We embarked on a 6 days/5 nights stay with Amazonia Expeditions, a top rated ecolodge located on the Tahuayo River, a tributary of the Amazon River. Amazonia Expeditions owns two lodges: the main Tahuayo Lodge and the Amazon Research Center. Both are situated within the Area de Conservacion Regional Comunal de Tamshiyacu Tahuayo (ACRCTT). The company is well-reputed and has a charitable arm, Angels of the Amazon, that does a lot of work in giving back to local surrounding communities.
We departed from Cusco on an early morning flight with LATAM, travelling 1.5 hours to Iquitos. From the airport, we were met by representatives from Amazonia Expeditions, who drove us to the main office in Iquitos where their speedboat dock was located. After a brief break for lunch, we hopped onto the speedboat which took us on the three hour journey down the Amazon and Tahuayo Rivers to the main lodge.
Our home in the jungle
On arrival, we were shown to our accommodation. We would stay three days in Tahuayo Lodge and then move upstream for the final three days of our trip at the more remote Amazon Research Center. Both lodges are relatively rustic, but several upgrades have been gradually added over the past few years. They now have 24 hours of solar powered electricity, running hot water, and (slow) WiFi. This is a big deal in the jungle!
Our trip cost covered three square meals per day, prepared by the resident cooking staff with mostly locally sourced ingredients. This made for lots of fish and vegetables, which I really enjoyed.
However, the lodges did not have air conditioning and we did struggle with the hot temperatures and humidity. My portable misting fan finally came in handy. On top of this, there were the mosquitos. We visited during dry season so it could’ve been much worse, but I still came home with at least 20 bites despite attempts to stay covered up in long sleeves and pants, as well as douse myself with my ‘triple therapy’ of DEET lotion and two other sprays.
All kinds of jungle fun
Although there were a few other visitors at the lodge at the same time as us, each group was assigned their own private guide. Our assigned guide, Lander, was a wealth of knowledge about the flora and fauna of the Amazon and also had insanely sharp observational skills for spotting wildlife amidst the thick foliage of the rainforest. There were several moments when I would be struggling simply to not trip and fall on my face, while he was busy identifying monkeys and birds sitting way up at the top of the canopy.
We developed a customized itinerary for the week, choosing from a wide selection of activities.
Over the course of our stay, we tried out night spear fishing, piranha fishing (and eating our catch!), day hiking, night hiking, birdwatching, and canoeing. I was able to get lots of practice on wildlife photography.
We also participated in a short cultural visit to local village El-Chino, where Angels of the Amazon has directed some of its outreach initiatives. In terms of wildlife, there is a population of pygmy marmoset monkeys that lives here, but they were hiding when we visited.
Although we had planned on this being the more relaxing half of our Peru trip, we ended up with another week of early mornings (5:30 to 6 am starts) and strenuous days while in the Amazon. Nature doesn’t wait, after all. We also quickly discovered that it was much more tolerable to embark on our hikes and other physically active excursions early in the day before peak heat. We were in a perpetual state of exhaustion and sweatiness by the time we left, but now that we are back amongst the comforts of home and urban life, I think we will look back on this experience fondly as being quite the adventure.
The last stop on our Peru tour was a one day drop-in to Lima, which I’ll write about next!