I spent a memorable 4 week summer holiday at the Tahuayo Lodges in August and can highly recommend it!
Initially I was wary of booking with a small(ish) company that did not have an office in Europe, but it turned out just fine! I communicated with Paul directly by email – he always responded swiftly and answered all my questions in detail. I made payment by Paypal, which was easy and painless.
I was picked up at the airport and whisked off to the lodge in time for lunch. At the end of my trip I spent one night at the company accommodation in Iquitos, which was lovely, and then had a free day before they transferred me back to the airport. I didn’t have to worry or think about anything for myself at all!
My guide was Dustin, a young, fun loving guy, with a passion for adventure and a particular skill in handling wild anacondas! But, whichever guide you are assigned, they will be amazing. They are all very well trained, have excellent English language skills and are local to the area, so they really know their stuff and work really hard to ensure you get the best experience ever, no matter how long you are staying. I learned a lot about the local lifestyles and culture, as well as the ecology, skills in identifying birds, primates, reptiles etc and I also had a lot of fun – swimming, fishing, canoeing, ziplines, climbing trees, night hiking etc.
If you tell him what you want Paul generally assigns a guide who shares your interests or has particular skills/ experience in them. I spent a (relatively) long time here and saw many families, couples, singles come and go on various lengths of trip – all of them had a fabulous time and insisted they had ‘the best guide’ which is a testament to the success of the system.
Although it has many 5* reviews here the Lodge is not a 5* hotel and does not claim to be. The accommodation is very comfortable, but basic – not all rooms have a private bathroom, electricity is limited and there is no hot water – but the climate of the jungle generally makes frequent cold showers a necessity anyway!
I spent my first week at the main lodge – taking long hikes, fishing for piranha, playing on the canopy zipline, canoeing at night etc – a full program of fun activities from 6am to 10pm. The next week I spent camping. My guide brought an assistant and the 3 of us set up tents on the riverbank about 4-5hrs upriver. This allowed us to get deeper into the forest and hike in different terrain. They took very good care of me, I felt safe and comfortable the whole time. My third week I spent at the research lodge, about 2hrs upriver from the main lodge. There are no private bathrooms here, but the relaxed atmosphere and access to primary forest is far more important. I would highly recommend you try both lodges, even if your visit is short, as the experience is different in each. My only disappointment at the research lodge was the limited amount of research actually going on – but, even though the centre was being underutilised at the time, I still had a really good experience. In my final week I returned to the main lodge, which is closer to the local villages, and had the opportunity to get involved in village life – visiting a school, local houses and doing a little bit of work on a farm. There is also the option of visiting a traditional shaman and a clinic supported by a non-profit making organisation (Angels of the Amazon – a branch of Amazonian Expeditions).
In my month I missed virtually nothing at all about home – I was either too busy having fun or too relaxed, swinging in a hammock sipping a cool beer (easily available at both lodges for $2.50 a bottle). The beds were comfortable, cold showers welcome and the food was tasty and plentiful (a pleasant mix of traditional dishes and some ‘Americanised’ options). Snacks are also available from the ‘bar’ if you need them. If you fish you generally get to eat what you catch – the cook will prepare it for your next meal (even for breakfast if you go night fishing!).
I travel a lot and have never had the desire to return to the same place twice. But I am seriously considering returning here. I went in the dry season – the river was low, fishing good, forest dry. I would love to return in the flood season – much of the forest (except the high ground) is then accessed by canoe, rather than hiking, and the wildlife of the canopy is brought some 30ft or more closer to you. I would like the opportunity to see flowers and fruits, which were not in season in August.
I haven’t uploaded any pictures here because I believe the current photos give a pretty honest view of the place, but I have lots of pictures on facebook so, if you are interested, just message me and I will give you access to them. Feel free to ask me anything about my trip – I will give you a very honest, frank answer – I know what it is like trying to decide how to spend your hard earned holiday savings!
Request a private bathroom when booking, but don't be too disappointed if you don't get one.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.