The author (left) and his younger brother cruise the Amazon. // © 2015 Arnie Weissmann
Feature image (above): Howler monkeys live in the rainforest. // © 2015 Arnie Weissmann
I never would have imagined that I'd love traveling to the wild Amazon rainforest. Four or five years ago, I would have passed up the chance because of the bizarre bugs, creepy snakes and, worst of all — the vicious piranhas.
However, after embarking on an Amazon rainforest river cruise onboard G Adventures’ Queen Voleta ship, my fears quickly settled.
My family and I started off the excursion by going piranha fishing. I was a little nervous, because piranhas were one of my biggest fears as a kid. However, it was definitely one of the more memorable and fun parts of the trip, as we were completely surrounded by wildlife and nature. Even though I did get a little nibble on my line, I didn’t catch any fish (something my younger brother made sure I would remember). Still, the experience itself was what made it so great. After we returned home, we had piranha for dinner – yum!
Later on, we went on another breathtaking adventure to a beautiful lake in search of the infamous anaconda. While traveling by boat to where the anacondas live, we spotted some of the most spectacular animals I have ever seen. We saw a graceful pink river dolphin, some white birds whose thin legs made them look as though they were standing on water and, at the end, a massive anaconda. The snake was huge, with sharp teeth. I was very scared, and I saw my brother hiding behind my dad. As it was a frightening experience for everyone, our tour guides let the reptile loose, and it instantly slithered back into the water.
Though the animal encounters were incredible, one of my favorite parts of the trip was experiencing the local community. We got to taste their food, see how they went about their daily lives and, most importantly, acknowledge the ways in which their lives were different from our own.
The Amazon truly does live up to its name and compares to no place I have ever been before. The Amazon was — and still is — a place that will be forever in my heart.