The Peruvian Amazon is becoming a hot-spot for responsible travelers looking to escape the crowds and experience one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Ecolodges are cropping up all over Peru that offer a range of amenities and opportunities to see wildlife. But with so many great options available, choosing an ecolodge in Peru may seem like a daunting task.
Discover the Peruvian jungle at Posada Amazonas
Travelers heading to Peru’s southern jungle region should consider visiting Posada Amazonas, an ecolodge conveniently located just a 45 minute boat ride from the town of Puerto Maldonado. Posada Amazonas is the product of a partnership between the local community of Infierno and Rainforest Expeditions, a Peruvian company with the purpose of combining environmental education with tourism. The ecolodge, owned by the people of Infierno and managed with Rainforest Expeditions, opened in 1998 and is now a shining example of a responsible and profitable ecotourism project in Peru that involves the local community.
To get to Posada Amazonas daily flights from Lima and Cusco land in the town of Puerto Maldonado. An English-speaking guide from Posada will meet you at the airport and accompany your group to the lodge – a 30 minute ride to the Port of Infierno where you take a boat the rest of the way to the lodge. During the journey you’re introduced to some jungle cuisine: I was given locally grown Brazil nuts and bananas as a snack and ate lunch wrapped in a large banana leaf. It was a short walk to the lodge after the boat docked on the river shore.
The open-air design of the lodge is evident when you enter the main lobby and your guide explains the details of your stay. To mention a few environmentally friendly efforts, Posada Amazonas provides its guests with biodegradable soap and shampoo, uses kerosene lamps and candles to light the rooms instead of electric bulbs, and cooks flavorful meals with locally grown products. Laundry service is only offered on sunny days when clothes can air-dry.
You’ll have time to settle into your room before departing on a jungle excursion. All 30 spacious bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, are separated by light cane fencing: so while the rooms are private, they are not soundproof and guests are asked to reduce volumes at night. Each room has three walls with a windowless veranda that opens into the surrounding jungle for safe, yet close contact with the environment. Given the exposure, using the mosquito netting over each bed is recommended at night.
Daily excursions at Posada Amazonas are organized around the best times to see different types of wildlife, usually in the early morning and evening hours. All of the excursions are a short 10 to 15 minute boat ride away or depart directly from the lodge into the jungle.
The lake excursion to Tres Chimbates was my favorite. It was worth the early morning wake-up call to see the resident family of giant river otters, a caiman, piranhas, and several species of birds.
The canopy tower at Posada Amazonas juts into the air and the long climb up offers a rewarding vista over the tallest jungle trees. The vast expanse of green vegetation and the Tambopata River went as far as my eyes could see. My group didn’t spot any toucans or parrots, but the sound of nearby howler monkeys accompanied our great view.
Other activities at the ecolodge include a trip to the macaw clay lick, a visit to a local working farm and a night hike. Kayaking, mountain biking, canopy climbing and treatments at the Kuaii Wellness Center are activities that can be enjoyed as an added expense.
My group was lucky to see a variety of wildlife thanks to good weather, luck, and the expertise of our guide, Luis. Like nearly all of the employees at Posada Amazonas, Luis is from the local community of Infierno that owns the lodge. His ability to spot hidden wildlife and knowledge about the native vegetation, no doubt skills he learned from growing up in the area, made him an excellent guide. He enthusiastically answered our questions and told us about illegal gold mining and logging in the region surrounding the Tambopata National Reserve that continues to destroy parts of the jungle.
The local community of Infierno owns a territory of 9,558 hectares of the jungle where Posada Amazonas is located. The ecolodge is not only a source of livelihood for the community of 600 people, but has helped spread awareness about the increasing demand to protect this fragile ecosystem from further destruction. So, when planning your jungle adventure to Peru, stay at an ecolodge like Posada Amazonas to help preserve the environment and support the local community.
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Britt is a California native who left her home to explore South America and now lives in Peru. She’s just a little obsessed about planning getaways with her family, scuba diving, and trekking.