From Puerto Maldonado, we headed off into the Jungle with Rainforest Expeditions. This was the only organised tour we did during our trip to Peru and it was absolutely worth the extra money.
Our first impressions were not that great, as the office was in chaos when we arrived, with people trying to establish which group they were due to travel with and we almost got left behind because of conflicting information given to us by staff. However, everyone was very friendly and eventually, we were off! The first part of the journey was by minibus to the dock and took approximately 1 hour and the second leg was by boat. Our tour guide Luis managed to make the transfer fun – dishing out our packed lunches served in a banana leaf and stopping the boat to point out an order of macaws that were feeding on a clay lick! It was clear that he loved nature and was knowledgeable and enthusiastic.
The jungle lodge itself – Posada Amazonas – was as luxurious as the jungle can get. All of the floors and most furniture was made of solid wood, the beds were comfortable, our room had a hammock and en suite and the lodge supplied us with some lovely toiletries, which were biodegradable (you cannot use your own products as they can be harmful to the environment). A word of caution – the walls do not reach the ceilings and the rooms only have 3 walls (with the third being open to the jungle). This gives the lodge the feeling of luxury camping and you will hear all the sounds of the jungle at night, together with your neighbours’ snores. The electricity also switches off at 10pm, so having your possessions well organised and bringing a torch is a must! If you bring any snacks with you, lock them in the safe. Otherwise you will be woken up by the sound of possums chewing through your bag to get to the good stuff!
Meals were served in the communal dining area, where there was also a bar and seating. The bar served beers, wine and cocktails for a reasonable price. You could have a tab, to be paid on checkout. The food in the lodge was simple but tasty and you could have seconds if you were still hungry. I am a vegetarian and thought that they catered well for me. Breakfast was typically eggs, a selection of cereals and fruit. Teas and coffee were available throughout the day, at a self service table in the dining room.
One of our first excursions was a walk to the Canopy Tower. The terrain is fairly flat but you do have to hop over the odd tree trunk and negotiate tree roots, so I would wear trainers or walking shoes. Wellies (gum boots) are provided by the lodge in case there’s heavy rain fall. We went at the end of the dry season so we were lucky. Although we saw very few mossies, we smothered ourselves in repellent just in case. The Canopy Tower is very cool – you can see over the treeline and we had great views of monkeys swinging through the trees and sitting on branches as well as of macaws and parrots in flight. The Tower does have a tendency to sway a little the further up you climb (especially when it gets top heavy with people) but Luis assured us that it is well maintained and I certainly felt safe and secure.
We also went on a trip to a local ox-bow lake, where we saw Caiman and Giant River Otters as well as a diverse range of birds. The lake itself was beautiful and we had a relaxing time floating though the water. The excursion was topped off with some piranha finishing – there’s a picture of my catch below! All of the fish were thrown back into the water, alive.
This guy is a legend… our favourite tour guide: LUIS. He seriously knows his stuff. Throughout the trip, we were amazed at his ability to spot monkeys and birds high up and camoflaged in the trees, not to mention spiders and other wildlife on the ground!
I would seriously recommend that you do all of the trips that are offered to you. We were the only couple to venture out on a “nightwalk” and it was a highlight of our time in the jungle. We saw many animals that would not have been apparent to us in the day – particularly tarantulas and many species of frog – and the night sky was amazing (because there is so little light pollution in the jungle). We walked through the jungle down to the river and it was just magical.
On our final day, we were also one of only two couples who joined an early morning walk to a clay lick where we hoped to see parrots and macaws. We could see hundreds of them from our hide, feeding on the nutrients and flying overhead, while watching the sunrise – definitely worth the early start!
During the booking stage we found their staff member named Pierina Carranza very helpful with all our questions.
We took the 3 day, 2 night tour, which cost approximately $530 for a superior double room.