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Ceiba Tops Lodge by Explorama
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Reviewed October 26, 2012

For the last leg of our Peru Adventure we were at Ceiba Tops for 2 nights and 3 days. It is a nice facility roughly 1.5 hours from Iquitos. That makes it one of the better options if you have a noon or early departure out of Iquitos (which was the case with us).
The day we reached there the lodge was very full with a couple of large tour groups. At the lodge each group is supposed to be assigned to a guide. Due to the lodge being so full they doubled us up with another family of 3. The only problem with that was that their primary language was Spanish and ours is English. Our guide told us that he was sorry about it but he would try to make it work. Given the logistical challenges I decided to go and speak to the manager. The guide said he would speak to the manager and I decided to go along.
We did manage to get the guide situation resolved and they assigned another guide to the other group however I was upset that when we went to the manager the manager had the conversation with the guide while I was standing there but refused to acknowledge that I was even present nor did I get a greeting or an apology. If I had not protested I don't think they would have done anyhting.
For their standard 3 day - 2 night package they have certain activities that they cover. This includes a trip to a native Yagua camp, a visit to a town nearby, fishing for Piranhas and viewing pink dolphins and a jungle walk.
Generally the way it works is that you have an activity for a couple of hours then you come back to the lodge, unwind and relax, and then you have one activity in the afternoon.
However this is pretty much subject to change based on your interests if you say so. If you don't you are stuck with their outline.
Here are my suggestions:
Yagua Village - This is really not a village but in my opinion a mini theme camp with locals playing dress up. Fun and enjoyable but not completely authentic. The resident group welcomed us, performed a dance, made us join, and then we tried the blowgun followed by some craft booths. The village group included some young girls (late and early teens) and quite appropriately they were dressed more modestly compared to the older women. In addition they had their hair highlighted and straightened. Quite okay all things considered but defintiely took away from the illusion that you were in the middle of the Amazon!
Visit to the town: We decided to skip that completely because we did not think it would add much to our cultural expeirence after the Yagua Village encounter.
There are two other places that we decided to go visit which we found out by chance on Trip Advisor Forums but are not part of their standard 3 day - 2 night plan.
Where Ceiba Tops is there is really no wildlife except for a resident tapir, a macaw, and a parrot.
There are some monkeys who do visit the hammock house in the morning to get the bananas that are hanging there. (They are there for both our consumption and the monkeys). The macaw is a real grumpy bird (he does not fly but walks around) and greets people with "Ola!" if you feed him and if he feels like it. My duaghter and the macaw bonded famoulsy, and all the free time she had she spent playing with him and by the second day it was following her around. The parrot lives by the kitchen and we think speaks a lot more Spanish (at least it sounded like it). We were not at the lodge but we did hear that somesnake had been spotted in the lodge area but was quickly disposed of (not sure of the total accuracy of that story but definitely some truth to it).
So if you want to see any wildlife and try something different I would suggest the two following alternatives - both or one of them depending on your interests.
Neiser's Reserve: This is a little further out (20-30 minutes by a speedboat) and you have to specifically ask for it. They charge you extra but I think it is worth the money. Neiser's Reserve has quite a few animals, most of them injured, orphans, and the like. This includes monkeys (couple of different breeds), sloths, toucans and macaws, and the anaconda. All the animals run free and are very playful - my wife and daughter got to play with the monkeys, hold the birds and the sloth and of course the anaconda. They have two - a 21 foot monster who was molting when we there and was not in a very pleasant mood and a 6 footer which we got to hold. I am told you can holdthe 21 footer to but it takes 3 grown people to handle it. Definitely a great time. since this was our first afternoon there we specially enjoyed the ride up the Amazon in the speed boat especially on the way back because we were trying to outrun a storm.
Monkey Isalnd - This is closer by boat but overall distance is probably the same because of the walk from where the boat docks. Here there are just primarily monkeys (orphans) both caged and free. We got the opportunity to feed the caged monkeys but the free monkeys were great fun and again very playful. They jumped on us, shook hands with us etc. (This excusrion is also an extra cost).
I thought both these were worth the extra money when looked at in terms of the total outlay to stay at Ceiba Tops.
Because of these two trips, we did the jungle walk on the last morning before leaving the lodge. We did a shortened version of it (the full blown takes a couple of hours). Part of it was due to time and part of it was because we were sweating so much that we decided to head back and take a shower again before heading to Iquitos. We did not see any spiders though we found a couple of nests. We did see some gourgeous butterflies, some large ants, and couple of frog species but not the really colorful poisionous ones. Our guide told us that if we had done the full walk we probably would have seen some. The highlight of the walk was the giant Ceiba Tree. Impressive but not overwhelming if you have seen the Sequioas and the Redwoods in California.
My understanding is that there is an option for a night walk. We did not do it becasue we were not told about it. So my advice is that if you want to do somehting ask.
The piranha fishing was fun (my wife and daughter both caught one along with cattish and a sardine like fish. I am told that if you want they will cook and serve you for dinner. We were really not interested (my wife and daughter are not sea food fans and the specimens were not very big) but they did clean one fish and my duaghter got the set of teeth.
The mosquitoes were not very bad though we did get some stings. We had applied mosquito repellent on our clothes and all exposed skin surfaces. However we did walk around in shorts and haf sleeved T-sirts.
I thought the food was okay - not particulary bad or not Michelin quality but satisfying and with some variety.
The room was very good and with a/c. They keep the a/c running at cool temperatures which keeps the critters out of the room. Definietly a good nights sleep.
Memorable trip - the only reason I don't give it 5 stars is because of the cost. It is expensive, but I guess it is the Amazon after all.

Room Tip: One set of the rooms face the back or the forest and are more quiet. However we were on the front side. did not make much of a difference.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Abbas_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 21, 2012 via mobile

Ceiba Tops is a nicely layed out resort right on the Amazon River. The rooms are nice size with AC, a fan, electricity, a nice bathroon with a shower. We had a king size bed. There is a swimming pool & a Peruvian hot tub. The hot tub temperature is colder than the pool. The staff is friendly & helpful. The food is not so great. Dinner is a fish or meat & usually overcooked. There is very good selection of food at the buffet. The location is great. If the food was better it would have gotten excellents all around. The food at their Explorama Lodge was much better.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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1  Thank StevenHScher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2012

I stayed for four nights/five days at Ceiba Tops (Oct 9-13) after 15 days of touring through the rest of Peru. This was the highlight of my trip. The lodge was wonderful.

I was met at the airport and given a cold bottle of water while traveling to Explorama’s headquarters. Keep this bottle to use/refill at the lodge.

My room (408) was clean and comfortable. The air conditioning worked great and there was a screen on the window if I wanted to open it and hear the jungle sounds. The bathroom was well appointed and was supplied with clean towels daily (they also supply face cloths).

There was plenty of food at the buffet and it was all quite tasty.

The staff are what make the lodge so great. They were all really friendly and went out of their way to help. My guide Roger was great, especially the last day and a half that I had him to myself. My only complaint with Explorama is how they group people with the guides. Roger had Spanish, English and German speaking tourists in his group so had to repeat everything three times which made everything take much longer than it needed to.

Everything you buy at Ceiba Tops is in US dollars. Laundry is a bit expensive at $3/article (shirts and pants) but it was back quickly. A pisco sour costs $4 and I think sodas are $2. You can pay by visa when you are leaving.

As a solo traveller I never felt isolated. The staff went out of their way to talk to me and other guests invited me to eat with them so I did not have to sit alone.

At the lodge there are tapirs, scarlet macaws and saddleback tamarins.

The excursions were great, my schedule was as follows but I think it varies depending on when you arrive, how long you are staying for and your interests:

Day 1 – arrived early morning, had lunch at the lodge and then went pink dolphin watching and piranha fishing (I caught a small piranha)

Day 2 –up early to leave by 5:30 for the trip to Explornapo and the canopy walkway. Had breakfast and lunch at Explornapo and after lunch went and saw a shaman who explained about the medicinal rainforest plants. That evening we went out on the Amazon to watch the sunset. There was a folklore show put on by some kids from the high school in Indiana after dinner.

Day 3 –In the morning we went to visit the Yagua Indians, saw a blow gun demonstration and gave it a try. In the afternoon we went to Isla de los Monos (Monkey Island), a spider monkey, named Anthony, crawled all over me. A storm blew in while we were on the island so it was a rough, wet, cold ride back to Ceiba Tops.

Day 4 – In the morning we went to the Nassir sanctuary, this is not included in the Explorama program, but some of the others assigned to my group wanted to go and when Roger asked me I agreed. It cost $15USD extra to do this. This was as good as Isla de los Monos, but with additional animals. There is a sloth, a couple anacondas, a toucan plus other animals. In the afternoon I was on my own with Roger as all of the other guests in his group had left. I chose to do the walk to the Ceiba tree and the trails around the lodge. We saw howler monkeys, saddleback tamarins, a dead yellow porcupine and an ocelot. That night we went on a night hike, we didn’t see much just a tarantula, a butterfly and fireflies. A tapir followed us out of the jungle and back to the lodge.

Day 5 – In the morning we went to Indiana village and then took a tuktuk to Mazan and looked around. A boat met us there to take us back to Ceiba Tops. That afternoon we left at 2pm to head back to Iquitos where I caught a 5pm flight back to Lima and my 11:45pm flight back home. Roger stayed at the airport with me until I went through security.

It was a great end to my vacation. I would definately return to Ceiba Tops.

Room Tip: Try to get a jungle facing room.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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Thank DJCat1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2012

RUN, don’t walk, to the Amazon Explorama Lodges! Our group of five stayed at Ceiba Tops Lodge for 4 nights/5 days. In the midst of the most stunning setting imaginable, we were delighted to have air conditioning, comfortable, clean rooms, swimming pool, hammock house and an incredible lodge for socializing, relaxing, and enjoying delicious food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our Guide, Cesar, was World-Class: while insuring our safety, he devoted every minute to fulfilling each person’s desire – spot a sloth (we held one), understand and experience every aspect of the Amazon rainforest, visit a clinic, village - we even went to Indiana! He was authentic and genuine in his enthusiasm as he led us into the rainforest: trekking during the day, night walks; crossing the amazing Canopy Walkway; fishing for piranha, spotting pink dolphins; identifying birds, insects, animals, trees, plants and more. He was guide, teacher and entertaining activity director! We visited Explorama Lodge and ExplorNapo Lodge, which are unique, in breathtaking settings, and offer the traveler a wish-fulfilling experience, specific to individual expectations, in one of the most unbelievable environments in the world. This was truly a life changing experience for which we are so thankful.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Donna H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2012

I visited Ceiba Tops with a group from Australia with a visit to Monkey Island as Top Priority.
A friend had visited in 2011. My requests to the Guide Riccardo were not considered or taken seriously. He recommended another place to my group to which they went. Other groups were going to Monkey Island; Why was I not included in that visit knowing I had that very special request.... One month later I am still so disappointed..... It is very important that guests to an area are accommodated properly in optional extra tours they come thousands of miles to see.
I might add I offered to pay what ever.
I found the food had small choices and rather uninteresting.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Worldtosee46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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