|The shaman, Maestro Juan, 71,|
in the village of San Jose.
Jane and I were at a disadvantage on this trip because we had brought lousy binoculars and a camera that isn't good for photographing wildlife at a distance, and most of the wildlife that we saw was far away: sloths in distant trees, toucans a few hundred yards away, iguanas hidden on high branches, etc. A new friend, Dick Greenberg of Fort Collins, Colorado, was smart enough to bring a really good camera, has a really good eye, and made a really good video of the trip. You can see Dick's video by clicking HERE. The music on Dick's video was played by La Estrella's band, made up of crew members. Most nights the band played during cocktail hour and by the end of the trip had everyone but the most curmudgeonly old men dancing.
Note: Since this post was written, La Estrella Amazonica has been renamed Amazon Star. The name was changed after a cabin fire that killed two passengers. For my post on that topic, click HERE.
I heartily recommend International Expeditions and La Estrella Amazonica to anyone interested in visiting Peru's Amazonian region. La Estrella, one year old when we were there, is the newest of the dozen or so such boats on the river and the only one providing private balconies to all passengers. The naturalists are first rate and fearless in reaching into the water to grab caimen so passengers can get a close look. All meals in the large dining room were buffet-style and quite good; although some fish dish was a constant, there was a good bit of variety, including excellent ice creams. The cabins were relatively spacious with room to slide all luggage under the bed, and the shower always had good pressure and hot water. The bartender, Vincente, made a solid pisco sour. One tip: get a cabin on the second deck as far forward as possible. The boat motored all night for several nights and the engine noise made sleep a challenge in our cabin, which was at the rear of the second deck. We assume it was even worse on the first deck, which is closer to the boat's large Caterpillar diesel engines.
Despite my trouble photographing wildlife, I did get a few decent snapshots that give some idea of what the experience was like. Here are some.
|La Estrella Amazonica. This was taken from one of the boat's two skiffs. Passengers are boarding the other skiff.|
|View from the bed in our cabin. All cabins have balconies.|
|During a visit to a jungle village's one-room school, some of us danced with the children.|