Which Amazon Jungle Lodge is Best for You?
For most people, traveling to South America is a pretty big deal. It's a big deal for me and I've been traveling there for more than 13 years. Many people are interested in exploring one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet. The Amazon Jungle! But how do you decide where to go with so many variables? One of the questions that comes up is, "How do I choose a lodge for my trip to the rain forest?"
Based on people's questions and feedback over the years, and my visits to several lodges, I've created a short jungle lodge survey to help you figure out:
- how comfortable are the lodges in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia?
- how easy are they to get to?
- how can you combine your trip to the Amazon with other places like Machu Picchu?
- What if you want to do a river cruise?
I've been to the jungle in Ecuador and Puerto Maldonado area in Peru, as well as Iquitos. I've visited and stayed in many lodges. These lodges, including "luxury class," are locally managed and all offer wholesome meals. A few may have yoga classes or massages. They are not Aman Resorts with wellness centers and world-class dining! But are they comfortable? Let's find out.
We can assist people who want to set up "combo" trips that combine any of the following destinations:
- Machu Picchu
- Amazon jungle in Peru (including Manu Biosphere Reserve)
- Galapagos Islands
- Mainland Ecuador
- Amazon jungle in Ecuador
- Lake Titicaca
- Bolivia Salt Flats
- Bolivia jungle
- Patagonia in Chile
- Easter Island
If you had enough time, we could in theory combine every single one of these destinations into one trip! But most people are interested in combining 2 or maybe 3 places. You can "mix & match" any combination from the list and we'll set up an itinerary using the most efficient means of travel based on your needs and interests. And budget!
What are the characteristics of a typical jungle lodge:
- all the lodges we book have hot water and private bathrooms except Manu Biosphere Reserve. (showers are cold water only)
- very few lodges have full time electricity, but if this is important to you, let me know and I can steer you to the best lodge
- most lodges have generators that operate for short periods during the morning and evening. And they provide outlets for charging your devices
- all lodges have flushing toilets (with a couple of exceptions)
- some lodges may have access to WIFI but it is not reliable.
- a few lodges have ceiling fans in the rooms (and full time electricity)
- there's one lodge that has AC in all the rooms, but not in the main lounge
- there are a couple of lodges with inground swimming pools. These are attractive to families with kids and fun-loving adults
- lodges are designed using local materials with high thatched roofs that cover open living areas with subdivided rooms. Rooms are not sound proof
- lodge structures and walkways are elevated off the floor of the jungle and usually surrounded by open green space which discourages visits from wildlife
- some lodges have open living areas that are not screened
- all lodges have daily guided tours and activities led by knowledgeable naturalist guides
- all beds have mosquito nets except lodges with AC (where it's not needed)
How do you get to the jungle lodges?
- Ecuador. Daily Flights at 11AM for 40 minutes from Quito to Coca. Transfer from the airport to the dock for 2-3 hour trip in motorized canoe with canopy and padded seats.
- Peru. Puerto Maldonado. Daily flights are 45 minutes from Cusco and 2H from Lima. (it's possible to fly in from one city and fly out to another. Your excess luggage is stored)
- Peru. Iquitos. One direct flight from Cusco on Latam Airlines offered 3 days a week. Otherwise daily flights in and out of Lima, Peru.
- The duration of the ride in motorized canoes/boats can be a factor in choosing the right lodge. The average is about 2 hours by canoe and can be up to 4 hours. Even if you don't mind staring at the beautiful landscape on your 4H canoe ride, do you have the time and interest for a ride that long? Each way. There is a lodge with a 45 minute ride, but is it the best lodge for you?
- The only lodges in Peru that are actually near the famous Amazon River can be reached by traveling to Iquitos. Otherwise you need to go to Brazil to see the Amazon River. The headwaters of the Amazon River begin in the Andes Mountains in Peru.
- Bolivia. Daily flights from La Paz to Rurrenabaque. Private jeep begins 3 day swamp trip then continue by boat to Madidi NP
We offer one river cruise in Ecuador
- There are a couple of options for river boat cruises into the jungle in Ecuador. Here's a link to the luxury river boat cruise
Does it cost more to book your lodge through our company?
- No. We have negotiated preferential rates with lodges and they welcome our clients. We charge you the same cost you would pay if you book it yourself directly with the lodge
- Payments can be made with any credit card. Our banks are US based. There is no additional fee
- All ground transfers, guided excursions, meals and drinking water are included in the rates.
- We will synchrozine your trip to the amazon jungle with all your other activities
How long should you book your stay in the jungle:
- Minimum recommended stay is 4 days/3 nights. This is because it takes most of 1 full day to travel to the lodge. And the 4th day is spent traveling out. That gives you 2 full days in the jungle.
- Three day trips can be arranged, but 2 of those 3 days are for travel in and out which leavest you only 1 full day in the jungle
- Expeditions to Manu Biosphere Reserve in Peru take a minimum of 7 days beginning and ending in Cusco. Or if you choose to fly one way, flights from Puerto Maldonado to Cusco or Lima can be arranged
- LATAM is the only airline offering service to Puerto Maldonado. There are limited flights to/from Cusco. I recommend that you confirm flight availability at the same time we confirm lodge availability.
- We need to know your exact travel dates and number of rooms and beds you need in order to confirm availability in any lodge.
- Trips to Bolivia jungle should be about 7 days beginning and ending in La Paz.
Where is the best lodge for wildlife observation?
- The answer may depend on what animals your are interested in. For instance, pink river dolphins are best viewed in Iquitos region or Napo River in Ecuador and Madidi National Park in Bolivia.
- Monkeys of some kind, but not necessarily all species, can be found in all rain forest habitats.
- Some regions are experiencing a more rapid decline in wildlife populations due to encroachment or human behaviors like eating bush meat. The Iquitos region is especially prone to this destructive custom.
- Keep in mind that the key to seeing wildlife in their native habitats is based on the ability of your local guide to take you there. Wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed of course, but lodges know that good guides are important to the overall experience of all visitors.
Do you need special shots for diseases?
- Peru does not ask for any proof of vaccinations or medications. It's up to you and your doctor to decide what your needs are.
- All countries are different and some may require vaccination for Yellow Fever to travel to Peru or Ecuador.
- US citizens can follow CDC for Ecuador and follow CDC for Peru
- If you're traveling to other countries after your visit to Peru, find out if they require vaccinations before you can enter
Can you reserve lodges that offer ceremonial use of Ayahuasca or other mind-altering substances?
- No. Adios Adventure Travel does not book Ayahuasca retreats
- I've heard that Blue Morpho Ayahuasca Retreat Center near Iquitos is reputable.
I'm happy to answer any specific questions you have.