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“Dull and sedentary trip with Pantiacolla tour company”
Review of Pantiacolla Lodge

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Pantiacolla Lodge
Reviewed January 1, 2013

We booked a 5-day Manu tour with Pantiacolla because we were impressed with the company´s emphasis on sustainable eco-tourism. We were deeply disappointed and frustated with the experience. We´ve detailed some of the major shortcomings below so that other travelers can be aware and not waste their money as we did. Pantiacolla is not cheap -- we paid $700 USD/person and it was absolutely not worth the cost.

1. Our tour guide Michel was utterly unengaging. He only provided information if we asked questions about the flora & fauna and he seemed bored with his job. On the last day of our tour, Michel slept through a good portion of the 6-hour boat from the lodge. He abruptly left us before we returned to our hotel in Cusco, providing us with only a two-minute warning that he would be departing. We drove the last 15 minutes to our hostel with only Ramiro, our cook, in the vehicle. Granted, this would not have been an issue at all as we are quite low-maintenance travelers, but it was nonetheless very unprofessional on Michel´s part.

2. We did not do a number of things listed on the trip itinerary, and not all of these omissions could be attributed to weather problems. All of the below items were promised in the itinerary we received.
- We were never presented the option to do the traditional rafting on the Madre de Dios River
- We were not presented the option to hike in the higher mountain trails of the Pantiacolla Mountains. We thus did not see the oil stream or natural swimming pools.
- We were never presented the option to see the local orchid sanctuary.
- We were not able to visit Rana Cocha (Frog Lake) for our night walk because the trail was not cleared and our guide had not bothered to check this in-advance (despite having been at the Lodge for 2 days and having ample time to check trail conditions).

3. We went on the same two trails on the Pantiacolla property numerous times because our guide did not offer an alternate walk. It should be noted that these are WALKS and not hikes -- we were under the impression that this would be a somewhat active trip but the tour was incredibly slow-moving. Other than these two trails that we walked repeatedly, two additional trails our guide attempted to use were not well-maintained and required much standing around while he hacked at branches with a machete. Utter waste of our time, and Michel ended up giving up clearing both of the trails he attempted to take us on. We declined to go on one of the afternoon walks because it was so repetitive.

4. Safety issues include Michel´s lack of caution while using a machete to clear trail (he did not check behind him to see how close we were and came close to hitting us on multiple occasions, even when we asked him to be more careful & provide us with a warning before he began swinging. He failed to do so.) Another safety issue was the motorized canoe -- we did not receive any sort of safety briefing, no life jackets provided, etc. Finally, due to Pantiacolla´s own vehicles breaking down, a local driver with a private vehicle provided our ground transportation back to Cusco. The vehicle did not have seat belts (Pantiacolla´s vehicles did).

5. The day before our tour at our briefing, Marianne of Pantiacolla informed us that the 5-day tour was not a trip that one should expect to "see many mammals." Since their materials advertize spotting caimans, capybaras, giant otters, taipirs, and even jaguars, this would have been pertinent information to know before booking. We saw none of these mammals. We saw a variety of birds, 4 types of monkeys, and a glimpse of a wild pig...not what we had been led to believe. It should also be noted that even our guide said the wildlife we would spot on the night walk would be limited to insects & frogs. No night monkey, no snakes, etc. (animals again that were listed in Pantiacolla´s promotional materials).

6. Though Pantiacolla does say that days 1 and 5 will involve 8 hours of transport (via car/bus), this was a vast under-estimate. Due to mudslides and falling rock, the first day we were stuck for an additional 2 hours on the road to Manu. A Pantiacolla tour group that departed after did not arrive until 10 PM at night, approximately an additional 6 hours. Considering how dangerous the road and river conditions are during the rainy season, it is surprising that Pantiacolla runs these tours...and does so without informing people of the great likelihood that tour participants will spend a great deal of time "stuck and waiting." Pantiacolla´s materials do not anywhere not the full transport time for days 2 and 4. On each of these days, we spent 3+ hours driving. On day 2, the motorized canoe ride took 3 hours, and on day 4 (upstream), the motorized canoe ride took 5 hours (not including time spent at the local hot spring). Considering how much time we spent sitting in either a boat or a car, we really felt that this was a waste of our money. We would have appreciated knowing more accurate time estimates so that we could have determined whether or not this trip would have been a good fit for our interests.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Stefanie A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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26 - 32 of 36 reviews

Reviewed May 19, 2012

Stayed overnight at Pantiacolla lodge on 10 May. I have issues with the cleanliness of this place. The blanket on the bed had small black bugs on it that I was told are wood bugs and don't bite people, but in any case we put them out of the room. I reported this immediately to our guide who said he would speak with the manager.

Next morning we both woke up with multiple bites around our ankles that looked like red spots. I really don't think their bedding was clean.

Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
4  Thank 3drules
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2012

My wife and I stayed here as part of our 9 day Manu Trip with Pantiacolla. My original plan was to maybe stay here for 7-8 days and not do the full tour, but getting in and out of the lodge seemed tricky so we opted for the tour.
Pantiacolla Lodge was by far the best lodge we stayed at on the tour (we ended up staying at 5 places total on the trip). Private baths/showers (cold showers but totally nice). It is the rainforest, so there are bugs and other things to deal with, but if you're going here, you shouldn't be surprised by bugs and other stuff.
The trails here were great, and since we only got to spend 2 days here, I really wished we had more time to explore and hike.
Marianne, who runs Pantiacolla, was amazingly helpful to us before we travelled by answering questions and while we were there by helping get us our lost bags from the airport.
Please don't think you're going to a hotel, there are no ammenities to be had out there in the rainforest, it's remote and very hard to get supplies to.

Room Tip: We stayed in the area where the rooms had private baths/showers. But these rooms were all adjoined...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank JasonRothmeyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2011

We stayed her one night as part of a 6 night trip to Manu National Park with Inkanatura. Inkanatura operates other lodges, but rents space here for the journey from Cock of the Rock Lodge to their Wildlife Tented Camp in the Manu National Park reserved zone. So we arrived by boat and had a pleasant late afternoon walk through the forest, then we left fairly early the next day. I think there are many more trails to explore and activities there if you are on a Pantiacolla tour.

The lodge is in a gorgeous setting in the riverside forest. The staff are warm and freindly, the food was good, ice cold beer available. There is no electricity except for a two hour period in the evening when you can charge your batteries in the dining room.

The rooms were comfortable and had private baths, however these were reached by walking down an open hallway from th eroom, and the rooms were next to each other under one roof. Somehow many moths liked to hng out in these bathrooms, so expect to find a lot of them if you go to the bathroom at night. The showers were cold water only, and at night it wasn't really hot enough for that to be comfortable. Better to try to shower in the afternoon when it is hot.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank kenito799
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2011

We stayed at Pantiacolla for one night in mid October as part of the Inkanatura Biotrip. Of the 3 places we stayed (here, Cock of the Rock, and the Manu Wildlife Center) this one was definitely in the worst shape. The staff was very nice and the trails were lovely, but I get the feeling the facilities haven't had much maintenance in awhile. The screens in the main building are shredded, so we spent much of dinner picking bugs out of our food. We learned quickly to cover our juice glasses with napkins. The door to our room didn't close all the way and the showers closest to our room were out of order. Unlike both other lodges, Pantiacolla has toilets and showers in a separate building from your bedroom (quite a pain for those of us who need a midnight run) and has no hot water for the showers.

I'm guessing that this place is one of the older Manu lodges and just hasn't quite managed to keep up with its neighbors. I hope they find the resources to fix things up, because they are ideally situated at the gateway to the lowland forest.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Muirenn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2011

Perfect place in Manu. Pantiacolla is a fantastic organisation! I'm very glad I went to Manu with this organisation! A great expereance

  • Stayed: September 2011
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Thank Ellenopreis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2011

We stayed at Pantiacolla Lodge for 7 nights in July 2011. I arrived sick and they took good care of me, even making me special chicken soup, for which I am grateful. We elected to sign on to one of their 9 day trips and just stay at the lodge rather than venture into the interior of Manu with the rest of the group to avoid the early starts and long days of boat journey.

Pantiacolla Lodge serves mainly as a way station for travelers to other destinations. It has a number of cabins with adjoining ceilingless room which are clean, but basic. Beds are a wooden frame with a 3 inch thick foam mattress. Three of the rooms have a dedicated bathroom and a heated shower. The other rooms have communal bathrooms with a cold shower, in a separate building. Meals are served in a separate building with an attached kitchen. The water system consists of a small gas pump which sucks water from a nearby stream into a small water tower near the cabins. When the water runs out, someone runs down to the steam to start the pump. Electricity is a 950 watt 240 volt Yamaha generator that is started once a day to charge up guests batteries. Power is supplied through a small extension cord plugged into a power strip in the dining room. There is never enough plugs for all the batteries to be charged. Bring a outlet multiplier when you come.

The food we were served was fine, but not exceptional. There is a small freezer on site and cold beverages are available. Hot drinks and snacks are always available in the dining area.

The property has miles of well marked trails. We hiked all the tails while we were there, including the Mirador, which leads to a spectacular overlook. Be forewarned that this is a rugged hike that will take you at least 7 hours to complete, so start early to avoid returning in the dark. We saw jaguar, peccary and tapir tracks and endless leaf cutter ants as well as the usual intriguing rain forest vegetation. The adjoining river is very fast flowing and you really can't use it for recreation such as kayaking or swimming. I was told that we could boat on the frog pond there, but it is actually only a few feet across. Maybe it was a joke on me. I knew in advance that there were no oxbow lakes nearby, but this is a shortcoming from a wildlife spotting standpoint.

Although there is a tremendous variety of bird species here, the birds are high in the canopy and are hard to see. This is also true of the monkeys, though a troop of howler monkeys came through the area each morning creating an other worldly cacophony. There are no bird feeders on the property, which I felt detracted a lot from the birding experience.

The staff at Pantiacolla are very professional, especially in Cusco, and you will find dealing with them to be a pleasure. There was a pre-departure briefing the night before we left for Manu at their Cusco office and any questions were answered. The bus ride in is interesting, if long, ending with a two hour boat ride to the lodge. The ride back is very long, as it is done all in one day. Expect to arrive back to Cusco in the early evening.

Room Tip: Ask for the room with attached bath, though you may not be able to reserve it
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  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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Thank travelover48167
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pantiacolla Lodge

Address: Manu, Manu National Park, Peru
Location: Peru > Madre de Dios Region > Manu National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 11 Specialty Lodging in Manu National Park
Price Range: $55 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 14

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