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“Jungle Paradise”
Review of Refugio Amazonas

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Refugio Amazonas
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed July 2, 2013

The lodge is very luxurious and comfortable, while still rustic and blending into the surrounding jungle. The beds are extremely comfortable and the rooms clean, albeit that one wall is open to the jungle. I recommend that you bring a small battery powered lamp for use in the room at night, as the lanterns and candles provided don’t give much light.
Our guide, Joni was excellent and had a vast knowledge of the local flora and fauna. He was also a great host and fun to be with. The meals were basic but really tasty and adequate.
The lodge has a lovely atmosphere in the evening where one can have a drink at the bar with new made friends. Definitely recommended for nature lovers and those who enjoy a little adventure.

Room Tip: Some rooms have electricity
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Paul P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 30, 2013

Lodge was great; real camp luxury. The guides were excellent (thank you Marianos). And the food was really good- it restored my interest in Peruvian food after a bad experience elsewhere. To take note of however is the fact that there are no doors (not a problem for us), and no full walls/soundproofing/sound privacy between rooms - this was especially a BIG problem with two loud/noisy snorers in the next room. Also, while the lodge is meant to have warm (not hot) water in the showers, we only had cold for three days. Not really a problem until we got caught in heavy rain on a night walk and really needed a warm/hot shower. Other that these issues though, the experience was fantastic.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank HoJo_Guest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2013

This place is really like a haven of luxury carved out of the great jungle! If you enjoy soft adventure, this is really the place to choose because it has the right balance of 'roughing it' and pampering. The lodge is beautiful, made entirely of wood and bamboo, very ecologically sensitive and gives you the opportunity to feel one with nature, even in your room, which has only 3 walls ( bamboo partitions actually) and one entire side is open to the elements! Dont worry, the only creatures that look in are the occassional monkey or agouti that inhabit the forest. It is very special! There is no electricity in the residential part of the camp but it adds to the experience. Oil lamps and candles prove to be adequate. The meals are served in the main building which has electricity till 9pm and some rudimentary internet related action can happen here at fixed times. The meals were a fixed menu everyday but there was enough variety and it was all healthy, lots of fruit at breakfast. The bar is well stocked and if you enjoy cocktails there's plenty to sample.
As far as wildlife goes, don't go with high expectations and you wont be disappointed. The entire experience of the forest, the camp, the river is quite spectacular in itself. Kapyberras, agoutis, macaws, caymen, tarantulas, tamarin and squirrel monkeys, toucans and plenty of other birds is what we got glimpses of. Many of them just around the lodge. Our guide, Mariano, was well informed and great at spotting things.
The rougher side: expect to report for breakfast at 6.15 am, not much audio privacy in the rooms, no electricity in the rooms.
The luxe part: you can get a pampering massage, the linens are fresh and luxurious considering you're in the middle of the Amazon, bar list is impressive.
All in all, a terrific, must do experience and Refugio Amazonas is a great place to get it!
Tip: the 2 night option is too short. It takes nearly 4 hours to reach from p. maldonado, so take the 3 night option,

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank kalimata
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2013

This was one of the best parts of my trip to Peru. I was concerned about the rooms without a third wall and facing into the jungle but found that my hesitation was unfounded as it provided excellent views and a nice breeze. Other reviewers have mentioned the lack of privacy from the thin and lacking walls but I think that's just part of the journey.

The lodge and the staff were amazing. My travelling group got sick before we got there and our guide (Pedro - he is the best ask for him and tell him "Happy Birthday!") told us to tell the manager. For lunch our group was served a great soup that helped them get back on their feet.

I didn't get to see a lot of animals but I did get to see some Capybara and a Harpy Eagles nest which was fantastic. I loved the tree canopy which gives you a great treetop view of the rain forest. Skip the clay licks and stay in the lodge and spend a nice day relaxing and enjoy the serenity of being in a great place.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Nulledge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2013

What a gem, in the middle of the jungle! We had a truly remarkable informative and wonderful stay. I was happily surprised at how knowledgable and enthusiastic the guides were to teach us about their jungle. I would strongly recommend a stay here in their wonderful rooms.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank southamerica1213
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 4, 2013

My husband and I aren't outdoors people. We don't camp, hike or 'rough it' and we're both addicted to technology. The prospect of going to an eco-lodge with limited access to electricity, intermittent internet access in the middle of nowhere was slightly concerning! But we were up for the adventure and decided to book in 4 days and 3 nights at Refugio.

We choose Refugio because it was further down the river than other lodges and also offered more comfortable lodging (as I said, we don't rough it and whilst the TRC is deeper in the jungle the accomodation sounded a bit too bare bones for this princess!).

Booking:
Was little difficult as we booked it ourselves and the response time from the lodge to our queries and payment was a bit slow. They didn't offer online booking or payment via PayPal. We weren't comfortable just giving some strangers our credit card details so we ended up doing a money transfer. If you are booking directly I would give yourself more time to book if you are fitting this in with a larger trip as we were.

Arrival:
We arrived via Cusco from Lima. It was slightly confusing as there was no official sign for Refugio (this might have changed), except a local guy came up to us (we soon found out his nickname was 'Horse' due to his ability to carry SO MANY BAGS!) not in a uniform which caused some initial concern but he had our names on a piece of paper and knew we were going to Refugio. I am not sure if your assigned guide is meant to meet you but for us and others who were going to Refugio we were a bit confused, especially when we all couldn't speak Spanish and were a little sceptical of a random guy coming up to us in the airport. You need to wait til everyone arriving on the plane has collected their luggage and then you watch in amazement as the one guy manages to move everyone's bag on a small trolley. Don't forget to tip him a few $$ as he then needs to throw your bags onto the roof of the mini bus which looked quite painful.

Transfers:
There are 2 times you can arrive in Refugio, we'd recommend arriving by lunch as by the time you transfer from the airport, to the office where you can leave your bags, hop on a bus which takes 40 mins to the river and then then 3 hour boat ride it's quite dark. Not sure how people handle coming in later at night. They do recommend you take a smaller bag with you with just what you need for your stay at the lodge, you are given the opportunity to unpack/repack at the office and then given a bag to put in your suitcase/bag and lock it up safely. It looked like they were quite lax on enforcing a weight limit on what you could take with you, but I think it depends how many people are in your group - we only had 8 other people with us so they weren't very strict and the others all brought their big packs.

Boat ride:
It takes 40 mins to arrive at the river, they provide you with a small snack of plantain chips and brazillian nuts. When you arrive at the dock they will put your bags on the boat and they provide you with lunch - it is wrapped in a banana leaf and ours was a tasty, local version of fried rice. The scenery on the boat ride is stunning, it is quite surreal sitting in the boat and taking in the views. Especially at sunset. Our guide Edar provided commentary about the history of the river and some info on the floral and funa. Make sure to bring binoculars to spot the birds and other wildlife on the banks. The best part of the boat ride is at dusk when they slow the boat down and look for caimans and other native, nocturnal animals.

The lodge:
Take note that when you arrive at the lodge it is already dark, so make sure you have your headlights or torches out. Would recommend headlights so your hands are free to carry your bag (or help them carry other bags out of the boat). The walk to the lodge isn't far but there are a lot of stairs. A few others who were a bit older struggled getting up the stairs and walking through the mud. Just be aware that you will get a bit muddy.

The lodge itself is BEAUTIFUL, it honestly does look like the pictures and stands majestically in the middle of the forest. It is completely open, no windows or mosquito nets in the main area. The bar is in the middle, with the dinning tables, spa and shop on the bottom floor. Upstairs is a sitting area with hammocks. The bar area has power plugs if you need to recharge and is the best place to access the internet. But be wary - it is a bit flakey but remember where you are :)

The rooms:
The rooms are quite minimal, we were lucky to score a room with a double bed, a single bed and a hammock for just the 2 of us. Given the humidity it was a good thing we had separate beds. There are no doors or full walls to the roof - so you can hear your neighbours with absolute clarity as well as no windows so you do hear all the sounds at night which is relaxing (both of neighbours snored badly, so if you are a light sleeper suggest bringing ear plugs). You cannot flush toilet paper down the toilet, so you need to place it in bins in the bathroom and then I would advise taking it to the main bins in the evening or in the morning.

Other tips:
- The food at the lodge is buffet style, and you sit in allocated tables set aside for your group. The food we had during our stay was incredibly tasty, the soups were the highlight.
- Cocktails at the bar were super cheap, and given there is really nothing to do at night other than read or drink, the bar gets quite full! We did notice some people sneak in their own spirits and just ask the barman for ice or mixers...not sure if this is officially allowed but thought it was a good idea. Keep in mind you don't have a fridge in your room
- Electricity cuts off at 9pm and the power points are very popular. Suggest bring in a double adaptor or power board if you have cameras to charge
- You wake up very early to go on some 'adventures', we woke up at 5:30am every day to leave for our adventures by 6:30am, so be prepared if you aren't a morning person
- Despite the heat definitely recommend wearing long sleeve clothes and pants given the amount of insects. But do not wear clothing that won't wick sweat as the wasps are attracted to sweat...we saw a group of men all wearing jackets that looked like rain jackets but they were sweaty and wasps wouldn't leave them alone. We wore quick dry long sleeve tops we'd normally wear for jogging in winter so that they were breathable, yet you were covered.
- The staff at the lodge who look after the food service (and the bar tender) are amazing - so super friendly and love having a chat. Whilst you tip your guide directly, there is a box near the entrance where you can leave tips for the rest of the staff, I felt these guys needed a bigger tip than our guide
- Bring a headlight and perhaps a torch to use in your room once they switch the lights off as they light lamps but they aren't too bright
- Be prepared to sweat and shower after each activity, you may need to bring a few change of clothes!

All in all a great experience, and so very glad we decided to stay at Refugio.

Room Tip: Just be aware that there are no doors or walls that go to the roof to insulate the noise, so if you...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank missriss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DKrautmann, Guest Relations Manager at Refugio Amazonas, responded to this reviewResponded June 27, 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you for writing such a detailed trip report AND for taking a chance on us! I'm so glad to hear that despite not being outdoor people, you enjoyed Refugio Amazonas. We do our best to make guests comfortable while having the least possible impact on our fragile environment.and it sounds like we were successful!
Your tips will be very useful to future guests. We also encourage future travelers to check out our packing list and travel tips which we provide on our website.

Again, thanks a lot of stepping outside of your comfort zone and visiting us in Tambopata. Glad to hear your experience was a good one. We would love to see you again someday!

Sincerely,
Danielle and the staff at Refugio Amazonas

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Reviewed May 31, 2013

On our first nature walk from Refugio, we saw a sloth climbing a tree! It was mesmerizing and AWESOME - definitely the highlight of my trip to Refugio Amazonas. We also saw (from a distance): red howler monkeys, capybaras (or "rat pigs" as we nicknamed them), caymans, and red and green makaws. The latter sightings did pale in comparison to the sloth - and I do wish we'd seen more wildlife - but I'm generally satisfied with the experience.

Mariano, our guide, was excellent. I so enjoyed his enthusiasm and genuine passion for nature. It didn't feel like we were just on any old tour with him; it felt more like he was on an exciting exploration and we got to come along for the adventure. We later found out it was Mariano's first tour of the season after a few months' hiatus. We would've never guessed! His knowledge was vast and accessible, and that enthusiasm was so refreshing.

The entire staff at the lodge was delightful really. There was so much kindness and happiness radiating from them, I can't say enough good things.

As for the facilities - what a treat! The lodge is beautiful and extremely well-kept. The upstairs area is a great place to relax with all the hammocks and reading materials, and the balcony offers a nice view of the birds flying around, as well as the occasional monkey swinging from tree to tree. If you do the Amazon right, you won't be spending much time in your room, but those are nice too. Simple, but nice. I absolutely love that there are no doors and only three walls, with the room opening up entirely to the wild, and a hammock to boot. It's like luxury camping.

The food was great. I believe Peruvian food is some of the best in the world though, so I'm a bit biased. I was thrilled to see lomo saltado and causas in the buffet. I would've preferred more of the traditional dishes such as these than, say, lasagna. But even the lasagna was decent. Fresh fruit was always available too, including my favorite: grenadilla! And of course, we had our share of delicious pisco sours at the bar. I personally am in love with their maracuya (passionfruit) sours.

My friend and I seemed to go at a perfect time, late April. It wasn't crowded at the lodge at all, in fact, it kind of felt like we had the place to ourselves. Our group was only 5 people to start, and our last day it was only the two of us with Mariano (the other 3 people had opted for the 2-night stay while we did 3). We did see other groups come and go, but everything was so well organized and coordinated, we didn't find ourselves overlapping or bumping in to others.

Weather was good at this time too, though there were some extremely muddy areas. The gum boots provided at the lodge were handy for sure.

Overall a VERY good experience. Again, I do wish we'd seen more wildlife (seriously, that sloth rocked my world), but for all aspects that were actually within human control, the experience was exceptional.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank TravelingThy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DKrautmann, Guest Relations Manager at Refugio Amazonas, responded to this reviewResponded June 27, 2013

Dear Guest,

How exciting that you saw a Sloth! This is something that very few of our guests can boast. Howler Monkeys, Caimans, Capybaras and Macaws are also very exciting. We can never guarantee that our guests will see certain animals. We are in their turf and they can be very selective as to when they come out to be active, but it sounds like you had some nice viewings. We do keep track of which animals guests see at each lodge and provide statistics on our website: http://www.perunature.com/rainforest-expeditions-wildlife-sightings.html
We're glad to hear your overall experience with your guide and the lodge and activities was a good one. Thank you for choosing Refugio Amazonas for your Amazon adventure.

Sincerely,
Danielle and the staff at Refugio Amazonas

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Refugio Amazonas

Address: Av Aeropuerto | La Joya km 6, Puerto Maldonado 084, Peru
Phone Number:
Location: Peru > Madre de Dios Region > Puerto Maldonado
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 64 Specialty Lodging in Puerto Maldonado
Price Range: $558 - $706 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Refugio Amazonas 3*
Number of rooms: 32
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Refugio Amazonas is the latest addition to Rainforest Expeditions Tambopata portfolio. As a charming 32 bedroom lodge, it is well placed immediately adjacent to the Tambopata National Reserve. Its location is ideal for stand alone three night experiences and for breaking the expeditions to and from Tambopata Research Center. Refugio Amazonas is built on a 200 hectare private reserve on the buffer zone of the Tambopata National Reserve. It is becoming integrated to the communities of Brazil nut extractors that surround it, attempting to extend the benefits of ecotourism to the families committed to sustainable forest use. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Refugio Amazonas Hotel Puerto Maldonado

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