A resounding ten stars for our guide Paul, who is not only exceptionally knowledgable, but also extremely hardworking and kindhearted. He brought his computer to dinner with him one evening to share with us all of these bird calls he had been recording-- they were national geographic worthy. It was incredible to watch him in the woods hear the tiniest of sounds and know exactly what it is and from where it is coming. He is taking the initiative to create PowerPoint presentations for the guests so they can learn more about the jungle animals before going out to see them. We were very lucky to have him as a guide.
As for the lodge itself, I would have to give it 3.5 stars. I am fully aware that I was not coming to luxury lodging; nor was that what I was looking for. The lodge is located in a very peaceful and serene area along the tambopata river, but is still conveniently enough located that doing the excursions was not terrible. This is an open-air lodge, meaning you can hear every. single. noise. that other people in the lodge make. It is also neat because you can hear the animals very clearly. However, I wish the staff took this into consideration in the morning, as they wake up several hours before everyone else. Any walking and talking will wake everyone else up. This was very frustrating to us, as many of the activities are very strenuous and actually require sleep-- which is hard enough as it is when there is a bat fight in your room in the middle of the night (which was actually highly entertaining and funny sounding. These are the types of noises I was looking for here.)
We were also a bit disappointed in the management of the lodge. Not only was there a general lack of communication, when Ramon (the owner's son) came to the lodge, we did not even get so much as a hello from him (and obviously no "how is your stay?" or anything if the sorts). Not a big deal, but typically the management will go out of their way to make you feel welcome, versus feeling completely ignored.
The lodge is raised several feet off the ground, which is nice to help keep animals and whatnot out. However, it's pretty gross to be able to look through the slats of your bathroom floor and see the waste drop directly onto the ground. This didn't happen every time so I don't know if its always meant to happen or not. The showers are cold water only, which feels exceptional after a long day of working through the jungle.
Our food was surprisingly delicious the first few days of our visit. This changed as the cooks changed over. Be prepared to carbo-load-- one day our dinner was pasta soup, spaghetti was the entree and the sides were potatoes. The only thing I will really complain about was that we were told the first lunch was vegetarian, even though it clearly had beef in it. This left our vegetarian without any lunch that day, and everyone feeling pissed off that they had lied to us about the contents. This can make people sick!!! Totally not okay!!
The most disappointing part of the trip was our final afternoon when the new group came in, along with several young children. This totally changed the dynamic of the lodge and it lost its peaceful serenity. Instead of hearing the birds call at night, I got to listen to a child having a total screaming meltdown. Had I wanted to hear that, I would have gone to Disney world. As many of the expeditions are grueling, I'm not sure what the parents will do with the kids here (I doubt they want to go for a four hour hike through dense jungle vegetation). This is not the type of place to which I would bring a child.
Overall, I'm glad we came here to experience the majesty of the jungle, but we were definitely ready to leave the lodge on the final day. We were left a bit disappointed, especially considering all the rave reviews on here. Try to come during the rainy season to avoid large crowds. Bring your bug repellant, raincoat, flashlight, and camera, and remember that jungle time is the same as island time. Given the right group, Inotawa could be very relaxing.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- INOTAWA started its operations of eco- tourism in the Tambopata national reserve (RTAMB) in 1998 by visiting the sites that can be found at the margins of the Tambopata River. These are Tres Chimbadas Lake, the La Torre Lakes, Cocococha lake, La Torre parrot clay lick, Chuncho and Colorado clay licks and El Gato creek.In order to offer comfort to our guests during their visits we constructed inotawa lodge situated in the sector La Torre in the buffer zone of the Tambopata national reserve and surrounded by an area of private conservation (ACP) with pristine forest and natural bamboo patches that host a large variety of birds, mammals, insects and reptiles.Inotawa lodge is constructed with traditional materials of the Amazon. Palm leaf thatching, timber and bamboo maintain an architecture that blends in perfectly with the surrounding nature and the gardens full of medicinal and ornamental plants.The infrastructure consists of 16 rooms with private bathroom, a dining area, a bar, a hammock area, a web of trails, kayaks and bicycles. In short, everything necessary to offer safe, high quality service to our tourists with social and environmental responsibility.INOTAWA is a family business run by naturalists that also develop projects with the inhabitants of the "La Torre" sector. We think this to be the best manner to give a sustainable use to the area. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Inotawa Lodge Peru/Tambopata National Reserve