Quarantined in the Peruvian Amazon

By: Giancarlo

I am writing from the city of Yurimaguas, the last point with road in the peruvian Amazonas jungle.

This is our story and how Covid-19, the quarantine and curfew shaped a great group of people and we all became a new family.

Quarantine in Peru started on the 16th of March, a group of friends (Joel from USA, Tim from Germany and Leo from Italy) and I were exploring Pacaya Samiria Natural Reserve in Loreto for 5 days without any kind of connection with the world.

We left the Reserve the last day before quarantine began and arrived to Lagunas which is a native community at 2pm and at around 1130pm we finally took the boat which would bring us back to Yurimaguas. Our plan was to try to arrive to the biggest city in this area called Tarapoto but we weren’t able to do it.

In Lagunas, 3 more guys joined us: Pierre from Switzerland, Felix and Robert from Germany. Now we were a group of seven travelers trying to find a way to get to Yurimaguas and find a place to stay during the quarantine.

We were able to take the last boat from Iquitos, which stopped in Lagunas before heading to Yurimaguas, but we had to wait for more than 3 hours in the port of Lagunas in the middle of the night to make the 00:30 am departure.

After 8 hours of traveling through Huagalla river, one of the biggest ones in Peru which feeds Marañón river, we finally reached the amazing Amazonas.

Thunderstorms were part of this trip but at 9am in the morning we finally arrived to Yurimaguas. Local people were a bit scared and worried because they thought that tourists may have brought the virus, they took pictures of us all the time but we could manage the situation and explain to the local people through the authorities, that we were healthy.

We decided to walk from the port in Yurimaguas to the center and look for Yacuruna Guest House where we had decided to spend the first days of quarantine. Yacuruna is a beatiful and rustic house over the edge of Huallaga river and it is run by Loic, a french man who opened the place for us and for all the travelers stuck in Yurimaguas.

In Yacuruna we met 5 more travelers from Germany: Ado and his wife Tina (motorcycle travelers) Lennart and his wife Lea and Pascal. All of them were also stuck. The same day, in the afternoon Laura and Luc a couple from France joined us and, we all together, because of the circunstances, shared the place and the quarantine together.

We all formed a big and international family very different but with many things in common. Couchsurfing was one of the reasons we were together because I tried to find more travelers and help them with the place during the quarantine. We all learned many things like our cultures and language, we shared meals and recipes. We also organize an international chess tournament and played many card games, we also tried to help people with cleaning and painting the neighborhood, Pierre, who is doctor, offered himself as a volunteer in the local hospital to help people in Yurimaguas.

Our days were great despite the circumstances and the difficulty of living in house with 21 other people with different cultures and habits. Some days went slow and others went fast, we really learned to respect to each other and our coexistence during this time was fantastic.

We had an amazing sight of the river, the jungle in front of us, sunrises and sunsets were great but the most amazing thing we could see was the dolphins swimming and jumping in the river. We lived through many storms but we were always together and happy to be sharing this adventure.

We are still stuck here, although half the group has left Peru with the help of their embassy. There are still 8 of us sharing our days with these amazing people who have become our family.

I am very happy of being part of this new family and also of being part of couchsurfing Ambassadors.

International family:
Ado and Tina  (Germany)
Lennart and Lea (Germany)
Luc and Laura (France)
Florence and Simon (Belgium)
Tim, Robert, Felix, Pascal, Paul, Leonie, Lene  (Germany)
Leo, Marco (Italy)
Joel (USA)
Pierre (Switzerland)
Giancarlo (Peru)
Pepe and Emilie (Peru and France)

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