50 Things I Learned in the Jungle

I’m baaaack! Peru was amazing and an incredible, eye-opening trip, but I am so happy to be home! Our 16 day trip started with a flight from DC to Miami, and then a (long) flight to Lima, Peru. We spent one quick night by the airport in a hostel, flew to Cusco the next morning, and then left the following day for a 6 night, 7 day jungle tour.


Me and Stacy

At the beginning, the jungle trip was a little touch and go. Keep in mind I’d never been camping before (except when I was in middle school, according to my mother) so this was quite a way to start. For the first couple of days, Stacy and I both had a hard time adjusting to life in the jungle. Being so hot all the time, having a daily regimen of Deet only, and always feeling dirty were a little hard to get used to, but I think we reached the point of acceptance around day three or four. We were in a group of 10 people and got pretty close with the whole group over the course of that week.


By the end of the trip, we had totally embraced it, learned so much, and were sad to be done! I shared this list with the group on our last night during dinner (pictured above), so I wanted to share it with you all, too.

50 Things I learned in the Jungle

1. I am not as adventurous as I thought I was.

2. Waking up at 6:30 am is considered “sleeping in” in the jungle.

3. How to pee the right way outside – squat low, lean forward and choose a downhill, if possible.

4. You can in fact live without Internet, but only for one week in my world.

5. Nothing dries in the jungle, so I really should have stopped expecting it to.

6. Peace and quiet is often underrated.


Watching the sunset over the Manu River.

7. Animals in their natural habitat are even more intriguing than I expected.


The jaguar we saw chilling by the river.

8. Biodegradable toilet paper is a must have at all times.

9. The “lasts 10 hours” claim on deet does not apply in the jungle.

10. Compared to some people on the trip, I am not as tasty to bugs as I would have expected.

11. Cold showers can actually be refreshing.

12. How to brush my teeth with bottled water without skipping a beat.

13. Some people can live without electricity, but I am not one of those people.


Sun kissed on the last night.

14. Going to bed before 9pm is completely acceptable in the jungle.

15. Waking up to the sounds of the jungle is the best way to do it.

16. Stacy is actually quiet when I’m not around.

17. Instant coffee can be delicious, especially with powdered milk and sugar.

18. It’s ok to eat soup when it’s really hot out, even for every meal.

19. It doesn’t take a lot for people to truly be happy.

Boat Tour

20. I will never get tired of watching monkeys.

21. Ice is often a luxury that is often taken for granted.

22. I can fall asleep anywhere when sleep deprived enough, even with my head banging repeatedly against a bus window.

23. I really should have studied more Spanish before my trip, as I’m not very good at hand charades.

24. Birds are actually pretty cool.


25. Mosquito nets may cause weird dreams and/or hallucinations in the night.

26. It’s possible to gain weight from being sedentary and eating three large meals, two sugary snacks, and dessert each day, even in the jungle…

27. Wearing the same thing repeatedly, even under conditions causing extreme, prolonged sweating, is perfectly acceptable, except for with your underwear.

28. Drinking a hot beverage during the peak heat during the afternoon is not a good decision for me.

29. No one appreciates cows alongside the river in the jungle.


30. Always check the water jug for bugs before you fill your bottle.

31. Instead of watching out for deer, you have to watch out for cows, lambs, and pigs in the streets.

32. I’m not good at holding my tongue, even in Peru.

33. It’s very common to crave cookies and candy by 10 or 10:30am in the jungle.

34. I would become comfortable peeing in front of a group of 10 people I met just days before.

35. In certain tribes when a man loves a woman, the father gets to “try him out” first. Despite where your mind may have gone, this involves giving him an axe so he can attempt to cut down an iron tree.

36. You cannot extinguish a candle on the nightstand from inside your mosquito net.
Mosquito Net

37. My only useful survival skill is comic relief.

38. The jungle is full of natural medicine.

39. Tough and strong are two different things.


40. One benefit of cold showers is that your mirror doesn’t steam up.

41. Jungle viagra, which ironically comes from a very small tree, goes into a drink which is named “69”.

42. For some reason, people from the USA are perceived as loud.

43. Despite their intention, it is possible to fall asleep with a cheek full of coca leaves.

44. The proper way to tell someone they have a booger in their nose is to say “hey, you have a bat in the cave”.


45. Unfortunately, cockroaches can fly.

46. Cock of the rock is not what you think it is – its the national bird of Peru.

47. Turns out potatoes go with everything.

48. The reserve zone of the jungle is really far away from Cusco. I’m talking 12 hours in a bus, followed by many, many hours in a boat.

Mo (2)

49. Bathrooms along the river are never where you expect them to be.

50. Laughter is one thing that crosses all language barriers.

9 Comments on 50 Things I Learned in the Jungle

  1. Gwen
    July 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm (7 years ago)

    SO cool, Beth! Can’t wait to hear more about your trip! I never would make it in the jungle for that long!

  2. Lisa Eirene (@LisaEirene)
    July 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm (7 years ago)

    Great post. So cool! Sounds like a fantastic trip. I’d love to do something like that. The jungle scares me a bit (i.e. all the poisonous things and creepy bugs).

    It’s not quite the same but last summer when I went to Hawaii for a week I disconnected. I rarely went online and just relaxed. It was such a refreshing, cool experience and I felt so much happier. You are right, it doesn’t take much to be happy. Really.

  3. Grace Lynch
    July 8, 2013 at 3:26 pm (7 years ago)

    Welcome home, Beth! Sounds like you had an amazing adventure! Me and mosquitos don’t mix, I don’t think I would have survived quite so well! Looking forward to hearing more about your trip! And your next adventure 🙂

  4. Phyllis Apkarian-Gaumond
    July 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm (7 years ago)

    Again, you have a deep understanding of yourself and your needs, and you communicate them with great humor. What a wonderful opportunity to share these insights with us. I would have channeled my knowledge of Spanish to you if I had the ability to do that. You are a champion in my book, Beth. I can’t wait for the next post.

  5. Shannon
    July 8, 2013 at 9:17 pm (7 years ago)

    Cockroaches can fly? Oh lord. It’s a sad day for me.

    Looks like you had a great trip!!!

  6. yogawithgaileee
    July 9, 2013 at 8:53 am (7 years ago)

    Sounds like fun. My bro was in the Peace Corps in Peru many, many moons ago, and as a family we went to visit him when I was 12 years old (he is 10 years older.) We took a Volkswagon Beetle from Huancayco and visited various points to Cusco, and visited Machu Pichu, along with other spots. Didn’t quiet have the adventure you did, but did the touristy thing, via a car adventure. Spent the night in some interesting places along the way, ate some *interesting* food. Papa Fritas (french fries) was a 12 year olds dream food, back then!

    Great 50 things! Congrats!

  7. girlsgoneactive
    July 11, 2013 at 12:12 am (7 years ago)

    I really enjoyed reading your 50 things. Especially when you said your only survival skill was comic relief. I think that is how I would be as well.

  8. brenda
    July 11, 2013 at 3:52 pm (7 years ago)

    Love, love, love!


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