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Juma Amazon Lodge
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Reviewed January 27, 2013

Juma is a tremendous opportunity to experience the Amazon in a comfortable setting with nice accommodation and facilities. The setting is wonderful and the flora and fauna is plentiful but what made Juma stand out from a different lodge that we visited was the guide assigned to our group - his name is Elcio.

Elcio is an indigenous Brazilian who knows so much and taught us day in and day out. His passion for the preservation of the rain forest and his knowledge and skills set him apart. He is like "jungle survival" guy and did everything within his power to make our stay stimulating and enjoyable. From a sunrise trip on the boat to evening caiman stalking to piranha fishing we did it ALL thanks to Elcio!

Accommodation is nice - but the cold showers are a bit uncomfortable. Food was plentiful and varied and the restaurant is pleasant.

This was an overall excellent experience!

Room Tip: Room 16 - at the end of the boardwalk - very private and quiet
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank AD_TravelJunkie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaioFonseca, Proprietário at Juma Amazon Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded May 15, 2013

Dear AD_TravelJunkie

It is great to know that you enjoyed your stay at the lodge!

I am glad to tell you that we bought some solar panels in order to provide hot water in the bungalows.

Thank you very much for your comments and looking forward to have you with us once again.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2013

We spent 4 full days and 4 nights at the Juma Lodge - THE trip of a lifetime. We could not have imagined a better way for two urbanites to experience the Amazon in a safe, manageable (i.e. comfortable), and exhilarating way. Juma offers a very well structured immersion experience that allows for appreciation of both the beauty and the importance of the Amazon. It's located about 100 km from the nearest "city" of Manaus and Juma handles all the transfers from your hotel in Manaus (or pickup from the airport) to the Lodge which requires a boat ride, van ride, and another boat ride. The transfer itself is an eye opening experience. **NOTE: there is a strongly recommended limit of 10kg per person of luggage, but this is not well advertised and half the guests only realized this at the last minute as they arrived at the Manaus port. Juma will keep your extra luggage at their office or you can keep it at your Manaus hotel, but repack a smaller bag for the trip to Juma. It would be wise to heed this weight limit since there are a lot of slippery paths and steep inclines to get to and from the docks during the transfer and either you have to carry your own suitcases on your shoulders (like the locals do) or have sympathetic Juma staff/guides who will carry your luggage on THEIR backs for you. Either way, it's either stupid or cruel - take it from us because we were one of those ridiculous tourists lugging a huge suitcase around and when the staff had to carry it for us I could have cried out of guilt (we would have fallen over into the mud while navigating wooden planks if we had to carry the suitcase ourselves). This is not where you come to just sit in the Lodge all day and admire the view (though the views can be amazing from your bungalow); you come here to go on these amazing excursions into the Amazon and interact with the knowledgeable guides and interesting international guests. Some features of this experience include:

1) Accommodations - The entire lodge is built right in the forest, on stilts, and over the water for a true "jungle" experience. Each room is really a wooden bungalow on stilts with one wall that is really just a big mesh that serves as your window into the jungle so you can sleep and wake up to the un-muted sounds of the jungle. There is a hammock in every room's patio - a very nice touch. Although there is no air-conditioning, the ceiling fan was amazing and kept the room very comfortable. It is worth it to pay a little more for the rooms with the water views, and ask for a room where you can see the sunset (wow). The bathroom is clean with good running water for the sink, toilet, and huge shower stall. One catch - NO hot water (water temp can range from luke warm to cool), but not a big problem in such a hot climate. Electricity is only available from 7pm-8am (110V and can accommodate same plugs as US outlets without needing an adapter), and you're often in the dark in the room during the day if the sun is not shining in your direction at that time of the day (or if it's raining or overcast). My only gripe with the room were the white sheets since they attract all the bugs and you can see all the buddies you're crawling into bed with every night. None of these bugs bite (went to bed with no need for bug spray), but I would just rather not have to see all of them! Regarding bugs...there are almost NO mosquitoes here in this part of the Amazon (the guides will explain why).

2) Food/Meals - All meals are served on the hour at 7a, noon, and 7p for about 1hr and consist of rotations of terrific local dishes and fruit juices that were interesting and delicious as well as international staples like spaghetti pasta and scrambled eggs. There was a great deal of variety at every meal, and if you caught fish or piranhas on your excursions the chef would cook up a fabulous fish soup for your group for dinner - talk about homemade. You sit and eat with your guide and group at every meal so it was like going to camp where you get to know all the people in your group (our group had folks from Germany, Switzerland, and Italy and other guests at the lodge were from Russia, Japan, and France). Meal time was an international adventure that we looked forward to every day.

3) The excursions - These are so well planned in chunks of 1 to 5hr excursions that your guide will mix and match based on the weather at that moment. The day is packed with activities, but it was never exhausting because they mix and match the excursions so well based on the ability and interest of the group, AND there is siesta time EVERY day! All the excursions start off with us climbing into a boat and heading out on the river to get to our destination - this is not for those averse to water! We had an opportunity to have lunch at one of the local's home, grill meats and fish in their outdoor kitchen, hear stories of their jaguar hunting experience, play with their dogs/cows/chickens, and just experience what life is like for those living in the Amazon. NOTE: another tip that no one seems to mention until you actually get there...you NEED to bring some long pants, socks, and sturdy closed toe shoes for the two jungle hikes, and preferably stuff that dries quickly when it gets wet (flip flops and sandals are no good on the hikes because of the ants that will bite and it's just not safe climbing through a forest in flip flops). This was the start of their rainy season, and there is nothing like being rained on in the middle of a rainforest - WOW. It was so unbelievably fun, but when your clothes and belongings don't dry for 4 days, it can be frustrating (and uncomfortable if you have to actually re-wear these wet clothes). They really don't have a system to help guests dry wet belongings - bring lots of plastic bags to protect your cameras during sudden rain falls while out on the excursions. Once our group got into a rhythm to handle the rain, it was so fun - some of us stripped down to bikinis and speedos (lots of Europeans in the group) whenever it started raining and we kept on going. Ponchos and raincoats are helpful in certain situations, but there are just times when the rain will find every crevice in your body and there is just no protection - hey, it's the rainforest, what would you expect?

4) Last but definitely not least, the guides and the staff - The Juma staff are the gems of this operation. Genuinely kind and helpful and just amazing human beings. Almost all of them are local people, and the guides speak multiple languages. Our guide Elcio is by far THE best guide of any trip we have ever taken. He is one of the indigenous people of the Amazon, and despite never having left Brazil, he speaks FLUENT English, German, Italian, French, Spanish... and god knows how many other languages because these were just the ones we all witnessed him using. Elcio is a wealth of knowledge about everything Amazon, and with just his machete in hand, he can tame tarantulas, whittle natural cigarettes out of tree branches, and most importantly,he can lead a troupe of tourists (age ranging from 30's to 70's) through the forest safely while letting us swing on vines like Tarzan. His passion for the forest and enthusiasm for teaching others the importance of preservation is impressive. Along with our stellar river boat driver Alex, Elcio made our trip so special and everyone in the group was grateful for him and Alex. Elcio was not only a master at navigating the forest, but we saw his urban skills when we unfortunately had a medical emergency on the very last day of our trip that was totally unrelated to the trip (lacerated cornea from a torn contact lens that got lost somewhere in my husband's eye). Elcio sacrificed a whole afternoon on his day off to escort us all over the city of Manaus looking for an eye doctor that was opened. He literally took us to four different clinics and hospitals and not only translated for us but he essentially helped us navigate the Brazilian health care system. This was clearly NOT in our tour package! This demonstrates how well Juma takes care of their guests - really, like family.

We appreciated every staff person from Juma who made this an experience to remember. This trip should be on everyone's bucket list.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank BBoopL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaioFonseca, Proprietário at Juma Amazon Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded May 15, 2013

Dear BBoopL

I have sent an email from Trip Advisor to you some time ago, but I am not sure if you received it.

Your report is simply spetacular! Thank you very much for the time you took writing it!

Some of your suggestions we already put in practice: we bought some solar panels to provide hot water in all the lake view bungalows. And all our tourists will receive now a small backpack from Juma, making it easier for them to leave their bigger bags in Manaus.

Thank you very much one more time!

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Reviewed December 29, 2012

The good: wonderful setting. Friendly staff at the restaurant. Enthusiastic guide. Worth spending some extra money for the lake view cabins as they have more privacy.
The bad: we had the 3 nights package which seemed to be just fine as the resort (and/or the guide) seemed to be running out of ideas. We enjoyed perfect weather so we never had to cancel or postpone any activity, and so our last day was filled with a one day boat trip to see one (1) big tree.
The ugly: upon checking out we seemed to be dead meat to our hosts. The staff assigned to assist us with the trip back to Manaus didn't make the slightest effort to be helpful. At the halfway point the ladies in our group couldn't use the bathroom because it was messed up completely. We were with too many people in too small cars and at the last boat landing we had to haggle with the luggage carriers as they wanted to be paid to help us. It seems that Juma only pays for one handler and so if your fellow guests bring more luggage then it is simply bad luck to you. It is either way no problem to carry your own bag or to let some of the local people make a few dollars, that is not the issue. The point is that you pay for a service to Juma that you ultimately do not receive once you have checked out. That -unfortunately- leaves a bad aftertaste after what was a fun experience.

Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
3  Thank Polspective
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CaioFonseca, Proprietário at Juma Amazon Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 15, 2013

Dear Paul

Thank you for your comments!

Good to know that you enjoyed our lake view bungalows!

Sometimes we do have some problems with the transfers, because we depend on third parties to offer this service (when the lodge is full, we have to hire other cars). Last week we just bought another car, in order to offer our guests a more professional service, fully provided by Juma.

Based on your comments, we spoke with the owner of the toilet that we stop by on the way to the lodge and he assured us that he will keep it cleaner. We will be checking this toilet often, in order to guarantee its cleanliness.

Last, but not less important, we ask our guests to bring small luggages to the lodge (we can keep the big luggages in our office in Manaus), because of the small space in the boats. But we will provide more carriers when it is needed.

Looking forward to see you back in Juma one day.

Sincerely,

Caio Fonseca
Director
Juma Amazon Lodge

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Reviewed November 8, 2012

Juma Lodge does a great job in making one aware of the ecosystem and how important it is of preserving what remains of the Amazon and nature, in general. The activities which are included in the package are educational, as well as fun. We learned alot while there. It is hot and humid during the afternoons so I can now understand the reason of no activity during this part of the day. We stayed in the higher priced bungalows but during the dry season, I do not believe that it is worth the extra price since there is dry land for quite a distance until the waterline. During the rainy season or after the water rises, it is probably very beautiful. The food is okay. The best food was the piranah that one catches and we were fortunate to have Brazilian fishermen staying at the lodge who went out daily and supplied the lodge with wonderful fish caught an hour before. Do not expect luxury since electricity is on only during certain times and there is no hot water. It was a great experience and baby monkeys make it even better.

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

Juma provided us with a perfect balance. We wanted to be in the heart of the rainforest, but without losing all of our home comforts! We stayed on a 5 night 6 day package, booking through Amazonas Viverde, who's package was cheaper and included more activities than booking direct.
We picked Juma for the accommodation, location and the package and it didn't disappoint.
Our accommodation was upgraded on arrival which was brilliant. In hindsight I should have booked the water rooms from the start, they are so lovely and private. The room is basic but all you need. I was expecting problems with insects but nothing at all, the position over the water keeps little nasties at bay! The shower is only cold water but it is refreshing after a day in the Amazon. All of the water is filtered so you can drink from the taps. You can also take a bottle with you and refill at each meal time from the water butt in the dining room for free, only pop and alcohol was chargeable. The electricity is limited but it didn't matter. The rooms don't have any curtains or glass, just a mosquito net as a window (although there aren't really any mosquitos), which means you wake with the sun and the forest animals on a morning, so perfect! Don't worry, each day builds in time for a mid afternoon siesta so there's plenty of time for sleep.
You join a group, although our group changed over the stay, you do your activities and meals with them every day. We met some great people and exchanged many stories over a Caipirinha in the lounge on an evening. Beers were about R$5 and Caipis about $8. I think soft drinks were R$3, but water from the butt was free,
Our guide Elcio was a great guy with a massive heart. So caring and fun. He speaks soooo many languages to an amazing level and is very knowledgable about everything in the Amazon. He even got British humour and sarcasm, amazing!!
There were 2 baby howler monkeys at the lodge whilst we were there. They are completely wild, the lodge is just helping them grow up until they can join a passing troop. They were so cute and always after cuddles.
We saw dolphins on almost every boat ride, they even swam past the lodge on quite a few occasions. We often just sat on the dock with a drink watching them.
I would recommend this place to anyone, such a great retreat, very intiimate and special. I feel priveliged to have had the experience it offers. Thanks to Elcio and the rest of the staff for a great stay!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank kayrobo1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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