Tahuayo Lodge is quite different from any other hotel that I have stayed in. It offers the advantage of providing good housing in the middle of the Amazonia jungle. But it certainly isn’t a luxury location. Here is a description of the amenities, so you can decide if this jungle lodge is for you:
•Electricity: There is none available, except for a small generator that is used only to recharge camera batteries. This means that all rooms in the lodge are dark, because little light penetrates through the thatched roof and wooden walls. It is difficult to find a place with enough light to read a book by during the day. At night, you read by flashflight or not at all. Oil or kerosene lamps provide light for the early evening hours in the dining room and along the walkways. It is very difficult to read anything using these lamps.
•Rooms: Each room has at least two single beds. Some rooms have double beds as well as single beds. Each bed has clean sheets and pillows. The beds are reasonably comfortable. Each room has a set of shelves you can pile your belongings on. There are a few nails or pegs for you to hang things on; more would be useful. Chairs are virtually non-existent. I understand there were some rocking chairs in the honeymoon suites, but no other room I saw possessed a chair. The rooms are all quite dark, even during the day. Wood panels comprise the walls, up to about 5 feet high. Then the walls consist of window screens, from about 5 feet up to 8 feet. The ceiling consists of window screens, too. These screens allow air flow. Well above your screened ceiling, there is a thatched roof that effectively keeps out the rain.
•Bathrooms: As of May 2007, half of the rooms had private bathrooms and half used communal bathrooms. Get a private bath in your room if you can, because they are nicer than the communal ones. The communal ones had wooden walls, but didn’t have screens for ceilings, so both mosquitos and snakes can enter the shower stalls. Other guests saw a boa constrictor over one of the communal shower stalls. The joke is that the boa’s job was to hold your shampoo bottle for you. The water
in the showers is drawn from the river and is not heated. Most folks found the water to be too cold for comfort. My advice is to take a shower only during the daylight hours (so you can see what you are doing) and after you have returned from a hot excursion. That way, the cool water will feel good instead of cold.
•Food: The kitchen staff prepares food for all of your meals. The lodge’s website claims that the food is prepared carefully so that foreigners won’t get sick from eating it. This is true. We ate all sorts of food that travelers are usually supposed to avoid (such as skins of vegetables like tomatoes and salads) and had no ill effects.
At lunch and dinner, there is a main meat dish. In addition, there are generally 6 or 7 other dishes that contain a variety of vegetables and fruits. Either potatoes or yucca/manioc is served at each lunch or dinner meal. The food is good and healthy. Fish is frequently offered as a second meat dish (when it isn’t the primary meat dish). Breakfast usually consists of a soft mild cheese (blanco?), canned ham slices, slices of white bread, and fruit. Sometimes the fruit is fried plantain.
•Drinks: The lodge filters and purifies river water and makes it available as drinking water for the guests. No one got sick from drinking this water. You can fill up your water bottles for excursions using this drinking water. Instant coffee (Nescafe) is always available, along with tea bags and hot water. Coffee is not brewed at the lodge. There is a small variety of soft drinks, a couple of different beers, and several hard liquors available for purchase in the dining room. Fruit juices are occasionally served with a meal, usually with breakfast. They are usually from fruits that foreigners are not familiar with, and they are good.
•Personal Guides: Each set of guests (usually a couple of people) gets their own guide. The guides are local citizen who grew up in the jungle and have learned to speak English and to provide English names for most of the plants and animals. The guides take you everywhere. When you go out in a boat, they either run the motor or paddle the canoe. When you go out on a hike, they walk in front of you, breaking the trail with their machete and identifying animals and plants as you go. The guides are quite knowledgeable and very helpful. They offer activities to you at 6am, 9am, 3pm, and 8pm each day.
• Zip Line: I think it is more accurate to call this a canopy tour than a zip line. Tahuayo Lodge’s zip line doesn’t compare favorably with the zip lines in Costa Rica for either speed or distance. The zipping at Tahuayo Lodge is slow and for short distances; there are only 3 lines and 4 platforms. But you do get a great view from the top of the trees. And if no one is in a hurry, you can hang out up there for quite a while, either on the lines or on the platforms. To get up to the first platform, you either climb a really long way up by yourself, using “ascenders”, or the guides pull you up using a pulley. This is where the guides really earn their pay, particularly with big, heavy guests. It is a hot, sweaty job for them.
•Mosquitos and other Hazardous Animals: We were at Tahuayo Lodge during the middle of May. The mosquitos weren’t bad then, but they certainly were there. I spent one afternoon at the lodge instead of going on an afternoon excursion, and I wore shorts both that afternoon and evening. DEET generally discourages the mosquitos, but it doesn’t keep all of them away. I collected about 30 mosquito bites
from that afternoon and evening in shorts, mostly on my legs and feet. (And I never wore shorts again.) However, I only felt about 10 of them. And they weren’t really itchy or bothersome. If you stay inside of the screened-in areas at night, you will only get a few mosquito bites during your stay. If you spend time outside of the screened areas, you should apply DEET. Mosquitos are bad on overnight
camping trips. We didn’t find any other hazardous creatures in the lodge. In particular, we didn’t find any in our room or in our shoes or in the common screened-in areas. But this is the Amazon, and you shouldn’t expect it to be insect- or snake-free.
•Other Guests: The most interesting part of our trip was meeting other people who had decided to vacation in the Amazonian jungle. They were all quite normal people, from all walks of life. Most were from the U.S., although we also met a couple of people from Canada and a British honeymooning couple from Tanzania. We met several mothers of small children who were vacationing on their own, without their families. (What a way to get away from it all!) Most people came with their spouse or with a good friend. Ages ranged from about 30 to 76.
•Temperature: The temperature was generally in the 80s (Fahrenheit).
I think it may have dropped into the high 70s after many hours of rain once. I don’t think it ever got into the 90s. It is possible to be cold, when you have gotten all wet and then are in the motor boat traveling fast for a while. If, however, you can’t handle 90 degrees of heat at 95% humitidy all of the time, then you don’t want to visit this lodge. There is no way to get away from either the heat or the humidity, so you had better be able to either enjoy or tolerate it.
•Dampness and Humidity: The Amazon is a rain forest, and that means that it rains a lot. The humidity was always over 90%, and was probably generally 98%. You frequently get rained on when you go out in a boat or for a hike. When your clothes get wet, they generally take at least 3 days to dry. Even your dry, unworn clothes become damp from the humidity. So you should come prepared with some plastic
bags, to take your wet clothes and shoes back home with you. You should expect these damp clothes to smell somewhat unpleasantly. The lodge offers a free laundry service, but you should allow a minimum of 2 days for your clothes to dry, and 3 or 4 days is a safer bet.
- Also Known As:
- Amazonia Expeditions` Tahuayo Hotel Iquitos