Do you want to have a nice little vacation on the edge of the Amazon jungle, or do you want to get far away from the towns and be sleep where the animals are sleeping? If it’s the latter, you’ll want to check out our latest story on a tour with Rainforest Expeditions of Peru.
We’ve got a review of the top upscale jungle lodge in the region and stories on the Aqua and Aria river cruises. These aren’t child-friendly options, however, and they kind of skirt the surface instead of getting you deep into the old-growth areas that are hard to reach. It’s an easier sell when it doesn’t take travelers the good part of a day to get to where they’ll lay their head at night.
If you want to feel like an intrepid explorer, however, Rainforest Expeditions is really for you. When our writer went on a trip with them to the Tambopata National Reserve, it was no quick shuttle from the Maldonada airport. First there’s a one–hour drive along an unpaved jungle road. Then three hours by river launch. The last stretch is a 15-minute walk through pristine primary rainforest to a clearing. Here you really feel like you’re in the Amazon jungle.
Most travelers book a room at Refugio Amazonas, the 32-room lodge the company has in a 200-hectare buffer zone within the Tambopata reserve. To take it up a notch, however, there’s the Amazon Villa, a large home with a separate living room and a deck with dining area. Surprisingly for such a remote area, there’s electricity, a flat-screen TV to play DVDs, and satellite internet if you must check in. It is open to the sights and sounds of the surroundings during the day, however, and you can take it all in from a hammock. When it’s time to eat, a private Peruvian chef just for this villa will prepare the meal.
Amazon Villa is situated at a discrete distance from the Refugio lodge, meaning that you can drop by anytime to enjoy the amenities, including two massage rooms overlooking the forest. Or you can stay away and feel like you have the jungle to yourself.
It is set up to receive families, with small beds for kids. The main lodge caters to them as well.
The Villa and Refugio are, by rainforest lodge standards, unusually welcoming of young children. Peru’s fanciest Amazon cruises have a minimum age requirement of seven. But not here. The main lodge actually has a playground and there is even a special children’s trail in the jungle, set up by an award–winning Lima–based nonprofit ANIA. Based on the tale of a six–year–old girl called “Ania”, who lives in the jungle, it features brightly colored signs explaining the natural wonders of the rainforest, such as ants’ nests and kapok trees.
Naturally there are plenty of scheduled treks into the wild to see animals in their natural habitat. You also take an excursion by boat to a clay lick to see a collection of parrots or macaws.
If you want to do more than take a walk in the woods, there are kayaks, mountain bikes, and a tree pulley system to use. Or climb up the high scaffold tower to get a better view of colorful birds in the treetops.
See our full tour story here: An Amazon Villa Vacation at Tambopata Rainforest, Peru