day. We grabbed a couple snacks and some blended coconut drinks and decided to hop on a boat for a tour.
Our tour guide told us he could take us to both Monkey Island and the Butterfly Farm. The boat was great. A narrow wooden boat with two boards running along the sides and a couple hammocks hung in the middle. It was nice and cool with the breeze blowing off the water. We got to see the colors of the river change as we merged from one river into the other.
Not long after that, we had already arrived at what appeared to be Monkey Island. We walked up the planks to the floating platform and were greeted by several very friendly monkeys.
The kids were pretty hesitant and Cliff definitely kept his distance. As soon as you had anything in your hands they would climb right up your legs and jump to the fruit!
It was pretty funny to experience.
Next, they took us to see different animals found in the surrounding environment. Unfortunately, we discovered later that this was NOT the real “Monkey Island” but was an operation that draws tourists in by paying tour guides to bring them under false pretenses. We enjoyed getting to see the wildlife up close, but felt bad that we’d unwillingly and unknowingly supported a place like that!
Unfortunately, it’s very hard to find specific information on places online and when you speak to your guides they usually tell you what you want to hear. So for those of you who are going to Iquitos, make sure you are very clear with your guide about where he is taking you, and know how long it should take to get there.
Our next stop was the Butterfly Farm. We thought we were going to the Pilpintuwassi Butterfly Farm, which is a rescue center for jungle wildlife around Peru. However, it wasn’t until afterwards that we realized no where had we seen the name anywhere….again we had been duped.
It was really neat seeing the lifecycle of the Amazon butterflies up close. Olivia loved all the caterpillars and was very excited to get to hold a couple of them.
We saw all the life stages, from the eggs, to tiny caterpillars, to the large caterpillars, chrysalis and cocoons, and butterflies.
Then we got to see the butterfly house, where the butterflies fed on fruit and flowers. At the end, our guide let us release two butterflies from the cages and then picked some fruit off a tree to send with us. The fruit was reminiscent of a lime, and they eat it dipped in salt. They told us pregnant women in Iquitos love it, and I approved :). It was pretty refreshing in that heat!
More about our time in the Amazon coming soon!