The Amazon Riverboat was a fantastic week, and it was definitely the highlight of our trip to Ecuador.
We went on excursions in the long canoe every day, but we did not go swimming in the piranha lagoon! Everyone was invited to jump off the canoe and swim in the black piranha-infested water. Ricardo and Luis jumped in. Raoul, the (cute) guide, said the piranhas only bite if they are hungry, and they have lots of food. Later he told us there are sting rays and anacondas, but that they are only in the muddy bottom about six feet down. Oh, and a few crocodiles and electric eels too, he said. It was extremely tempting because it was really really really hot, but my swim involved scooping water with my hat and dumping it on my head. It felt fantastic. The water is a black colour from tannins in the soil of the streams running into it, though it is actually very clean.
There were tons of different birds, and on one part of the river, we saw pink dolphins – a mother, father, and a baby. Incredible!
This is also a bird-watching country, not to mention that there are more animals and plants in Ecuador than anywhere else in the world. More than once we said to each other that if we see one more Lesser Kite or Greater Annie or Stinky Turkey or Egret, it will be one too many!
The parrots were cool though! We saw thousands and thousands of colourful green parrots arriving in the early morning and then all settling on one cliff face where they come to a clay lick, which apparently is an aid their digestive process. What an amazing sight!
It was a night excursion off the Amazon riverboat where we went searching for crocodiles by flashlight on a dark night on an Amazon jungle swamp, in a small canoe manned by a 12-year-old Quechua Indian boy! See this post: Searching For Crocodiles By Flashlight In The Amazon and also
the original Amazon Riverboat post:
Link to Manatee Explorer Amazon Riverboat site: http://www.manateeamazonexplorer.com/