Time of year
chrisNZ wrote a review Apr 2020
Hamilton, New Zealand14 contributions3 helpful votes
One of the craziest adventures I have been on. My partner and I are from New Zealand and went to Tapiche reserve at the beginning of November 2019 (beginning of the wet season- we would have limited access to swamp areas but other areas would open up). We flew out of Auckland 6pm 1/11/2019 NZ time and arrived in Iquitos 11pm 1/11/2019 local time! We were picked up at the airport by the pre arranged private transport by Tapiche Reserve. We spent 2/11/2019 buying supplies for the tour to start on 3/11/2019. We met a tour guide from another company while exploring Iquitos, who tried to sell us a tour of the amazon, we advised we had already booked with Tapiche, he replied that we would see a lot, he had nothing but high remarks of Tapiche Reserve. Transportation entails a public 2 hour bus and 4hour hour speed boat ride to the last town ( where you have lunch and we were served this very nice honey water) nearest the reserve, followed by a 5 hour private speed boat ride. We went on a 3 night/ 4 day private tour, of which a total of 2 days were sadly dedicated transit. When we arrived we wished we could have gone for longer! Unfortunately due to travel constraints we could only do the 3 night tour, it was worth the travel. The lodge is very rustic; village huts which makes this unique and authentic. It was comfortable enough to sleep on the beds especially with the long days of adventuring. We were able to charge our cameras easily. Their permanent staff is : Patricia (operates the backpackers in Iquitos) - very warm and welcoming. Informative especially when she gives you the details on the transport to the reserve, she even made us a traditional breakfast on departure day. She can give good local information on shops for example mobile phone card shops that work well in Iquitos. Deborah (works from the US who deals with bookings and operations)- Quick to reply and informative. Very hard working and can make things happen! We very much appreciate her efforts for the planning and during the end of our trip. Katoo (founder/owner/operator/guide)- Fascinating person, with many stories. Expert in the jungle. Please follow his instructions and leads to have the best experience. Very friendly, funny and open. Make sure you ask him as many questions as possible and inform him on what you want to see and visit during your stay. He even made us a sound recording of the sounds we heard in the jungle. We were luckily to have Katoo on both days, possibly due to booking the private tour. Verdi (chef),- excellent cook, we enjoyed each meal. She made a lot of different quality food! Guides: Jose - We meet at Requena, he spoke little English but was very friendly and was . We had a good conversation at the restaurant with the help of Google translate. We even met his family! We didn't know much Español which is our fault, but the transport and hiking went well and he would pro actively show us the environment eg. Spotting out dolphins, monkeys and birds . Very knowable of the environment and good leadership. He is from the area so this is his backyard,. He is talented with taking images with the combination of mobile a phone and binoculars. Segundo- We had Segundo on the second full day hike and transport back. He spoke 0 English and we speak no Spanish (We were in his country so should have learnt Español ). He did initiate great service by trying to enhance the trip eg. Helping us see better from different advantage points and giving us pointers on how to use the binoculars. Friendly , expert in the jungle. He has the natural expert ability to track wildlife as he is from the area. There was a lot of charades, nodding and shaking of the head. Very hard worker to upkeep the service Tapiche operates. The mornings began with breakfast at 5am, leaving at 6am for a 7 hour hike and then a 3 hour boat ride at 3pm. We booked a private tour but expected other tourists at the lodge. Surprisingly we had the entire lodge to our self's from the Sunday until 4 friendly German backpackers arrived on the Tuesday night. The breakfasts, lunches and dinners are the open parts to communicate with all staff and other clients. Definitely be proactive as you will learn a lot. Our lodge had a private bathroom with running cold water. The food was good! Processed ingredients were almost always non existent. We had a mix of known and local food with hints of Mexican and Incan food ideas especially with the hard corn. During the nights you could spend hours just listening to the sounds and guessing what they were coming from. During those 2 full days in the reserve, we witnessed many various types of monkeys in close proximity (10-50m away). The list includes the Woolly monkey, Squirrel monkey, Tamarin, Brown Fronted Capuchin, Red Howler, Red Uakari, Pigmy Mimisota, White Fronted Capuchin (potentially new species or sub species in the world). Other interesting sights include: Endless beautiful birds such as Parrots, Eagle's, Woodpeckers, Kingfishers, Toucans, Owls, Herons and Falcons. Caimans, Pink Toed Tarantula, Viper snake, Gian Cane Toad, Centipedes and also 15 dolphins(grey and pink species)! 3 Toed Sloths and butterfly's including the Tiger. Different species of turtles, huge Bullet Ants, Fishing bats and fresh Jaguar foot prints. We heard a large pack of boar maybe 100m away and boy did they leave a stench. the main ingredient to Ayuwaska nicknamed the cannon ball fruit ( monkeys take it to cleanse their bodies, not sure how they would react on it). We saw how nature can recover when there isn't any human interference and impacts. We witnessed many symbiotic relationships. Whether it was Katoo providing the reserve with protection and in return the nature would provide clients or with ants and the trees. The tree would provide the ants with nutrients and a home, in return the ants would make sure that the tree didn't have to compete with other trees and plants. Imagine what else we would've witnessed with an extra day :D We witnessed much much than what was describe or even captured. Tapiche reserve has a small group of knowledgeable hard working individuals in the common goal to protect, preserve and grow the reserve. Their operation is exceptional. We were comfortable and their service helped the experience even with our limited Español. We will hopefully return in the next 6 years! Our YT video is titled "Tapiche Reserve - Amazon Adventure Iquitos Peru". Insta is "djzecarri " for more images.…
Date of experience: November 2019
1 Helpful vote
Response from TapicheJungle, Manager at Tapiche Reserve
Thank you for your visit, for taking such care and time to write a detailed, thoughtful review, and for sharing photos and videos of your experience. I will pass along your compliments to our staff, who will be happy to know that you enjoyed and appreciated their work. We're glad you felt the journey was worth it, even with your limited time schedule, and we appreciate your willingness to travel for the experience. The remote location away from human development has been an important factor in helping to protect the forest and animals, even though it means a longer transfer for visitors to and from the lodge. We do our best to provide solid infrastructure and a foundation from which each person can make a personal connection to nature, and it means so much to us that you felt comfortable and wanted to stay longer. Thanks to the generous donations of friends and supporters, we've continued our conservation work during the pandemic even though our tourism operations have been suspended since March, and we look forward to re-opening to visitors as soon as conditions allow. We would love to see you back at the reserve in the future, perhaps for a longer stay the next time!
learningtocrawl wrote a review Mar 2020
Roma, Italia15 contributions7 helpful votes
I was there February 2020 for a 5days 4nights stay, attracted by the conservative project in itself, by the general attitude expressed by their site and by the remoteness of the location, of course. It was a formidable experience, raw and passionate; what they really offer is all the time you need to get in deep connection with the jungle. I really appreciated it: you are there for the wild and you get it. No fancy indoor policy, all about the outdoor, a continuous drifting through breathtaking scenaries, lagoons, affluents, forest, river banks. That moment when we exited the intricate flow of a small river to enter a clearing full of great white herons, or when we stood still sitting on the floor of the forest while a curious monkey came closer and closer to have a better look at us, or the pack of capibaras hiding and running on the bank, but you spot countless activities out there, going undisturbed and free as it should be: sloths and monkeys on the trees, hundreds of birds, caymans and dolphins gently patroling the river. It felt like the more open you were, more generously nature responded. I admire the people who defend and nourish this place. José, Segundo, Gabriela and captain Katoo, who gets goosebumps when a parrot sings and is moody and alive, and turns off the engine of the boat to let us drift under millions of stars. It felt real and abundant, didn't need anything else, at the end of every day I was happily exhausted. And folks, mosquitos were really no big deal. So in the end, everyone has a role in a touristic transaction, and you can focus on improving this and that excetera to answer a wider demand of comfort, but you must realize that what is on offer is priceless. It is an exceptional chance. This project is special and there were many moments I felt at home, because undoubtely this is driven by heart. Ciao and thank you.…
Date of experience: February 2020
Response from TapicheJungle, Manager at Tapiche Reserve
Hello and thank you so much for your support and your touching review. We can feel the heart in your writing and are honored and humbled that you could feel the heart in our work. We so appreciate that you understood the real focus of the experience as being about connection to nature; we really try to provide the structure and foundation for visitors to connect as purely and as personally as possible, without distractions. A lot of it is up to each individual's mindset and willingness to be open to the experience, and we are so happy to know that it was a good experience for you. Thank you again for your visit, your support, and for approaching the jungle with an open heart and mind.
ooccooccoo wrote a review Feb 2020
Trujillo, Peru4 contributions
I first went to Tapiche Reserve in 2011 on my first trip to Peru and Latin America in general. By total chance I ended up being the very first guest to walk through the door at the newly opened Green Track Hostel in Iquitos, a city in the middle of the northern Peruvian Amazon only accessible by plane or boat. Here I met the owner, Murilo, who told me he had just acquired a large part of the rain forest which he had turned in to a reserve, kicking out illegal loggers and hunters. He asked me if I would like to go and said that I would be the very first group to go there. It sounded pretty interesting and I was keen to see the Amazon so off we went, myself, him, two Irish guys and a Swiss girl. It was a gruelling 12 hours or so by boat to get there in full sun and later intense rain. In hindsight, we didn't really see that much, a few species of birds and one species of monkey. I was just happy to be in the jungle. Murilo said he was surprised that I came back (with my mum!)! The second visit (January 2020) was a different story and shows just how quickly the Amazon and nature in general can recover with a good conservation effort. The people at Tapiche have been working hard to keep hunters and loggers off the land but also offering them jobs where possible as guides or building the lodge to try and show them there is another way. They also had a much faster (and more comfortable!) boat and we got there in less than 10 hours :D This time we saw so much more, it's hard to believe I was in the same place. High lights were 7 or 8, maybe more, different species of monkey, pink and grey dolphins, countless different birds and (my new favourite animal) giant Amazonian otters. Goes without saying that if anyone wants to see virgin rain forest (sadly becoming a rare thing) and the creatures that inhabit it then get in touch with Tapiche. Also want to add that I believe you can volunteer there too, they have a programme where they collect turtle eggs to stop them getting poached and sold for food. Turtles get incubated and released when they're big enough. Get in touch with them for better info on volunteer opportunities.…
Date of experience: January 2020
Response from TapicheJungle, Manager at Tapiche Reserve
Thank you so much for taking a chance on us at the very beginning and for coming back to support us again so many years later! We're honored that we could share our conservation progress with you and happy that you and your mom got to see and experience the results of our work. It truly is inspiring to see how robust nature can be if just given a little peace and quiet to do what it's meant to do. And yes, our turtle rescue project is growing every year, and, thanks to the generous donations of our friends and supporters, we've been able to continue our conservation work during the pandemic despite not having income. We are working hard towards re-opening to both visitors and volunteers and are doing what we can to keep the forest and animals protected in the meantime. Thank you again for your longtime support!
Emma wrote a review Oct 2019
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the Tapiche reserve, but it is not for everyone because it's very basic. The adventure really began in the Green Track Hostel in Iquitos where Patricia explained every detail we needed to know; not to mention providing us with a great breakfast, storage space for our bags while we were away and good local recommendations for places to eat. The Tapiche Reserve is very basic and rustic and there are not ‘mod cons’ and wifi! That said there are naturally warm showers, mosquito nets, wild animals, amazing noises, fantastic plants, colourful birds, fabulous staff and good hearty food (and lots of it). The journey to Tapiche from Iquitos is long and involves a bus, a public river taxi and the private Tapiche Reserve speedboat. The whole trip gives a voyeuristic view into some of Peru’s remotest communities and river life. The days spent at the reserve started early with breakfast at 5.30am, but the reward was being led through the Rainforest by knowledgeable, friendly and experienced guides. We stopped often to watch and listen and again were rewarded by sightings of numerous primates, birds, river dolphins, insects, sloths and snakes to mention just a few. The highlight for me was the trip to the lagoon and a view from the top of the tower (built as a local community project and not for those with vertigo!): how fabulous to be at the height of the rainforest canopy (climbing up is optional). The lagoon was bursting with bird life and plenty of camen. Go with an open mind and hopefully it will be filled by new perspectives on what’s really important………. All the staff were equally amazing, passionate and committed to the work of the project.…
Date of experience: September 2019
Response from TapicheJungle, Manager at Tapiche Reserve
Responded Dec 26, 2019
Thank you for your visit and for your review. It was such a pleasure to have your family with us at the reserve! It means a lot to us that you chose to spend some of your family vacation time at our lodge. We loved seeing how each of the kids responded and interacted with nature. It's incredibly rewarding for us to witness those moments when visitors really connect and feel something visceral as a result of their exposure to the animals and nature. Perhaps this visit has even helped to spark the kids' interest in nature studies, if not at least an increased understanding and appreciation of the world's ecosystems. We believe in cultivating interest and respect for nature at any age, but it feels particularly salient for our world's youth and the generations that will steward the earth after us. Thank you again for adventuring out our way! Sending you big hugs and jungle love!
Sharada wrote a review Oct 2019
Bangalore, Karnataka, India7 contributions2 helpful votes
When we were frustrated, sitting in Cusco, almost giving up on Iquitos and Peruvian Amazon, seeing all the bad experiences, the way animals are disrepected and their spaces violated, Tapiche dropped on us unexpectedly and we are ever so thankful for the selfless travellers who make an effort to update Wikitravel pages. The first thing we read about Tapiche, that it was an unbelievable 400+ Kms away from Iquitos, got us super excited. Then, their website, their unapologetic attitude towards the basic conditions there that they have so aptly put together in a page "Is Tapiche for me" made us resolve that it would be "Tapiche or nothing" for us. Without any further doubts, we swiftly wrote to them to get a quick response and two days later, we had signed up for a private tour. We wanted to have a private tour and also at the time we wrote, this was the only option available (so it worked out well for us). From the moment we started corresponding, we got swift and precise responses from Deborah which were extremely helpful in taking decisions. She is very knowledgeable and being one of the co-owners of this private reserve, is very passionate about the conservation work that Tapiche is doing here. We got all the information that we sought and everything that she had promised ultimately was implemented, so the communication from their side was very clear and accurate. We are extremely thankful that they have Deborah at one end connected to the rest of the world, making it even possible to book at this extremely remote reserve. When we actually went to the lodge we realized how cut off and remote it was (easily the most remote we have been in this entire trip). When we arrived in Iquitos we were picked up by a driver and taken to Green Track hostel; here we met Patricia. This is not just a regular hostel but very co-ordinated and revolving around going to Tapiche Reserve although they also welcome other guests who have just booked it as a hostel. The facilities are clean but basic; nothing fancy but comfortable. The host Patricia explained to us every single detail about our tour the next day and showed us the entire route on google maps. She also showed us several photos of the boat, the bus etc. and explained to us in great detail what all we would encounter on our 12 hr long three leg journey to the reserve. And everything she told us was so accurate and clear. She explained to us about our Guide Jose who would pick us up at Requina, our translator and second guide Jana, who would take over once we reached the reserve. Patricia was with us till she made sure we picked the right seats on the bus and were comfortable. She made us a special breakfast on the day of journey at 5am! and gave us all the information that we needed in Iquitos. We are so grateful for her help in getting us a taxi on the last day (after our tour) and helping us with our stay after the tour also with the same level of warmth and enthusiasm she showed before our tour. The journey itself is long, changing from a bus to a speed boat (both public transport) and then finally to a private boat (by Tapiche). We were well prepared mentally and physically and it was not as difficult as we had imagined initially. We enjoyed the ride and could see the various tributaries of amazon and how the river become narrower and darker as we enter Tapiche river. We met Jose, who would be our guide; he would be with us during our entire tour till he would drop us back to the boat on the last day. This was very important to us as we felt it was seamless to be communicating with one person the whole time. Although he couldn't speak much English, he did show us some animals and birds on the boat ride to the reserve the first day itself. He would always patiently wait for us to see, take photos, switch off the engine and gently direct the boat closer without distubring the animals or bird. He was in no hurry to reach and this made us enjoy the boat ride even more. He has excellent spotting skills, especially for monkey and he can smell, hear or see them in the dense canopy. Spotting animals or birds is not easy here, especially since they fear humans, it is important to be extremely silent, watchful and sensitive to the animals and Tapiche staff is well versed with doing this and teaching us how to. At the reserve, we met Jana, who would be our translator, as Patricia had told us. However, we soon realized she was much more than a translator. She had immense knowledge about the forest, the bird life and was very passionate about the conservation efforts made by Tapiche reserve. She has made Tapiche her home for more than a year and is truly a humble and warm person. She made a lot of difference to our entire tour, always taking care of communicating, of knowing what interests us and tailoring our trip to suit our interests. We are indebted to her for her contribution in making this tour so cherishable. She also acted as the gel between Jose, Verdi (the cook) and the guests; always making all of us part of the conversation. She is extremely sensitive and respectful of everything, overall a great human being to know. We were lucky we could meet her and spend so much time with her during our tour. Most importantly she removed the language barrier that we feared would impede our experience, her spanish and english (and many more languages) skills are excellent and so is her knowledge of the wildlife and the reserve. We could see this from an emotional sendoff she gave another group when she explained how important it is for the animals that tourists are coming to this place, how it would deter the hunters atleast for sometime when they see people in boats enjoying the dolphins. The rooms are all built on stilts, we understood later that everything gets flooded in wet season and this place transforms completely. We could initially not understand why most of their structures were makeshift and temporary, later Jana explained to us that everything changes when the water level rises and most of their constructions might have to be redone. They were also affected by the recent earthquakes, which they had to recover from in a short time to keep the reserve running. Electricity was through solar almost entirely (surprisingly small panels that would run this entire place). Their practices are truly ecologically sustainable, not just for show, but by belief systems that are very strong and imbibed. All the structures were made with fallen trees (nothing freshly felled), they repurposed whatever was available. It was not the most comfortable, but their heart was in the right place, which was the most important. Their priority clearly were the animals, the conservation and we were happy to see that all the money we spent was going towards these right causes (and not spent in giving us luxury). We could see that the people behind were working extremely hard to make us have a good experience. They wanted us to see the animals, make us feel a part of this reserve and ensure that we were well taken care of. In terms of food, we should say we were spoilt. Not just that they ensured they made 100% vegan food for us, everyone at the lodge enjoyed the same food, although we were okay with others eating whatever they prefer. Verdi is a great cook, it is probably the best food we have eaten in Peru. She made so much variety and each meal was so nutritious, tasty and sumptuous. We ate vegan versions of traditional dishes as well as lasagna, pasta, salads, some excellent curries. We were given an early morning 5am breakfast that would get us walking with energy and then a picnic breakfast of fruits, bread, biscuits, corn or yucca that would sustain us till lunch. We always felt so well fed, we really enjoyed the tasty food that was prepared with so much love. On the day we left, Jana made us special breakfast of vegan pancakes and we were so touched! The walks through the dense forests among some of the oldest trees (more than 2000 years old), the ground feeling like a wet sponge, with water gurgling below as we step on the fallen leaves, the vines, the dense canopy, the symbiotic relations of the vegetation, the competition for sunlight, everything that we had imagined and read about Amazon rainforests could be experienced first hand. Due to the remoteness of the reserve, we could walk through dense primary rainforests. The walk itself was not easy but for the hardwork we put in, we were generously rewarded with some unforgettable experiences observing wildlife truly wild and unhindered. The boat rides along the river to the Dolphin creek and the walk to the lagoon were also some of the most cherishable. Each time we were taken to different parts of the reserve, with an aim to look for some wildlife, of course, nothing is guaranteed with walking in the wild, but we thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the time we could spend in this reserve. We desired to see unspoilt amazon rainforests and this is probably the closest to such an experience. We felt counting how many species of monkeys or birds we saw might be missing the point, it is the entire ecosystem as a whole that makes this unique rainforests exist and it is truly precious. Mostly, we were glad we found this gem of a place, there exists nothing like this, it is a very special place run by very passionate people who have their hearts in the right place. It should not be treated as another lodge, it is a conservation project, a long term investment towards ensuring a safe environment for these animals that were almost hunted to extinction. It is a painful process to stop illegal loggers, to educate the locals, to sensitise the guests about the importance of protecting this place. And over the years, the efforts have yielded results and the animals have started coming back. Hopefully there will be more such places where the animals can feel at home. We are thankful that Tapiche reserve opened up their space as well as their hearts and made us feel a part of this for a short period of time!…
Date of experience: September 2019
Response from TapicheJungle, Manager at Tapiche Reserve
Responded Dec 14, 2019
Thank you so much for your visit, your support, and the investment of time, energy and thought you've put into this review. It meant so much to each of our staff members that you appreciated their work and mentioned them each by name. We put our hearts into making each trip the best it can be for each visitor, and we're so glad the sincerity of our intention came through to you. Thank you again for providing such a detailed account of your experience; we know it will be helpful for potential visitors reading this! We appreciate you more than we can express in words. The entire Tapiche team sends you heartfelt thanks and much love from the jungle!