4 Year Old Piranha Fishing In The Amazon!

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Piranha Fishing

Can A 4 Year Old Fish For Piranhas In The Amazon Jungle?

Hell Yeah! A 4 year old CAN fish for piranhas in the Amazon, His name is Joshua and he’s my son and he did just that! In fact a team of us; 5 adults and 1 child (Joshie) where aboard a tiny motorized canoe in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in the depths of the Amazon jungle when he caught the first catch of the day, actually he was the very first one of us to catch two piranhas which also happened to be the biggest! I was Astounded and yelling “My Joshie got a piranha, my Joshie got a piranha” whilst it was swinging and dangling from the wire and steel hook in our tiny canoe!

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Fishing Piranhas Is So Much Fun!

If anyone has fished Piranhas before they will know what I’m talking about when I say its SO much FUN! Just waiting for them to attack that piece of beef, yes BEEF! On the end of the hook was thrilling, tug and PULL, that’s it, hooked! Pull, pull, pull, and yank it up and Ta-Da, a big fat Red Bellied Piranha fish hanging by its razor sharp teeth.  I had absolutely no doubt about him fishing with us, I was hoping he would really enjoy it and still to this very day he asks me “Mummy, remember when we did that really cool thing – Piranha fishing!” I just smile and say “We’ll do it again soon Josh”.

We took the motorized canoe a few miles into the flooded jungle to find a good spot to fish, we tied the canoe to a tree trunk and stopped for some lunch; sandwiches, apples and juice, after we had finished we took out the wooden sticks with wire tied to the ends, we attached the iron hooks with a 1cm chunk of beef at the end securely by folding it over about twice to ensure the fast-paced piranhas didn’t nick and run with the bait.  We took one end of the stick and put it in the water to stir it up to alert the attention of the piranhas, then we placed the end with the hook in the water by about 40-50cm or so and held it still, after only a short period of time you would feel the bait was touched, when the next contact was felt you would quickly yank the rod up and hope to have a juicy piranha attached to the end.  Lots of times they would just take the bait so it does require patience but not too much.

At times we caught baby piranhas but quickly de-hooked them and chucked them about a meter away from the canoe so they wouldn’t get caught again.  So we were there, had lunch and was now fishing piranhas for our chef to cook back at the Samiria Eco Lodge, we only kept what we needed which was about 4 of them, the rest we would obviously place back into the water instantly hoping they would be someone else’s dinner.

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Baby Piranha.

Piranha Teeth!

Piranha teeth are no joke, they are extremely sharp, one touch is like a razor blade slicing, which bleeds and bleeds.  Their teeth are triangle shape, which locks onto food, hungry schools of piranha can strip flesh from the bones of large animals in only a matter of minutes. We went to Iquitos Zoo with another guide and saw them in a large pond where we gave them piranha feed, there were hundreds jumping out the water in a frenzy, they must have been really hungry, it was a bit sad actually because in the wild they aren’t like that.

That night for our 3-course meal back at the Eco Lodge was Piranha! It tasted absolutely divine, salty with the distinct taste of roasted chicken, 10/10 if you don’t mind me saying.

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Piranha Facts

  • One of the best habitats that you can find Piranhas is in the Amazon basin in the river and flooded forests.
  • There are up to 60 types of piranha species. Piranhas live collectively within a school of fish which can easily contain up to 1,000.
  • The indigenous Amazonia tribes use the teeth of piranha as weapons and tools.
  • Piranhas are normally about 14 – 26cm long.
  • All piranhas have a single row of razor sharp teeth in both jaws; the teeth are tightly packed and interlocking (via small cusps) and are used for rapid puncture and shearing – Ouch!
  • Piranha attacks tend to peak in the dry season when food is relatively scarce and the water levels are lower.
  • Some Brazilian rivers have warning signs about lethal piranhas.

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Another type of Amazonian fish eaten by locals.

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In-fact, we ate it too!

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Big teeth!

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Flooded forest, perfect for fishing piranhas.

Sunsets Of Lima

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Sunsets In Lima

The Sunsets Of Lima

The sun sets over the Pacific Ocean which gives a great opportunity to capture wonderful photos.  If you really want to enjoy a sunset in Lima, you have to enjoy life and walk right on the boardwalk or take a tour bus ride an hour before the sun is due to set.  There are many interesting spots to stop and take great pictures, a nice place to walk is down to the Larco Mall area to enjoy some excellent food and drinks.

Location Of Lima

Lima, the capital city of Peru is a vibrant, young and bustling city with wide streets and plenty to see and do around town, it is known as the gastronomical capital of the Americas, a delightful mix of Andean, Asian and Spanish culinary traditions.  Lima comprises of 43 districts and gracefully stands overlooking the Pacific Ocean located in the valleys of the Chillon, Rimac and Lurin rivers on flat terrain in the Peruvian Coastal Plain.

Wheather In Lima

Climate wise Lima is classified as subtropical, with a mild climate both in the desert and tropic regions, in fact Lima has a perfect temperature that rarely falls below 12 degrees centigrade or surpasses 29 degrees centigrade through the whole year.  Summer takes place between the months of December – April and winter is June – October.

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El Beso (the kiss) is a large sculpture in the “Love Park” by the Pacific Ocean in the Miraflores district of Lima.

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Unique sunsets on Miraflores Boardwalk.

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The coast of Lima, Peru, looking out towards Isla de San Lorenzo.

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Sun shinning over the “Love Park” in Miraflores.

 

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Down by the sea.

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Larco Mall shopping centre in Miraflores, Lima.

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Paragliding in the sunset.

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Sunset over the cliff.

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looking out from our tour bus into the the sunset.

Planning Domestic Flights In Peru & Getting Stranded

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The Amazon at sunset

Domestic Flights In Peru; Cusco, Amazonias & Getting Stranded!

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Planning our big adventure to Peru was beyond amazing, I thoroughly enjoyed all the research conducted and the time spent throughout the whole trip soaking in the excitement, it was building up every step of the way.  

Looking at a map of Peru I remember thinking to myself, how an earth am I going to master this and pull it off with a 4yr old when I don’t have a clue – I had never ever done anything of the sort before!  I started by making notes and jotting down the major areas we wanted to see and for roughly how long we wanted to stay in each one.  We wanted explore Lima and relax there as it was our base for domestic flights, you need to get to Cusco to access Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, and then Iquitos in the far north of Peru for The Amazonias region for access to the Amazon jungle. All this required quit a few internal flights.

Bus or coach to Cusco and back is possible and for a fraction of the flight price but it would take far too long about 21 hours each way! And with a child it just wouldn’t be practical, our aim was to see and discover as much as possible in just over 3 weeks. I was loving this challenge!

Checking Flights On Google

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I started looking and Googling “Airlines in Peru” and “Domestic flights in Peru”, I came across several airlines operating in Peru; Tacna, Peruvian Airlines, LAN and Star Peru.  LAN was very expensive with the all the others following close behind in price except for Star Peru, they were the exception in the bunch and priced very well in comparison to their competitors.  Customer service from Star Peru was excellent too, I had called them twice from London to confirm a few things, they were very polite and eager to help me. So Star Peru it was!

Iquitos Is An Up And Coming Destination, Trust Me..

I was checking a mixture of departure dates and times for our flight to Cusco, prices were good but higher compared to flying to Iquitos in Northern Peru – Iquitos still isn’t hugely touristy but I heard from a good Peruvian friend who owns a new lodge there that things are changing and the Government in Peru are funding a huge advertising campaign to bring in more tourists to the region. Actually Peru’s Tourist board and making huge investments! (Note – There is no such direct flight from Cusco to Iquitos, you have to come back to Lima and go from there – But I think this will change soon).

Over the next few weeks I was keeping an eye on the prices at Star Peru, prices seemed stable for about 3 weeks then they started to creep up, I booked my flights before I missed the chance risking they may get full, the very next day I decided to check for curiosity (it also developed into a bit of a habit hahaha) When I checked I shrieked in dismay at what I had seen; the prices had dropped by well over 40% since my booking, always, I repeat ALWAYS use Incognito when looking and booking flights! as cookies will track you, I was soooo annoyed but this is life and we take our chances.

Technical Issues In The Cockpit Of The Plane

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My overall experience flying with Star Peru was GOOD/OKAY, I mean there was one time we got stranded at the airport in the Jungle..

When you fly to Iquitos from Lima the plane makes a stop-off in Pucallpa. After 10 minutes of departing Pucallpa I distinctly remember seeing everyone starting to look confused, I pulled my earphones out and vaguely heard an announcement (my ears were semi blocked from the altitude) The female flight attendant mentioned a TECHNICAL FAULT!, OMG I thought, we are going to die!

The plane was instructed to turn back immediately and land in Pucallpa again. We landed and evacuated the aircraft to the terminal waiting area. We were told the engineers needed to check a few things over before we could fly again, sorry but I was not going to get back on that same aircraft, no way! After an hour or so we were told to hang-on and wait for news, we were given refreshments of delightful Inca Kola (sarcasm). People started to get agitated demanding to know what happened and what will happen, and damn right so as hours had passed. All I know is that we were told to wait patiently, a few members of the airline staff came to keep re-anouncing the same thing, the20130406_094443n we were told we couldn’t use the plane and that the airline would try to get us on another flight – except Star Peru didn’t have any other flights that day.

Another plane landed, I think it was LAN aircraft, it was massive and we were at their mercy, we were told we could get ready as they had space for the tourists! (there were only a handful of tourists – the rest were Peruvian workers) Woohoo we’re going to the jungle, then we were told “No”, and the plane left.

We Were Stranded With No More Flights Until The Next Day, Even They Could Potentially Be Full..

We hung around the airport, I got chatting to an amazing family who were originally Peruvians living in Boston, USA and had come to Iquitos for a holiday. They were so cool, especially Martha bless her, she would translate the details from Spanish to English for me and little Josh to understand. After a lot of heated talking between the passengers and staff, Martha announced suddenly “Get your bag, were going to a hotel with a pool, paid for by Star Peru including all the meals” I was liking this for sure, a twist in our plans, interesting indeed!

You can read about our stay in Pucalpa here.

Pool in Pucalpa

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Below is a map of where we travelled in Peru.

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The plan went like this:  Lima then off to Cusco then back to Lima then again off to the Amazon via Pucallpa and then Iquitos AND finally back to Lima before departing back to London…. Via Paris lol. Plus we did trips to the Pacaya Samiria Nature Reserve, Machu Piccuhu, Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca and other places! – Phew!

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