For the last half of November, my husband and I went on a trip to Peru. We decided to go all out since we knew we’d probably only ever be there once in our lives, so we planned a 5 day trek that would take us to Machu Picchu via the Salkantay trek. Then, the day after we completed our trek and visited Machu Picchu, we were off to Parque Nacional del Manu for 7 days to do some wildlife watching in the jungle.
My best story from the trip is about a close call with a jaguar. Our group spent a lot of time on a boat on Manu River, which is the only way to access the vast majority of the jungle. Around lunch time, just as the sun was poking out of the clouds and the rain was clearing up, we stopped on a beach for a bathroom break. The boys and girls set off to opposite sides of the island and as we looked for a good spot to go, a girl ahead of me exclaimed, “Hey look! There are jaguar tracks here!” Never imagining that the jaguar who made those tracks would still be around, I ran closer to admire them. A few moments later, someone screamed loudly and I looked up in time to see the back half of a massive jaguar flying into the reeds no more than 10 feet ahead of me! We all bolted down the beach towards the boat, but quickly realized that we were safe and all burst into relieved laughter. Our guide assured us that we were never in any real danger because there were so many of us. The jaguar was probably trying to sneak away slowly but once we got close enough it decided to make a quick escape. I’ll never forget the sound of its massive paws hitting the sand as it took off!
The jaguar incident happened too fast for photos, but here are some of my other favourite shots: