We were never meant to stay at Juma lodge. We originally booked Tupana lodge but on the morning we were picked up in Manaus we were told Tupana's generator was broken so we would be upgraded to Juma. Thanks to Juma for taking us in at short notice.
We stayed 4 nights/5 days, although to describe it as such is being a little generous. Strictly it was 4 nights/3.5 days - half of the first day is a 3 hour transfer out to the lodge, the final day is the same transfer reversed back to Manaus. The transfer out there consists of a 30 minute van ride to the port in Manaus, a 30 minute boat ride across the river going over the meeting of the waters, a 1 hour van ride further into the wilderness and finally a 1 hour boat ride to the lodge. Same in reverse for transfer back. No air conditioning in the 1 hour van leg so it was windows open all the way. There were separate members of lodge staff accompanying/driving on each leg, all wearing the Juma lodge t-shirt. I don't want to sound like a moaning tourist who believes English should be spoken everywhere by everyone, but none of them spoke a single word of English or even attempted to communicate with us.
Arriving at the lodge we were given a chilled mystery fruit drink, received our key and showed to our room. We were just told to meet in the restaurant for lunch. No time was given but we worked out it was 12pm from the info on the back of our room door. This was a bit disorientating and after the excitement of arriving at the lodge we asked ourselves what is there actually to do?
The lodge was very quiet, there were no more than 8 or 9 guests there at any one time. It was the low season but I didn't expect it to be that quiet given they have 20 or so rooms.
As we had booked a river view at Tupana we were given one of the slightly pricier over water river view lodges at Juma. These are really lovely creations. They are very spacious and have a hammock on the balcony, ideal for chilling out in with a view over the river and trees. The bed was very comfy with huge pillows. Plenty of hooks to dry clothes on (if you go swimming or get rained on) and adequate storage for a short stay. You can see the water below through the gaps in the floorboards, and it's just a mosquito mesh covering the window, no glass, all very nice. The lodge itself does rock slightly if you move too fast across it or a boat in the river creates some waves which all adds to the experience.
The bathroom was pretty good although it isn't completely separate from the room, it's a sort of open top unit in its own right placed in the lodge. There's a lovely spacious shower cubicle although the tap was made out of cheap plastic so felt a bit flimsy. There's no hot water at the lodge but the water is still warm enough to shower in. Separate bin for toilet paper as understandably the plumbing can't take it.
The food in the restaurant was good although I can't say it was excellent, maybe problematic of it being served buffet style. There seemed to be a standard formula for lunch and dinner of rice and/or pasta with a meat, chicken, fish or bean stew dish. There was always fresh fruit and juice available as well as salads. The selection was good but after a few meals it got a bit boring. Breakfast was similar; a formula of eggs cooked various ways, frankfurters in sauce and sausage with onions. The only cereals available were very sweet children's cereals. Again lots of fruit always available. The menus just seemed to lack imagination and it would have been nice to be taught about typical Brazilian ways of cooking meat or fish, a nice touch at breakfast was the tapioca cooked fresh on a hot plate but there was nothing like this at lunch or dinner. Further, we caught piranhas but these never appeared for us to eat.
So, accommodation and food covered the activities work as follows. A typical full day at the lodge consists of breakfast at 7am, an activity from 8.30am until 11ish, lunch at 12pm, another activity from 3pm until 6ish, dinner at 7pm. If the lodge is doing the cayman spotting that will run from about 8pm until 10ish, but that doesn't happen every night. It's pretty formulaic how it's run, however note what you see advertised in the itinerary on the website is not exactly what you will be doing in that exact order. However if you stay a decent amount of time (3 nights) you will cover it all.
We covered a flooded forest boat trip right in to dense forest (watch out for the spiky trees), sunset on the way back, two jungle walks, lunch in the jungle at this outpost the lodge has, two sessions of piranha fishing, cayman spotting, early morning sunrise and a visit to a local family and fruit plantation. All of these activities involve boat trips of varying length so bring lots of sunscreen. The Mosquitos aren't too bad because of the black water but there are still some, especially in the evening and on the jungle walks. They also won't let you on the jungle walks unless you are wearing long trousers.
Our guide was Matteus who was very knowledgable about the local plants, trees and wildlife. He spoke good English as well as Spanish. He also helped us get a monkey out of our room and organised canoes for us. Lock your doors at all times as they can easily get in.
The other staff around the lodge were quite friendly, although they seemed distant. I'm not sure if this was a shyness but it felt like only Matteus was the one who could help us in any meaningful way. It may have been the language barrier but like the staff involved in the transfer they didn't speak English which made it difficult for us to ask them anything.
Between activities and meal times, or if you want to opt out of an activity (as we did on the third full day to avoid another sweltering jungle walk) you can take paddle canoes out from the jetty and go around the waters on your own. You can also go swimming in the river - seemed perfectly safe, relax in the hammock hut or get a drink from the bar. The drinks are quite reasonably priced, 3 reals for a soft drink, 8 for a caipirinha. The wine is very expensive (bring your own).
The place really is wonderful and it's amazing how its been built over the water, but the whole experience might be too organised and packaged for some. Also, take in to account the cost of this place, it is up there on a per night basis with the very top 5 star hotels worldwide. I can understand that the cost of getting stuff out there is always going to be a problem and all meals and activities are included but it still seems expensive. Glad we got the free upgrade from Tupana.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Thank you very much for your great comment about our lodge. Good to know your thoughts and be sure that we will use them to improve our services.
Our rates are based in our costs, which are high mainly because of our location far away the city.
We also do have high costs with generator, but fortunately we were able to purchase a solar system and in the mid term our costs will reduce.
Matheus is one of our new guides, it is important for us to have your praise about his services.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.