The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
Saint Augustine
Refugio Amazonas

As my group of 12 tourists and two guides strode single file through the lush, dense jungle, my forward view generally consisted of the backpack of the person in front of me. Suddenly the narrow path ended. I stepped into a broad expanse and stared up at what reminded me of the bow of a massive cargo ship. I quickly realized that this was the spacious two-story open sided common area of the Refugio Amazonas lodge where I would spend the next two nights.

Since my early morning wakeup, I'd had bus ride, a plane ride, another bus ride, a boat ride and the short walk through the jungle. So I was more than ready to sit down on something that wasn't moving. The casual seating arrangement on the main level fit the bill.

After a refreshing glass of lemonade and a brief orientation, we were pointed in the general direction to our assigned rooms. I reached my room after a short walk down the elevated boardwalk. Where I expected to find the door to my room, I found only heavy white drapes. I pushed aside the drapes and entered the room.

To my amazement, one of the four walls was missing. One side of the room was completely open to the dense rainforest. There was no wall, no screen, no drapes, and no windows. As an avowed nature lover, I braced myself for a truly unique lodging experience.

The Refugio Amazonas is built with wild cane, clay and tropical mahogany, all traditional materials used in native communities throughout the Amazon. The entire roof is constructed with high quality crisneja palm fronds. The architectural concept succeeds in bringing guests in close contact with the rainforest.

The modern day eco-lodge is located on a 200 hectare (nearly 500 acres) private reserve on the buffer zone of the Tambopata National Reserve (TNR). The TNR is part of a 3.7 million acre reserve in southeastern Amazonian Peru created in 1990 by the Peruvian government working in partnership with local grassroots and international conservation organizations. The lodge is almost three hours from Puerto Maldonado, the nearest town, and offers an array of guide services for guests to learn about the rainforest and its inhabitants and how to protect them.

The lodge consists of three wings of eight rooms each connected by a boardwalk to the central common area. A bar in the center of the complex separates the long dining tables on one end from the sofa groupings on the other end. On the mezzanine level is another sofa grouping and hammock where guests can take a nap, read a book or enjoy a beautiful view
of the surrounding forest. Also on the first level is a small souvenir shop and massage center.

Our spacious 7 x 4 meter (23 x 13 feet) room was simple and sparsely furnished with three beds draped in gauzy mosquito nets, a nightstand for each bed and a bench running the length of the room.

The remaining three walls of the room were covered with cured wild cane stalks attached horizontally to interior wall supports. I quickly learned that even though the 2.5 meter (8 foot) walls dividing each room do provide visual privacy, there was virtually no sound privacy. I could easily hear my neighbors as they chatted softly, used the bathroom and moved about in the next room.

The cool water only bathroom was equipped with a sleek eco-friendly toilet and a shower enclosure. The enclosure consisted of a heavy clear vinyl shower curtain suspended over a shower tray with a rain type shower head. The same dried wild cane wall covering used in the bedroom provided precious lit
tle privacy in the bathroom. As I looked down at the open planked tropical mahogany floor boards, I made a mental note that any small object dropped on the bathroom floor would certainly end up on the ground beneath the building.

Additionally, I took note of the candles and kerosene lanterns in the opening between the bathroom and entrance way. They would be the sole sources of lighting in the rooms after sunset. Fortunately, I had a headlamp for additional illumination as neede

We had been told that a generator at the lodge provides electricity in the common areas from 12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM and again from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM for guests who need to recharge batteries.

At 7:00 PM three courses of Peruvian and international cuisine are served buffet style and consist of soup or appetizers, salad, main course and desert. With prior notifications the culinary staff will accommodate special dietary requirements. While the food was filling, I did not find it especially appetizing. Unlimited boiled, filtered, cooled drinking water was available in the room and at stations along the boardwalk outside the room wings.

As I extinguished the last candle then climbed under the mosquito net on my first night at the Refugio Amazonas, I realized just how dark it can be in the rainforest especially with a heavy cloud cover. With no light from either the candles or kerosene lanterns, I could not see my hand as I held it two inches from my eyes.

In the distance I heard the clash of thunder then suddenly a flash of lightning as it cut through the total darkness. For several minutes I starred into the darkness enjoying nature’s light and sound show while the heavy downpour refreshed the jungle foliage. As the storm subsided and I drifted off to sleep, the cacophony of parrot, toucan, macaw, cricket and other animal sounds reminded me that I was indeed deep in the Amazon jungle.

If you go

Refugio Amazonas is one of three Amazon lodges operated by Rainforest Expeditions. Each lodge offers an array of fascinating ecotourism experiences in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. To get there, you must fly to Puerto Maldonado from Cusco or Lima on daily commercial flights lasting 30 or 90 minutes respectively. From the airport you will be transported by truck or minibus to the infiermo River Port where you board a boat for the two and half hour trip to Refugio Amazonas. Refugio Amazonas is located ten minutes walking from the river.
Website Builder