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Review of Tambopata Ecolodge

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Tambopata Ecolodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 17, 2011

My family of 4 had 2 great nights at this impressive lodge. It is 45 minutes by car and 1 and 1/2 hours by boat up the Tambopata River, and therefore has so much more to see than if you stayed closer to Puerto Maldonado. The lodge is really lovely. The main buildings have power from 6- 10 pm every night. Actually, our bungalows were being wired for solar power, but we preferred the candlelight. The best part of the trip was Luiz our guide. We saw and learned so much...monkeys, caiman, bats, tarantulas, piranha in an oxbow lake, huge strangler figs and kapok trees...too much to list. We only regret that we did not stay for the 3 night program to camp at the clay lick. I am not a camper, but there is no way this lodge would have you rough it!

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank Nashvillefamily08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 12, 2010

Staying in the jungle is NOT like staying in a normal hotel, so know that going in. I went with my girlfriend out of the sense that I would gain a greater appreciation for nature and our environment, and our experience at Tambopata Eco Lodge did exactly that. For better and worse, it is not a "sanitized" jungle experience, but it is made as luxurious as conditions allow. We did the 4D/3N "Chuncho" package, which included a trip to a macaw clay-lick.

To set expectactions, there is/are lots of:
-bugs, absolutely everywhere. I had to wake up in the middle of the night and chase a sizable cockroach off our mosquito netting. This is par for the course.
-heat and humidity. We were there in the dry season and found it plenty hot. Also, it is too humid for anything to dry, so bring enough clothes.
-birds -- along with insects, this is mostly what you will see
-snakes. We saw 2 -- one small but venomous, the other large but non-venemous. Neither was in a position to harm us, but if you have a snake phobia, be warned. (They give you an emergency whistle, in part for the event that you find a snake in your room.)
-travel. Puerto Maldonado is hard enough to get to, then you take a brutally bumpy bus ride (take your motion-sickness pills) for 45 minutes, followed by a few hours by boat. Each activity once you are in the rain-forest also requires travel time. If you have children who are easily bored, this could be tough.

There is/are NOT a lot of:
-electricity. There are a couple hours each day when you can charge electronics in the bar, but otherwise you'll be using candle-light.
-mammals (other than capybaras). Don't expect to see jaguars or other large mammals -- they are rare and hard to find, though it can happen. We saw some monkeys, a sloth, a bamboo rat and lots of capybaras. Other than mammals, we saw several caimans.
-privacy/space. You'll eat every meal with your guide, and as mentioned below, the rooms do not offer much privacy. If there are other tourists on your itinerary (we did not have this), you will see a lot of them also.
-connection with the outside world. There is (obviously) no internet or other means of reaching the outside world. The guides have a satellite phone for emergencies only. Be prepared to go off the grid for a few days.

The rooms are screened but otherwise open on the sides. As mentioned by others, two units share a roof with no soundproofing between them. In our case, the other room was empty, so this was not an issue. There is mosquito netting above the bed, though the guides say it is not necessary to use it in dry season; we did anyway. Plumbing is good by Peruvian standards, and we had plenty of hot water for showers. Meals are served in the dining room and are surprisingly large and good. If you have a typical meat-and-potatos American diet, you'll be fine. Vegetarians may find it tougher. During our one night of camping near the clay lick, 4 staff members (including our knowledgable guide, Emerson) accompanied the two of us and took care of everything. We were in a tent but it was otherwise just as nice as the lodge -- very impressive level of service.

The guides we met seemed very knowledgable. They speak English well enough to explain everything, but sometimes have trouble with in-depth questions.

I am glad to have experienced the jungle, but am also not eager to return in the near future. It depends on how much of a true nature-lover you are, I suppose. But as long as you know what you're getting into and still want to do it, Tambopata Lodge offers an exceptional experience and good service, and will improve your understanding of the planet and environment.

One personal note: I would not consider the clay-lick a "must see." It's interesting for the first few minutes, but it's a lot of effort to get there. I may not yet have aged into the bird-watching demographic though, so others may love it (I'm 25).

Also, the slide-show you'll see the night you arrive is truly horrible. Don't worry -- it gets much better after that.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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14  Thank aw215
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 3, 2010

We stayed two nights. After the first day we wanted to stay longer, it was that good.

We were met at the airport and helped with our luggage. Our two big suitcases were stored securely in Puerto Maldonado and we took overnight bags to the lodge. The two and half hour trip up river in the lodge speed boat was an experience in itself; we saw caimans, vultures and turtles.

Our accommodation was modern, clean and welcoming. No electricity in the room so candlelight after dark. Staff were friendly and happy. The meals fantastic.
We went on night walks, a night river trip looking at caimans and a canoe trip to an oxbow lake. We saw a range of wildlife in the lodge grounds including snakes, parrots, monkeys, capivaris and tucans. Our guide Ricardo was the best we had in our two weeks in Peru.

The river was up from rain the mountains so the trip down river took half the time as up.
We will be back.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Wolin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2010

My girlfriend and I stayed at the Libertador Tambopata Eco Lodge for 4 nights in March 2010. We did the 3 Night Tapir package, with an additional day/night. I chose to stay at this lodge due to it's remote location and consistently good reviews on trip advisor. This package also included lots of forest hikes compared to other Lodge's itineraries along the river, which was a plus for me.

First of all, I must say that our guide, Luis, was phenomenal. Compared to other guides I've had in the Tambopata and throughout Africa, he's the best, hands down. He just had that natural instinct (along with plenty of real life experiences) that training can't provide. With Luis guiding us we had many great sightings that I am sure other guides would have missed.

The wildlife on the trips and near the Lodge was excellent. We saw much more wildlife at this camp than during our 3 night stay at Wasai. The food was also great, although not at good as our experiences at Wasai.

Unfortunately, I still am disappointed in my overall experience with this lodge due to the following circumstances:

(1) The bar/ lounge was ALWAYS locked. This meant that if I wanted to purchase a cold refreshment after an exhausting hike, I had to wait for the bartender to be located. This was typically a 10 minute wait. According to the provided brochure the bar was to be staffed. It's unclear why the bar was locked in the first place. Really not that big of a deal, but pretty annoying.

(2) If you like listening to loud machinery while staying in an Eco-lodge deep in the remote Amazon, this is the place for you. Not only did the staff manage to spend 6 hours mowing the staff soccer field with a weed whacker (yes, weed whacker) during siesta time, but the diesel generator seemed to be constantly running. It was explained to us that the generator was running to provide the staff with electricity for Direct TV. The generator is close to camp and was running during siesta time, meal time, night hikes, and sleeping hours. This was VERY annoying and completely unacceptable, especially for a self proclaimed "Eco lodge".

(3) Upon arrival at this lodge we noticed a very large pile of garbage along the river bank. This pile probably consisted of 50+ bags of garbage. This was a very poor first impression. During our stay this pile only grew larger and was seen on almost every outing. When passing every other lodge along the river no other eye sore such as this was seen.

I would doubt that the service at this lodge is always this bad. I sincerely believe that as we were the only guests at the lodge during this period of time we were simply ignored or irrelevant to the general staff.

If you choose to stay at this camp you will have great food and a nice room. I would definitely recommend requesting Luis as your guide, as other guides seemed less qualified. Bring your ear plugs though....

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank Exploresaur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2010

My mom, sister and I stayed here and loved every minute. All of the guides were very knowledgeable, the food was fantastic and all of the planned activities took advantage of all the forest had to offer. The rooms were very nice and having a tiled shower with hot water to clean up in after the day was heavenly.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank hhanning
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2009

For me, the trip to the jungle was just something my dad wanted to do. He'd been with my mom to Lima and Machu Picchu before and wanted to try something different in addition to those destinations. In my mind, it was a speed bump on the road to the main event. it ended up being the highlight of our 10 day visit to Peru. I traveled with my husband and my parents, and we did the Tapir tour at Libertator. We were met at the PM airport by the Libertador van and were welcomed by our guide Daniel - without a doubt the best, most experienced, eagle-eyed guide in the place - with a hearty "welcome to the jungle!" Yes, the logistics are a pain - van (though plush and A/C'd) from airport to downtown check in site, van again to boat ramp, and 3+ hour boat trip to the lodge. But buckle up, because you never know what you might see on the way. In our case, we saw capibaras, monkeys, caiman, and... wait for it... a jaguar. Seriously. It was amazing. Daniel spotted it - I don't know how, it was so well camoflaged - lying on the riverbank/beachy area, totally relaxed, probably full, and not bothered by our presence and frantic photo-taking at all. The boat captain got us so close! The guides and the guys we were giving a lift to were going crazy. My mother, who is Peruvian, translated - for most of these guys it was their first time seeing a jaguar, and for one who had lived in the area his whole life, it was only the second time. Daniel advised, when the guides are taking pictures of it, you know its special. We felt like we'd received a gift. Sadly, we couldn't stay there and watch the big cat for hours - though we could have! Onward to the lodge. Accommodations are great, if not very private - the wall between the units does not go to the ceiling so be prepared to hear everything - yes, everything - going on next door. The common areas for dining, gathering, and drinking are lovely, made more so by the non-electric lighting. The staff is incredibly warm, friendly, and helpful. We ended up seeing all the wildlife you could hope for - though nothing could top the jaguar -including 4 types of monkeys (one that adopted our boat and came back to the lodge with us; I wonder if he's still there?), tucan, a bushmaster snake, peccaries, capis, tarantula, other insects, loads of birds... and had a great time with the guides hiking, chatting, and goofing around. Be sure to swim in the river at the back of the property - it is a beautiful little secluded swimming hole and is super refreshing after hiking through the jungle for hours. All in all, it was an experience I will never forget and will always be one of the best trips of my life.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank peripateticATL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2009

Travelled to this lodge with a small group - beautiful grounds and facility, well worth the trip. My cabin was bright and airy, and well sealed against insects. I especially enjoyed the hammock out front. Meals were okay. I really appreciated the guided walks around the lodge and boat ride on the oxbow lake. Lots of bird and animal sightings nearby.

  • Stayed: June 2008
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1  Thank jaykay99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tambopata Ecolodge

Address: near Puerto Maldonado | Puerto Maldonado area, Tambopata National Reserve, Peru
Phone Number:
Location: Peru > Madre de Dios Region > Tambopata National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 21 Specialty Lodging in Tambopata National Reserve
Number of rooms: 34
Also Known As:
Tambopata Eco Hotel Tambopata National Reserve
Tambopata Ecolodge Peru/Tambopata National Reserve

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