The feeling of a comfortable place to be right in the heart of the jungle was amazing! The staff was so helpful and the food was terrific! For bird lovers, it is a wonderful place to stay. We were surrounded by beautiful birds!
Villa Carmen is a comfortable place to stay for nature-lovers, and especially for birders. Its site bird list is over 900 species, one of the highest in the world, with nice bamboo forests with a number of specialist birds, as well as easy to see and spectacular species like the Hoatzins, macaws and tanagers. Feeders attract a number of secretive species. Nice cabins with mosquito netting, well-maintained trails and lots of adventures! It also helps to support the Amazon Conservation Association that does excellent conservation work.
Villa Carmen has some amazing cabins right in the heart of the rain forest. Some fabulous birds and other wildlife right on the doorstep. Villa Carmen is perfectly placed for exploration of the Manu Road. The food was good, the staff were very friendly and helpful and the Hoatzins unforgettable!.
We spent 5 days of our 16 day trip on the Manu Road at Villa Carmen and hardly scratched the surface. We are primarily birders but interested in all of nature. A beautiful, well appointed cabin that looked out into the forest where we saw a Red-crested Woodpecker hammering out a nest, Blue-headed parrots, Hoatzins and other birds with 100 feet of our cabin. A hide where we saw 2 species of Tinamous just steps away. Another hide with Amazon Antpitta on the premises. Just off the lodge and dining area are feeders. In the morning, we saw some of the best moths on our trip. The in-house bird guide is excellent, a little spanish helps, but he speaks enough English to get by. The staff is very attentive and flexible. The lodge provides boots for walking the trails if needed. A botanical tour is available...though Spanish is needed. If you're thinking of going...GO! It helps support the Amazon Conservation organization.…
Villa Carmen Biological Station is a ecotourist paradise located in the region of Cuzco, where the foothills of the tropical Andes meet the Amazonian lowlands. There is an array of important habitats here that are home to hundreds of bird species—with many being unique to this part of the Manu Biosphere Reserve. One could stay here for a week and unlock new species every day. My wife and I stayed at Villa Carmen for 3 nights on a birding tour and were blown away by this lodge and local wildlife. The following lengthy review details Villa Carmen and our birding/wildlife experiences during our stay... Driving to the lodge, just before reaching Pillcopata, there are farm fields and successional forests that provided great views of jays, aracaris, woodpeckers and macaws. Once inside the property gate of Villa Carmen there's a clay lick across the way that is just starting to get some traction for feeding macaws and parrots. In the forest edge along the road leading to the lodge we spotted nunbirds, jays, swallow tanagers and hawks. The lodge grounds are dripping with birds: guans, chachalacas, macaws, parrots, oropendolas, caciques, red-capped cardinals, and hummingbirds (including golden-tailed sapphires and rufous-crested coquettes)! Inside the main lodge, there's the great room with high ceilings with wood frame walls enclosed in screen, dining areas for tourists and on-site researchers, and a few chairs and loungers for enjoying the surrounding activity. There's also a small bar where you can buy beers and cocktails to toast to good wildlife luck. Outside the dining hall is a series of maintained fish ponds, which not only provide excellent fare for dinner, but also a permanent habitat for hoatzins, tiger-herons, kingfishers, sunbitterns, gallinules and woodpeckers. Unique sightings around the ponds included a tawny-bellied screech owl being flushed from a woodpecker hole, and a (not too-) dwarf caiman seen at night. The walkway from the lodge to the rooms is meticulously planted with beautiful native flowers and palms along a stream that feeds into the fish ponds. The rooms themselves are among the nicest of accommodations on our whole trip around Peru. The room's giant open stone basin hot shower room was luxurious after a long day of wildlife watching. Beds were comfortable with good mosquito netting, and there are plenty of shelving for belongings and tables and chairs for hanging out. The rooms are built to enhance the outside view: an entire wall is an open-air screened window that looks out at a seasonal marsh, and was bustling with activity of tanagers, horneros, euphonias and flycatchers. The open view provided a ton of natural light, a cool breeze, and the sounds of crickets, tree frogs, and the local potoo at night. (The only drawback was the screen itself, which caused some distortion with binoculars and telephoto lenses, but is still the best solution to keep the room enclosed, airy, and cool.) Well-maintained trails just outside the rooms lead to a nearby tinamou and wood-rail observation hide, a reliable feeding site for Amazonian antpittas, and a whole network of primary, secondary, and bamboo forest trails that intersect at points along the Pini Pini river. Other trails on the extensive property encompass open fields, palm swamps, riparian forest, and foothill mountains. Don't miss the cable car that is used to cross the river, and the bizarre ruins of a Soviet-era plane that is now overgrown with ferns, trees, and resident bats (it's something right out of the show LOST). Seen during the days of exploring Villa Carmen were many trogons, nunbirds, jacamars, barbets, piculets, kites, magpie tanagers, ant-birds/wrens/shrikes and scores of tyrants and flycatchers. Abundant footprints of tapir, deer, capybaras and agoutis alluded to mammal life along the river and trails that was more secretive during our stay. As an excursion to see some lowland habitats downriver, we arranged for an early-morning drive to the town of Atalaya for a motorized canoe down the Alto Rio Madre de Dios. Local river wildlife sightings included capped herons, sand-colored nighthawks, little blue herons, egrets, and even a red howler monkey. Collpa Mascoitania is the local clay lick where we watched the morning activity of hundreds of macaws, parakeets, and parrots from a rocky sandbar (as a bonus, we saw two burrowing owls nearby!). We then visited Laguna Machuwasi, a terrific locally-run eco tourism activity on an oxbow lake, for up close views of hoatzins, horned screamers, troupials, and black-capped donacobius. Along the trails to the oxbow, we saw a laughing falcon, emerald toucanet, a family of dusky titi monkeys, and a troop of squirrel monkeys with an accompanying double-toothed kite. (While this experience isn't part of the typical stay at Villa Carmen per se, I'd highly recommend arranging it if you aren't planning on going to further areas of Manu during your holiday.) Villa Carmen is an outstanding lodge that offers an unforgettable experience for tourists, birders, adventurers, students, and scientists alike. It is owned and operated by the Amazon Conservation Association (ACA/ACCA), which is dedicated to safeguarding the surrounding Amazon forest and providing an integrated approach to sustainable tourism and habitat protection.Villa Carmen is an essential destination for those looking to experience the beauty and bounty of the Amazon.…
Stayed two nights at this special place situated in the lowlands of the Manu Road. It is a fantastic place to watch birds and other wildlife, as it is in an area of mature Guadua Bamboo forest that attracts many special birds. The accommodation is out of this world, with each room fronted with a floor to ceiling screen wall that makes you feel that you are in the forest. The bathrooms have modern fittings and a great shower. Service was first class, managed attentively by David, the general manager. Food was ver good, and served buffet-style, so that you could take as much -- or as little as you wanted.
Villa Carmen has wonderfully luxurious cabins for being in the middle of the rainforest. Their staff and meals are excellent and the bird life is diverse. I appreciated the 24-hour electricity and strong internet; amenities that are not common in this part of Peru.
It was my second time visiting the ACCA stations, Villa Carmen is perhaps the one that has the best facilities offered because it has very comfortable rooms, very spacious trails and in good condition, excellent food, there is plenty of bird activity in the gardens and very attentive staff and always willing to help. Panchito the cook cooks very well and David the administrator was always willing to help us in whatever was necessary. The night walks are exceptional to see owls, frogs, snakes and insects. I hope to come back soon.
Villa Carmen is an old plantation that has been turned into a must-see ecotourism destination by an environmental organization that also supports nature research in the area. First plus: all food and services are included in the per night price. Second plus: the grounds are kept in pristine condition, with gorgeous fish ponds, clear trails, and an incredible hike to the Pini Pini River. Third plus: the food is good and the ingredients are mostly local! Fourth plus: the rooms are spacious, comfortable, and have luxurious, spa-like bathrooms. It is one of the best ecolodges I've stayed at! It was meaningful to know that the proceeds all go to research and conservation of the Amazon. Note: Just remember to bring permethrin and deet to avoid chiggers and mosquitoes!
I always wanted to visit Peru for Machu Picchu, but am so glad I was able to find this incredible gem that is Villa Carmen! Really cool location, BEAUTIFUL cabins, it feels like you are sleeping in the middle of the forest (but with less mosquitoes!). Food was all organic and locally-grown, prepared by a local chef. We visited a nearby indigenous village that the organization that manages Villa Carmen supports, and it was a great experience seeing their way of life. Much more interesting and authentic than the tourist-heavy Machu Picchu side trips. We ate at the indigenous village and it was all delicious. I heard this organization has other lodges and I'd love to go back and experience more. Saw SO many birds, amphibians, cool plants, and more. We think we saw a jaguar, but it moved so fast we couldn't be sure. Frogs galore though! I even met some researchers that were doing their Phd and we had dinner together at the lodge. One of the best trips of my life, I loved the Amazon.…