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“Bad weather led to a less enjoyable experience”
Review of Refugio Amazonas

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Refugio Amazonas
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed 7 May 2008

In ideal conditions, I'm sure the lodge would be excellent, but due to several minor problems, some weather-related, I can only give it a seven out of ten.

Positives
Staff were courteous, friendly and accommodating. Rooms were large and surprisingly nice. The food was excellent and plentiful during meal times, although it would have been nice to have more substantial snacks between meals. The lodge had lots of space to lounge about and the kids' playground looked pretty fun. Our guide was knowledgeable but didn't talk too much, which was nice. I really enjoyed the various trails we took, although I didn't see as much wildlife as I'd anticipated, and it was fun to walk around in the mud in the rubber boots provided by the lodge.

Negatives
On our first full day a the lodge, it rained pretty badly in the morning, so we had to retreat to the lodge and stay inside until the middle of the afternoon. The temperature dropped and half of the guests, having left all of their warm clothes back in Puerto Maldanado, were freezing. The lodge has virtually no indoor activities (just a couple books and some games with parts missing) so it was pretty boring having to stay inside.

On our second day, our guide decided that visiting the macaw clay lick wouldn't be worthwhile since the birds probably wouldn't be active due to the previous day's rain. We went to the mammal lick instead, but this meant more spare time in the lodge. After waiting at the mammal clay lick for 30 minutes, our guide revealed that some children had played in the clay lick the previous year so the animals had stopped visiting it! (Although they'd started coming back in the past month or so.) After lunch, we were supposed to spend the whole afternoon at the farm, but the boat was need to go pick up the owner of the lodge, so we could only go from 3:00 to 4:00. (I understand if an activity gets cut short because of the weather, but it's annoying when an activity that we've paid for is cut short so that the owner can get to the lodge a little earlier.) Then the boat was half an hour late picking us up, although we still got 45 minutes at the farm and our guide explained more about the fruits and the farm when we got back to the lodge. But that day, we were out of the lodge only from 9:00 to 11:30 and then 3:00 to 4:30. The water pump for the whole lodge broke that same day and wasn't fixed by the time we left the following morning. We were promised buckets of water to flush our toilets, but we never got them. I understand there's not much you can do if you're in the middle of the jungle and your water pump breaks, but I didn't feel that the lodge handled the situation very well. The only reason we got any information about the water situation and the promise of water for flushing was that someone is my group kept on asking about it.


There had been some animal droppings (from bats, I think) in our room since Day 1, and the after the housekeeper missed them twice (understandable, since the rooms are pretty dim) we asked to have them cleaned up. They were then cleaned up off our bench, but not off the floor. I didn't expect the rooms to be as clean as a hotel, but it's kind of gross to have droppings a metre from your bed and to step in them. I managed to find a broom and I just swept them into a pile.

Warnings and recommendations
The water in the showers is cold, not tepid.
There's lots of spare time in between activities and the only indoor diversion is the bar. Bring games and a book!
As far as I can tell from my trip, activities are often canceled.
Nothing will dry in the humidity and dry clothes will get damp if you leave them out. I kept my clothes dry by keeping them packed and in zip lock bags.
Bring one set of warm clothes, just in case.
You may want to pack snacks for in-between meals.
A headlamp will be more useful than a flashlight.

Overall, I had a good time a the lodge. I feel certain that had we not had the big rain with the chill that followed and had our activities not been cut short because the owner needed the boat, I would have had a really good time. And had the water pump not broken (or had we been provided water for the toilets) and had the bat droppings been properly cleaned from my room, I would have had a great time.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank Sunnybeam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 January 2008

This place is fantastic. We stayed for several nights in May 07 and had a great time. We had a guide, Omar, for the two of us and his knowledge of the plant and animal life was great - we thought he must be making it up but he would show us the species cards and he'd got it spot on everytime.

I like the outdoors but I'm not keen on snakes or creepy crawlies so although I really wanted to do this trip I was a little apprehensive (especially of the open rooms). There was no need to worry, the experience was magic, not scary in the least and a much bigger highlight for me than Machu Picchu.

We were out 2 times every day for several hours and on 2 of the days we did an extra trip - one night walk and caymen spotting by boat in the evening. If you have a chance to do a night walk, then take it, its so different from being out during the day.

The rooms and communal areas are great as is the food. The open sided room was a special touch and my pre-trip fears of being invaded by animals large and small were unfounded. The noise of the insects (?) at night was amazing - it makes you realise how loud silence can be! Lights go out at about 9.30pm and according to my partner I was asleep within seconds! We had a thunderstorm one night which did wake me (glad it did, it was great) but he rest of the time I got great sleep. Getting up at 4/5am was nowhere near as bad as it sounds, your breakfast's on the table waiting and pretty much all you need to do is
pull on your wellies and go! Mozzie netting is provided and rooms were
pristine. My best bits of advice:
i) don't worry about animals & bugs in your room - it didn't happen
ii) bring mosquito repellent
iii) try the cocktails at the bar

...and don't complain at the bar that they only have Peruvian wine when you really wanted Chilean - you're in the Amazon Rainforest. (Arghhh, don't know who they were, just their nationality!!)

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank cls_uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2008

This lodge had one of the most beautiful facilities I have ever stayed in for an ecolodge, however, their staff was noticeably sub-par. Most or all of their guides also happen to be scientists doing their own research in the area, and pay their lodging by doing tours for tourists like ourselves. Sadly, they were much more interested in their own research and seemed to loathe the clients who were paying exorbitant sums to stay in the lodge and fund their research. If you dont mind a little rude treatment and disdain from your guide, there is a lot to see here and a beautiful lodge to stay in.

  • Stayed: August 2007
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5  Thank Quizzo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 October 2007

We visited Refugio Amazonas during Oct 2007. We stayed for 3 nights 4 days.
Since the first and last day are used up for travel, you effectively have only 2 days and 3 nights. I would recommend the 3N/4D program, anything less than this would mean, missing a lot of fun!

Who should go there?
anyone who looves jungle
those who want to see animals and birds.
those who can walk/hike for 2-3 hours without complaining.
those who can live in non-resort type lodges!
those who can wake up at 4am everyday, go for hike and see animals.
those who can take a ice-cold shower!! (dont worry, its not that bad.. you just have to take bath immediately after you come back from a hike. dont wait to cool down)

what we liked best
1) great food. it was served at 5am, 1pm and 7pm.
you can get coffee and herbal tea at all times.
they also give you fruits (bananas, local fruits) if you are hungry in the middle.
2) nice bar. it was cozy.
prices are reasonable if you are used to US$$ . A beer costs 3-4$. a cocktail costs 4$. a bottle of wine (medium size) costs 7$
water costs 1$
3) love the location. its remote. and that means, you see more birds ( we saw lot of Macaws, capybara, lineated woodpeckers, caimans, toucans, flycatchers, ora pendolas, red howler monkeys, dusky titi etc.. and lastly we were lucky to see a juvenile jaguar)
4) we had a great guide, who spent every single waking moment with us. and was patient, and answered all our questions. and helped us see birds and animals
5) canopy tower - it amazing to be on top of this tower and see the jungle canopy. we spotted some macaws which flew very close to us. we even saw the blue and gold macaw.
6) service: it was a 5* service for a jungle location. people were nice, friendly and happy.

what could be better
1) lunch could be a bit early, we were usually tired and hungry by 12 (since we ate our bfast at 5am!!).
2) all rooms are divided by partition walls. and we could hear our neighbours. we didnt mind it, except that, the restrooms were sharing walls with other rooms and it was very awkward!!
they could just put a false ceiling only for the restrooms. that would help

  • Stayed: October 2007, travelled with friends
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2  Thank san_gee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2007

We spent 5 days at Regugio Amazonas which is the newest of the Peru Nature lodges. It was 3 hours up river from Puerto Maldonado. The lodge and 2 outer buildings (hotel rooms) were new, very clean. What we loved was the fact that our room was open to the jungle elements....a big picture window with no glass or screening. Amazingly enough few insects in our room. Two double beds in the room with mosquito netting and a large bathroom. Showers are cold water only, which I thought I would have a hard time with, but after a day of tramping through the jungle, the cold shower felt really good. There is no electricity with the exception of a power generator for a few hours in the evening for guests to charge their batteries. At night the lodge and rooms are lit by kerosene lamps and candles. All of our meals were very good and there was always plenty to eat. We went out at 4 a.m. two of the mornings to experience the bird canopy and to search for howler monkeys (which we did see - wow!) and we were gently awoken by a staff member lighting the kerosene lamps and calling our names. Our guide, Gilbert, was excellent. He was amazing....he would sense/hear something while walking through the jungle and bring our attention to the wildlife. Enjoyed the activities - walking through the jungle, pyrahna fishing, bird watching, etc. On our trip up to the lodge was saw cayman and some macaws. Unfortunately did not see any macaws at the clay lick.

An experience that we will remember for a long time, which was made better by the staff and our guide, Gilbert.

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Robin L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Refugio Amazonas

Address: Av Aeropuerto | La Joya km 6, Puerto Maldonado 084, Peru
Phone Number:
Region: Peru > Madre de Dios Region > Puerto Maldonado
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 64 Speciality Lodging in Puerto Maldonado
Price Range: $757 - $958 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Refugio Amazonas 3*
Number of rooms: 32
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Refugio Amazonas is the latest addition to Rainforest Expeditions Tambopata portfolio. As a charming 32 bedroom lodge, it is well placed immediately adjacent to the Tambopata National Reserve. Its location is ideal for stand alone three night experiences and for breaking the expeditions to and from Tambopata Research Center. Refugio Amazonas is built on a 200 hectare private reserve on the buffer zone of the Tambopata National Reserve. It is becoming integrated to the communities of Brazil nut extractors that surround it, attempting to extend the benefits of ecotourism to the families committed to sustainable forest use. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Refugio Amazonas Hotel Puerto Maldonado

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