I caught a flight over the Andes to the city of Puerto Maldonado in Peru’s southern jungle. I had lunch on the river while traveling upstream by a traditional Peruvian boat to a Rainforest Lodge. We spotted toucans, macaws, giant river otter and . . . the red belly piranha.
We all took turns fishing for some piranhas. The guide held on to one and opened its mouth so we could see its teeth. They were really small but I can imagine how sharp they must be based on how pointy they looked. He held a big leaf in front of its mouth and it immediately chomped it to pieces. It didn’t even swallow or anything – the bits of leaves just piled up in his mouth. Savage.
In the evening we headed out to look for caiman, a member of the alligator family native to the Amazon. We scanned the shores with flashlights to see if we could catch the red gleam of the light as it reflects off of the caiman’s eyes. Our guide during our stay in the jungle waded into the water and literally caught one with his bare hands.
During some free time, I decided to try a 30 metre canopy climb with a rope, harness and jumar (a mechanical device used for ascending on a rope). It took me about 12 minutes to climb. It was a complete upper and lower body workout.
Once at the top I had an amazing view of the jungle canopy. I saw hundreds of coconuts up there. I also encountered many spiders up there, too. Big ones. The most nerve-racking part was the descent. I was terrified to scooch off the ledge out of fear of no resistance in my harness. As a “joke,” the guide sent me falling to the ground as fast as he could, which absolutely terrified me. Once back at the lodge I had several Pisco Sour as a reward.