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.
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.
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.
- 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