While writing a guidebook of Peru I was quite fortunate in that I was able to visit a variety of Amazon jungle lodges. Most are found in Peru, Brazil, Venezuala, and Ecuador with a few others in neighboring countries. Almost all are a great experience and give you insight into the flora and fauna that few get the pleasure to see.
Peru’s Explorer’s Inn is a fantastic Amazon jungle lodge, and the only lodge in South America that actually sits within the boundaries of the Tambopata National Reserve in Southeastern Peru.
The lodge/research station is comfortable, although not quite as luxurious as some of the others I have visited such as in Brazil and Ecuador. It has been open since 1975 and been the site to countless studies, documentaries, and happy tourists. The emphasis at Explorer’s Inn truly focuses on wildlife viewing. They really concentrate on encountering nature at its best and make sure their young guides know what to look for.
Seven bungalows surround one central building that includes the kitchen, dining room, bar, library, research room, and lounge area. Thirty-seven kilometers of trails run throughout the reserve, including to an ox bow lake that is home to a family of Giant River Otters.
The lodge also provides access to the Colpa de Guacamayos and other macaw clay licks, which are perhaps some of the most exhilarating wildlife sites one could ever see. On average most visitors will get the chance to encounter bird life such as macaws, caimans, many interesting insects, and perhaps a monkey or two. A chart in the dining room keeps track of which animals were spotted on the grounds and when. The results are quite stunning. Lots of strange and beautiful species are marked down quite frequently. Even some of the big cats like jaguars tend to be seen about once every few weeks.
Many records have been broken here. More species of birds (nearly 600 in all) have been spotted here compared with any other place of similar size on the planet. An incredible number of butterflies have been recorded here as well.
If you get the chance, visit their offices in Cusco and Puerto Maldonado, or just visit their site.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.