Arequipa to Tombopata

We got up early and checked out of the nice hotel. The hotel packed us sandwiches which we took with us to the airport.
We took the taxi, and headed to the airport (easy commute in the early morning).
We were stopped at the guard shack at the airport and then headed to check-in.
We paid the airport tax and headed to the plane. We finally got an unobstructed view of the volcanoes that surround Arequipa that were next to the airport runway.

We headed off in the early morning and flew back to Cusco. We waited at the airport for an hour and a half. We tried the cheese sandwiches that the hotel had made us, however, they weren’t good, so we grabbed some snacks at a coffee shop. We paid yet another airport departure tax and headed out on the plane to Puerto Maldonado.

We laneded in Puerto Maldonado, and when we got off the plane, we were immediately hit with the humidity of the Amazon. We were finally at sea level, but not it was hot and sticky.
We were met at the airport and taken by bus to the check-in area. We met our guide, Leon, who explained the town as we were taken to the compound. The streets were filled with motorcycles, it seemed like everyone was on a motorcycle (a lot without helmets).

We got to the compound. We dropped off half our luggage, and then picked out wader boots. Sheri’s were kids size (barely going to the half of her calf), while Larry’s went to his knees. We grabbed some water and headed back to the van. It was quick ride to the boat. We met the driver and the assistant, and pushed off from the dock.

We headed down the Rio Madre De Dios. The clouds were looming in the sky as we headed down the wide river. We saw a lot of birds, but it quickly became monotonous, with even few boats on the river. Leon brought out our lunch. Sheri’s was vegetarian (and grilled veggie wrap), while Larry had a Chifa (Peruvian Chinese food) of a wrap with meet and vegetables in an asian sauce. It was tasty.

We finally got to Bolivia. Our boatman quickly switched the flag so that we were flying under the Bolivian flag–less problems I guess. The Bolivian Border Check-point was a small hut on the riverbank. They grabbed our passports and checked us into Bolivia.
We then started heading up the Heath River which is the border between the two two countries. Immediately we saw a large white cayman basking on the bank. We headed up the Heath River. We saw several families of capybara, the world’s largest rodent. They looked like sheep sized guinea pigs.

We finally arrived at the Heath River Lodge. There were about 15 huts spread along the lodge area. We went to our hut, which was two beds covered by the required mosquito netting. We took a shower, and finally had continuous hot water (after many showers of lukewarm water) due to the huts personal hot water heater.

We went to dinner and met several other people who had been at the lodge several days already (and were leaving tomorrow). They talked about almost stepping on a poisonous snake, and we started wondering about our stay in the jungle. We sat with Leon, and an empty place setting for Jay (who was already in Miami). Dinner was good, but we were ready for bed. We took our flashlights and headed back to our hut.