Small towns such as this one are commonly found in the outskirts of Cusco. They are typically quaint little towns which feature traditional architecture and a very laid back way of life. I really enjoyed strolling through these kinds of small towns as I felt that they added a lot to the already rich Peruvian culture. Plus you can find better deals shopping in these small towns than you would in the various tourist trap shops found in Cusco.
Ayahuasca and coca leaves are widely cultivated in the Amazon Rainforest of Peru. During the final leg of my time in Peru, I opted for a four day trip to the amazon and was surprised to see so many of these leaves in person.
Ayahuasca is a treasured medicinal leaf used in ceremonies by shamans. Indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon commonly use this magical leaf for its psychological and spiritual affects. When used for medical purposes, ayahuasca affects the human consciousness for about six hours – it begins its effectiveness thirty minutes after consumption and it reaches its peak after about two hours. Some users will experience significant psychological stress during usage. The psychedelic effects of ayahuasca include visual and auditory stimulation, the mixing of sensory modalities, and psychological introspection that may lead to great elation, fear, or illumination. There is also a purging process under usage which induces intense vomiting and occasional diarrhea which clears the body of worms and other tropical parasites.
I was fortunate enough to spend several days in the rainforest through a tour my homestay family recommended: http://Amazonperutravellers Reservas. It was an awesome experience! We were a diverse group, people from different parts of the globe came together to enjoy this lush green playground. We stayed on a cabin in the middle of the rainforest, went on many treks, learned some survival tips and were fully immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of this magical place.
On our treks we heard and saw an array of wildlife such as the howler monkeys, cayman, wild boar and many kinds of spiders, frogs and birds. Unfortunately we weren’t able to see any jaguar, as these big cats are very illusive and rarely make an appearance without hours of waiting and camping out deep in the forest or near certain river banks.
Each time we traveled outside of the campsite we went out onto the river. We spent a lot of time on the river – each trip was really fun and offered something new. There were no dull moments on this amazon trip. On one special morning we got to see various kinds of parrots and parakeets lick clay on a cliff near a jungle river. Our guide noted that these birds eat the clay to supplement salt in their diets, since they are far from any ocean and very little sodium is found in their water and food supply. Whatever the reason it was a really cool sight to see.
The boat rides were also a special treat themselves – we even saw river snakes and got a pretty good idea of how dense this rainforest really is.
Animal Rehabilitation Center
I absolutely love animals and seeing these beautiful creatures thriving in this sanctuary was truly a treat. Our guide said that most of these animals were taken from a young age by some of the locals to be sold or kept as domestic animals but were eventually brought here to be rehabilitated before being set free into the wild. These awesome little guys were extremely friendly and approachable – I could have spent the whole day here and would have loved every minute of it!
My time at the rainforest was wonderful – I got to experience so many new and awesome things I could experience nowhere else. This trip was priceless and one that I will never forget. The little things on this trip such as the sound of hard rain on the tin roof of our cabin, the howler monkeys at night and the many frogs and birds living and thriving really made this magical place – magical! If you are are planning a trip to Peru, do not skip out on visiting the rainforest – it is an experience like no other. Our tour guide was very insightful and really made this immersive experience one to remember. If you are looking to visit the rainforest be sure to at least spend 4-5 days here, you won’t regret it. Happy Travels!