Traveling to the Amazon Rainforest is not exactly something I am excited about. When I was a kid, I watched a movie called Arachnophobia where a giant spider from the Amazon Rainforest stowed away on someone’s pack and mated with a house spider in the USA. The result? Giant poisonous spiders that kills tons of people.
I know it was a movie but when you watch this kind of stuff when you’re a kid, you’re going to get traumatized for sure.
Don’t get me wrong, exploring the Amazon Rainforest does sound interesting. I played this computer game in the old Macintosh computer when I was a kid called Amazon Trail. The game made me really fascinated by the wildlife and local indigenous people living in this region of the world.
So what is the truth? Is going to the Amazon Rainforest going to be an epic adventure or a nightmare waiting to happen?
Amazon Rainforest Homestay
I joined a tour group while traveling through Ecuador called Ecuador Purelife. As part of the tour, we will be staying overnight with a local family deep in the Amazon Rainforest.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about sleeping in the jungle knowing I will get eaten alive by mosquitoes. Those little jerks likes swarming me and leaving me with tons of itchy welts. The thought of giant poisonous jungle spiders also made me feel a little paranoid.
When I was 18 years old, I thought I got over my fear of spiders by holding a tarantula on the palm of my hand. It actually did but I still hate them!
The family was nice and the owner’s son was going to be our guide when we trek in the jungle. His name is Rolando and he’s a trash talking funny trouble maker. The family made us feel like home and got us all geared up for the upcoming trek. They took us to our basic jungle accommodation and we were going to sleep in a wooden hut with a mosquito net.
We were then fitted with rubber boots and a helmet because we will be climbing up waterfalls once we get deeper in the rainforest.
The Amazon Rainforest trek begins
Once we were all equipped with safety gears, our tour group was off to the jungle. Quite honestly, it was a lot of fun and not as bad as I thought!
I really enjoyed hiking through the dense rainforest and climbing up waterfalls. It definitely felt like an epic adventure and very different from things I have done thus far.
There was mosquitoes but not as much as I thought there would be. We also got a chance to bathe underneath several waterfalls and really just let loose as we hiked through the Amazon Rainforest.
We completed the hike just before nightfall and got cleaned up and ready for our next set of activities.
Making chocolate from scratch
After getting cleaned up, we gathered together in another hut and Rolando started teaching us how to make chocolate out of cocoa beans found in the Amazon Rainforest. The whole process was very interesting and also difficult at the same time.
They started by roasting the nut until it started popping from the heat. We then peeled the skin off the cocoa nut and throw it at a metal grinder. From there, we used a metal grinder to slowly grind away at the cocoa nut until it was only chocolate shavings left. They then melted the chocolate shavings and mixed it with milk. The end result? Home made chocolate!
It didn’t taste that good or bad. To be honest, because it’s not processed, it just didn’t have that chocolaty taste a normal piece of chocolate normally has. Regardless, it was neat seeing it made in front of us and I have found more respect for the chocolate making process.
Dinner and sleep
After making chocolates, they got some of the tour group members to sample eating larvae like insects from the rainforest. Some of them actually ate it but it looked like a mutant creature that would suck your brain out. I passed on doing that.
We ate dinner and I think so did the mosquitoes, too, as I came back to my room full of bites. I got settled down a bit and luckily fell asleep really quickly.
The rainforest was definitely creepy late at night and I did not want to be awake any longer.
Next morning: wasp, spiders and blow darts
In the morning, we got up and got ready for breakfast. During our meal, turns out someone knocked over a wasp nest because hundreds of them started flying around the area. Knowing that wasp likes to sting people, it was an uneasy feeling.
There was also giant spiders hanging from the ceiling of some of the huts which wasn’t as scary as I thought. It was definitely more creepy the day before when we took a shower and saw giant spiders crawling on the jungle grounds.
After avoiding the insects and completing our breakfast, the nice family let us play with their traditional hunting blow dart. I was just “okay” at it but several of our group members hit the bullseye on the target. Perhaps they are destined to be jungle hunters.
Saying goodbye to the jungle and the family
Staying overnight in the Amazon Rainforest was an interesting experience. I can’t say I hated it because I enjoyed the jungle hike. But, I can’t say I loved it because staying overnight deep in the jungle is just plain creepy and I am surprised I slept as well as I did.
The family was really nice and we were glad to have met them. Despite living deep in the jungle, they still embraced some modern technology and they had a TV, cell phones and internet access in the common area.
Regardless, the Amazon Rainforest is another one of the Seven Wonders of Nature that I managed to visit leaving me with just one more (Iguazu Falls) before I complete seeing all seven of them!