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Tahuayo Lodge Iguana

Two of the advantages of the Tahuayo Lodge over other Amazon tours are the customizable & highly flexible itineraries and private guides. You are then free to focus on hiking, canoeing, birdwatching, culture, or to have a diverse Amazon Rainforest experience. Here is a description of this tour as well as a review from my experience between July 2nd to July 16th 2014.

Tahuayo Lodge Tour Description

First a description of the two lodges you have available: The Tahauyo Lodge consists of the main lodge, a short boat trip from Chino Village in the Amazon Rainforest, and the Amazon Research Center, or ARC. The ARC is situated in more pristine Amazon Rainforest where you have a greater chance to see a higher diversity of Amazon Rainforest plants and animals. You can split your time between both lodges on a stay of 7 days, but if you’re visiting for a shorter time you may be asked to choose your preferred lodge or will spend your time at the main Tahuayo Lodge (given the higher number of activities).

From the ARC you also have more hiking opportunities, as the lodge is home to a 1000 acre grid system in the reserve where researchers are monitoring Amazonian animals. Camera traps have been placed on the grid to capture images of many interesting species. If you’re interested in rainforest hikes, from the ARC there are over 50 miles of trails through a variety of ecosystems where you can search for resident wildlife. The trails go through several ecosystems, including bajial, high and low restinga, palm swamp and terra firme. You can see many different species of monkeys, including brown and white capuchins, saki monkeys, titi monkeys, squirrel monkeys, pygmy marmosets, moustached tamarins, saddle-backed tamarins, and sometimes uakaris, as well as giant tayra weasels and tamandua anteaters. Data collected from camera traps also reveal a high density of jaguar living here but these are rarely seen. From the ARC, you also have a chance to see giant river otters and neo-tropical river otters.

The Tahuayo Lodge itself has access to more activities, including the Canopy Zipline system, the largest in the Amazon Rainforest, and for cultural visits as the lodge is closer to native communities. There are also more opportunities for canoeing from the main Tahuayo Lodge, such as to Tabano Lake to glimpse the unusual horned screamers and caiman, as the Tahuayo Lodge is very close to flooded forest (tahuampa ecosystem). Although the wildlife is of higher diversity at the ARC, from the Tahuayo Lodge you can hike into varzea forest to see pygmy marmosets, owl monkeys, yellow-crowned brush tailed rates, wire-tailed manakins, barber bees, and it’s also possible to see black tamarins, saddle-backed tamarins, and trogons.

The guides at the Tahuayo Lodge are highly regarded by Amazon Rainforest tourists for their knowledge of the Amazon, but also for their warm personalities which contributes to the lodge’s consistently high ranking by visitors and researchers alike.

Tahuayo Lodge Tour Review (July 2nd to July 16th 2014)

After being collected from the airport in Iquitos, I met with my guide and was taken straight to the Tahuayo Lodge office where I met with other tourists who had recently arrived. We were given a lunch pack and shortly afterwards began a 4 hour boat trip to the Tahuayo Lodge. This was not before taking photographs at a few iguanas that have set themselves up in a nearby tree just outside the office. The boat trip was an interesting experience in itself as you voyage down the famous Amazon River. On the trip you can see locals in their fishing boats and stand a chance of seeing pink dolphins. We did see these pink dolphins on the trip back to Iquitos from the lodge, but to photograph these animals takes a lot of luck and patience.

After arriving at the Tahuayo Lodge, we were greeted by other Tahuayo Lodge staff and our bags were kindly taken to our rooms. We were sat down in the dining room and given a brief run down on what to expect for our days in the rainforest, and we were informed about meal times, WiFi access, and lodge rooms and facilities. This is also the time when our guides asked us for our interests and if there is anything specific we would like to do while in the rainforest. We were given time to relax to familiarize ourselves with our new jungle home and it wasn’t long before we started our first activities.

Marmoset at the Tahuayo Lodge office

Activities at the Tahuayo Lodge and ARC consist of an optional morning excursion before breakfast (leaves at 6am) to either view birds in canoe or motor boat, or a short hike where you stand a chance of seeing monkeys and other animals as they wake. You then return for breakfast at 7am before one of your two main daily excursions. The excursions depend on which of the lodges you are at (either the main Tahuayo Lodge or ARC). After your excursion, you return for lunch at 1pm, are given time to relax, and then you head back out for the other main excursion to return for dinner at 7pm. I find I enjoyed alternating between either canoe, motor boat or hike to avoid tiring out. After dinner, which is usually accompanied by friendly conversation with other guests, you have a choice of a night hike scouting for creepy crawlies or a boat trip to find caiman crocodiles. The boat trips are a fantastic way to relax and I highly recommend the night time boating excursions as to see the milky way in such stunning detail is a worthy experience in itself.

On a trip to terra firme (high ground), you will leave for the whole day and have lunch picnic-style at the destination. You will be scouting the area to find the famous poison dart frogs. The excursion to see these beautiful and attractive frogs is not to be missed. Of course, on the boat journeys to all of the destinations your guide will be scouting the area to find wildlife in the trees. Wildlife you may see from the boat, as I did myself, includes sloths, many colorful birds like Blue and Yellow Macaws and Toucans, Monkeys, and if you’re lucky, other inhabitants like Tamanduas and Tayra.

Tamandua at the Tahuayo Lodge office

For the braver few, Survival is offered (usually on a 1 or 2 night experience) where you put yourself to the test to live out in the Amazon Rainforest under instruction from your highly trained and experienced guide. I decided to opt for the camping trip instead. To wake up with the sound of Howler Monkeys and indeed to hear the wonderful nocturnal rainforest sounds is a wonderful experience.

Given the biodiversity available at the lodge combined with the knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff, the Tahuayo Lodge continues to be one of the most recommended tours in the Amazon Rainforest. The lodge is comfortable, rooms are cleaned regularly, but is rustic in appearance, built in a traditional style for the region.

To put the wildlife opportunities in perspective, here is a list I composed of a few species (the ones I can remember) from a 14 day tour of the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve:

Wildlife Seen at Tahuayo Lodge in July 2014 (over 14 days)

  • Green Iguana
  • Red Titi Monkey
  • Slate hawk
  • Blue and Yellow Macaws
  • Ringed Kingfisher
  • Social Spiders
  • Caracara
  • Tamandua
  • Colorful Flatworm
  • Leaf Cutter Ants
  • 2 Toed Sloth
  • 3 Toed Sloth
  • Army Ants
  • Fer de Lance
  • Goliath Frog
  • Pink Toed Tarantula
  • Goliath Tarantula
  • Horned Screamer
  • Hoatzin
  • Spectacled Caiman
  • Long Nosed Bat
  • Black Caiman
  • Poison Dart Frogs
  • Neotropical River Otter
  • Giant River Otters
  • Saddleback Tamarin
  • Moustached Tamarin
  • Squirrel Monkey
  • Monk Saki Monkey
  • Blue Morphos
  • White Winged Swallows
  • Tropical Kingbird
Ash - Author & Travel Advisor About the Author: Ash Card is a frequent visitor to the Amazon and has a passion for helping visitors get the best experiences from tropical destinations. Ash has interests including tropical destinations, rainforests and wildlife. Feel free to contact Ash for tour help in the Amazon. When not helping tourists with tours and info, Ash can be found salsa-ing the night away or posing near waterfalls.
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