This same thoughtful, efficient attention to our well-being remained the norm for the duration of our stay.

Overall Impression One of the most extraordinary things about the Tahuayo Lodge was that this welcoming enclave of comfort should exist at all in the midst of the untamed wilderness of the Western Amazon. Perched high on a bank of the Tahuayo River, the lodge was a sprawling, thatched-roofed complex of large huts linked together by covered bridge-like walkways. Entirely built on stilts, it was distinguishable only by its size and layout from the tidy indigenous villages down river.

Although it was already mid-afternoon by the time our boat arrived, we were immediately ushered into the cheerful dinning hall where an appetizing buffet lunch appeared on short order. Amazonia Expeditions management personnel quickly welcomed us and gave us a brief orientation tour. Meanwhile, our luggage had materialized in our cabin before we were escorted to it. This same thoughtful, efficient attention to our well-being remained the norm for the duration of our stay.

Average Duration Of Visit Amazonia Expeditions recommends a seven-day minimum stay to take full advantage of the many activities available, and enjoy a rich jungle experience. We were at the Tahuayo Lodge for eight nights, and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of our stay.

Established The lodge was built in 1995. It has been in operation ever since and was the object of meticulous on-going maintenance and enhancements. A large research and education laboratory was added in 2000. The latest addition, a circular, 30-foot wide hammock room completed in 2003 was one of our favorite spots to relax and read.

Handicapped Access While the lodge was not configured for handicapped access, we were told that it has successfully accommodated motion and visually impaired guests who have visited as part of a larger group.

Length Of Stay Eight nights

Location The Tahuayo Lodge was located in the Peruvian state of Loreto, approximately 90 miles by motorboat south of Iquitos, the state capital. We first traveled 50 miles upstream on the Amazon before veering off into the Tahuayo River for another 40 miles. The entire trip usually takes between four and five hours depending on the time of year and the water level in the Tahuayo.

Manager Rolex Arevalo

Open All year

Owners Paul and Dolly Beaver

Size The 300-foot facade of the lodge included three spacious common areas connected by seven-foot wide covered walkways. The dinning hall was in the center, with the laboratory and the hammock room at both ends. Similar covered bridges led to the guest cabins and other facilities in the rear. The entire structure was 300 feet by 240 feet, built on stilts ranging from 10 feet to 20 feet in height to accommodate the rolling terrain below and raise the lodge safely over the water level during the rainy season. The architecture blended seamlessly into the 37 acres of jungle that constituted the property. Its boundaries melted into the endless thousands of acres of rainforest surrounding it.

There were 17 guest cabins, capable of accommodating up to 45 guests. Depending on the number of guests in residence, the staff headcount varied from 25 to 30.

Transportation Once at the Tahuayo Lodge, the only ways to get around were by small motorboat, native wooden canoe and on foot.

Description One of the remarkable strengths of Amazonia Expeditions was their complete flexibility in customizing our jungle experience to our requirements and interests. Our guide, Weninger Flores, displayed an encyclopedic knowledge of the flora and fauna of the rainforest, and an outstanding dedication to introducing us to it in the best possible conditions. His acute jungle sensitivity could spot an inch long poison-dart frog in the most camouflaged environment. He could also mimic many of the voices of the forest, from cuvier’s toucans and pygmy marmosets, and entice them to come for a closer look. Additionally, we valued the obvious commitment of the Amazonia Expeditions personnel to the preservation of the rainforest environment and the culture of the local ribereños communities that dotted the banks of the Tahuayo. This afforded us the opportunity to meet with local Shamans, learn basket weaving from native craftswomen, and to interact with the community at large in a mutually respectful and friendly way.

Common Areas The lodge was a rustic accommodation catering to the wilderness tourist. Its architecture was representative of the indigenous culture. It was built of local materials such as huacapu timber and irapay palm thatch. One notable difference between the Tahuayo Lodge and traditional local dwellings was that all the ceilings of the lodge and most of the partitions not required for privacy were made of mesh screening. The luxuriant jungle views that surrounded the buildings provided the décor.

Bathroom The lavatories and shower stalls were shared, co-ed facilities located near each cluster of cabins, in sufficient number that we never waited for their use. The furthest distance between any of the guest cabins and a bathroom facility was about 75 feet. Sinks were in the open air. At night, while the paths to the bathrooms were lit with oil lamps, it was necessary to use a flashlight inside the individual stalls. All bathroom facilities were kept scrupulously clean.

Room Our Cabin (# 11) was a corner unit in a cluster of eight cabins situated on either side of a large hallway at the rear of the property. The upper quarter of our cedar-paneled 130-square- foot room was screened in, as was the ceiling, to allow air circulation and to let in the sounds of the jungle. The furnishings consisted of two comfortable single beds with mosquito nets, a common bedside table between the two beds, a luggage stand, a small writing desk and two shelves with wooden pegs underneath to hang clothes. The mosquito nets were more a pleasing decorative element than a necessity, as the screening kept our room entirely bug-free

Meals All the meals served at the lodge were buffet style. Everything was prepared in the kitchen located a few steps behind the dinning hall, by a staff experienced in the sanitary handling of food. We enjoyed the simple, delicious meals that often included interesting local vegetables or fruits, such as shaved heart of palm salad or manioc chips. The lodge accommodated special dietary requirements by prior request.

Amenities There were large bath towels in the rooms. Jungle rubber boots were available for loan to guests. The lodge provided daily laundry service, a service extremely rare if not unique among jungle lodges.

Facilities There were no shopping, dinning or healthcare facilities on the Tahuayo River. All daily guest necessities were provided by the lodge. Supplies could be ordered from Iquitos via short wave radio and delivered by the next boat.

Souvenirs The Amazonia Expeditions T-shirt, with its distinctive hoatzin bird logo was available for sale at the lodge.

Bird Watching Birds were everywhere! The lodge was located in close proximity to the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Nature Reserve, home to more than 500 species of birds. Every waking moment was an occasion to view many of them. It was not unusual to be serenaded by a white-necked thrush or to admire the coral beak of a black-faced nunbird while washing our hands at an open-air sink. We fell asleep at night to a symphony where the two-note call of the striped cuckoo punctuated the complex echoing sound of the common potoo; or was it the great potoo? It was hard to tell, as we could intermittently hear both. Then there was the unmistakable call of the ladder-tailed nightjar, announcing the name of the river “too-why-yoo.” Within forty-eight hours, thanks to Weninger’s patient tutoring, we could identify a boat-billed flycatcher perched by the river as we went by, and enjoy being able to tell apart the several varieties of kingfishers that escorted our canoe on our late afternoon rides. We arrived as casual bird observers. The Tahuayo Lodge made birdwatchers out of us.

Wildlife Viewing Mammals we saw included brown-throated three-toed sloth, pygmy marmoset, saddleback tamarind, squirrel monkey, wooly monkey, kinkajou, collared peccary, pink river dolphin, grey river dolphin, white-lined sack-winged bat, and long-nosed bat. Reptiles included green anaconda, caiman, and great green iguana. Amphibians: cane toad, crested forest toad, duellman’s poison dart frog. Birds: ringed kingfisher, Amazon kingfisher, green kingfisher, capped heron, yellow-rumped cacique, slate-colored hawk, boat-billed flycatcher, black-faced nunbird, needle-billed hermit, scaly-breasted woodpecker, hooded tanager, scarlet macau, mealy parrot, black caracara, orange-winged parrot, festive parrot, greater ani, yellow-headed caracara, black-collared hawk, lesser kiskadee, great kiskadee, black-tailed ant bird, cuvier’s toucan, great egret, turkey vulture, pale-vented pigeon, great black hawk juvenile, great black hawk, white-winged swallow, cobalt-winged parakeet, crimson-crested woodpecker, smooth-billed ani, swallow-tailed kite, chestnut-eared aracari, chestnut-bellied seed-eater, russet-backed oropendola, clay-colored thrush, white-eared jacamar, tropical kingbird, undulated tinamou, yellow-billed tern, ruddy pigeon, and pied lapwing. Birds heard only: striped cuckoo, common potoo, great potoo, ladder-tailed nightjar and hoatzin bird.

Others There was no electricity anywhere on the property. Lighting was provided by numerous oil-lamps placed at nightfall along all the walkways and inside all the common areas. These lamps were not used in the bedrooms, shower or toilets as they could topple easily and cause fires. Guests were advised to bring their own flashlights. While our small high-intensity handheld flashlights were fully adequate, next time we will bring the headband-mounted version, such as was used by the guides and by experienced wilderness tourists, for hand-free after-dark reading and exploring. A small gas-powered generator was available to recharge camera batteries.

The Tahuayo Lodge used two types of water: river water for bathing and bottled water for drinking. The bathing water was pumped from the river into two large tanks where it was purified with chlorine and biodegradable cleansing agents. This treated water was used at room temperature in the showers and in the flush toilets, which relied on a sanitary septic system. In addition, the lodge transported its drinking water from Iquitos in ten-gallon bottles that were placed in dispensers in the kitchen, the dinning hall and by all the open-air sinks. This bottled water was used for cooking, drinking and personal hygiene.

The Tahuayo Lodge was rated “Most acclaimed lodge of Peru’s Northern Amazon” in the 2004 edition of the Guide to Peru (Moon Handbooks).

Check-In-Check-Out All necessary formalities were completed at the time of booking or when we were met in Iquitos. No formal check-in/check-out was required on-site.

Date Of Latest Visit August 2005

Reviewers © 2005 Simon and Baker, Inc.

Article by Josette King

Photographs by Josette King

Would You Stay Here Again? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • Amazonia Expeditions
    • 103 Riverburn Drive
    • Tampa, FL 33647
  • Phone:
    • +1 800 262 9669
  • Fax:
    • +1 813 907 8475
  • Website:
  • Email: