This was my 3rd visit to the Amazon jungle with Amazonia Expeditions in under 2 years, and it was the best experience yet, due again largely to the exceptional skills of my guide, Orlando Pinedo Gonzalez, whom I've had the great good fortune to be guided by on each trip. The man is absolutely amazing - his abilities at spotting various well-camouflaged and/or fast-moving creatures border on the preternatural, and his navigational and trail-blazing skills (terrestrial and aquatic) are fantastic - he has always worked incredibly hard to get me up close and personal with various animals that are of interest to me (which, in my case, has a heavy emphasis on reptiles, snakes in particular,) and thanks to his superb photographic talents with both still and video cameras, I have brought back amazing images from each trip. In addition to these considerable talents, Orlando also possesses a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the local flora and fauna (in Spanish and English,) and has an impressive fluency in the latter, as well as a wry sense of humor that I find hysterically funny. In short, I cannot imagine a more perfect guide to the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Reserve than this man who was born and raised in the area, and clearly has abundant enthusiasm for sharing its many natural wonders with others (though I have heard from other guests that his brothers Roberto and Dustin are also very fine guides.)
In addition, I would also highly recommend at least a few days stay at the Resarch Center, which is in an even more remote location than the Tahuayo Lodge; I personally prefer it there, and have arranged my entire stay there on the last 2 visits (though there is no zip-line at that location, if that is a consideration for you.)
I would further encourage prospective first-time visitors to the jungle to relinquish any potentially unrealistic expectations regarding the following:
A.) the amount (and size) of wildlife to be encountered - it is not like one long National Geographic or Discovery Channel special, with 18-foot anacondas engaging in mortal combat with 9-foot caimans at every other bend in the river, and jaguars pouncing on tapirs on the trail ahead, in broad daylight. To paraphrase a recent disappointed visitor, "I can't believe we walked for a whole hour. In the rain. And only found a 5-millimeter long frog." (Yes, but the toxin from that little sucker's skin could theoretically be used to kill all of the aforementioned species, plus a few tourists. And that's not impressive??) So scale down your expectations, and practice acceptance and appreciation of what is - it will make your wildlife encounters much more satisfying.
B.) similarly, the AE itinerary of activities involving wildlife (i.e., "swimming with dolphins," etc.) is by no means a guarantee that you will even see, much less interact with, a certain animal; this is the wild, not Marine World, and the animals clearly have not received copies of said itinerary. (Though if they were to add "donating blood to local mosquito population," that might come as close to a guaranteed wildlife experience as you're likely to have, so be sure to bring plenty of plenty of lemon-eucalyptus repellent, and an anti-itch 'bite pen' for the occasional moments when that proves inadequate.)
C.) And finally, these are not luxury accomodations by any stretch of the imagination; the food is by no means gourmet, you will not get a turn-down service, or even new sheets or towels or trash removal (unless requested, at least at the Research Center,) and the interesting wildlife encounters can sometimes occur in the bathroom, shower, etc.; but if you are looking for an unforgettable nature experience in an incredibly exotic setting, it can be well worth forgoing various physical comforts (and potentially smelling funkier than you've ever imagined was possible - a small spray bottle of Febreeze is an indispensable item) for the adventure of this amazing location.
- Also Known As:
- Amazonia Expeditions` Tahuayo Hotel Iquitos