I breathed in the earthy humid air as I took another step deeper into the dense tangled jungle. As I trekked through knee-high swamps any sudden sound would conjure mirages of Cayman crocodiles known to roam these waters. Ancient watchful trees whispered stories across the mist threaded forest. An orchestra of squawking parrots and howling monkeys followed me as I explored this sensory maze. I will never forget the Amazon.
THE AMAZON! Though often associated with unfamiliar perilous and venomous wildlife, the Amazon jungle had always been to me a much fantasised haven which I yearned to explore. Maybe it was growing up as a wild child by a forest pretending to be a jungle native, but that vision followed me, eventually transporting me into the heart of Pachamama (‘Mother Earth’ in Quechua), through which its main artery flows, the Amazon River. The deeper I ventured into the jungle, I noticed the increase in humidity and diversity of indigenous wildlife, ranging from 222 species of mammals, 99 species of reptiles, 140 species of amphibians, 1000 species of birds, 210 species of fish and 2500 species of insects. My guide had grown up in the Amazon, and it was as though he could feel every movement and call that nature shared with us. There is a co-existence between nature and the resilient locals. To decipher the jungle’s language requires local knowledge, patience and a perceptive mind. From being surprised by playful monkeys, to being the one to swing from vines, I felt in tune with nature’s beat. As dusk set in, and we wandered through the night-veiled jungle, my senses felt magnified, alert to any hints of shapes or sounds within the shadows. Furry-legged creatures formed silhouettes under the torch’s limelight to the soundtrack of the dancing foliage. With the rising sun, came rising currents. After an ‘OK’ from the guide, I leapt into the immense fast-flowing river, and momentarily surrendered myself to its will. It was while journeying through the Amazon, with curious eyes, that a fresh peace of mind dawned upon me.
[excerpt from my ‘Snippets of a Nomadic Year: From South America to the Balkans‘ article published in F*Shift Magazine‘s Explorer issue, Oct 2016, pp. 40-41]
For a detailed low-down on how to plan your trip with tips on what to watch out for and things to not miss out, check out: Oh Snap! Adventures blog post!
Photography: Steven Lopez (instagram: @eslopez).