Peru: Best Amazon eco lodge for family holidays
Andean Trails' Tom gives expert travel advice about not one, not two, but three Amazon lodges in Peru, all perfect in their own ways for family adventure holidays.
Each lodge has different attractions for different types of family travel styles.
First lodge – Posada Eco-Lodge
Where?: Posada Eco-Lodge
Ideal for?: Families travelling with younger children, older relatives
Why?: Short travel times, activities
For kids: Rainforest tattooing, community visit, night walks, piranha fishing
For adults: Massages, Sunset cruise, wildlife
Considering its relative proximity to Puerto Maldonaldo, Posadas offers great wildlife spotting opportunities and plenty to keep families occupied.
It takes about an hour to travel upstream to Posadas, with chances to see macaws and the giant rodents, capybara, en route.
As a short 3-4 day stay, Posada is the perfect introduction to the Amazon, and the native Esa Eje Community has run this project for almost 25 years now.
Kids will love trying to fish piranha in the Tres Chimbadas Lake while trying to spot Giant Otters, caiman or cheeky monkeys. Guided night walks with UV lights picking out scorpions and spiders is also a winner with adults and children.
Many of the activities on offer take place close to the lodge. Climbing the canopy tower to get an overview of the Amazon rainforest at sunset is an unforgettable experience.
Perhaps relaxing with a massage and a cool drink while watching hummingbirds flit around is more your style.
In my short stay I saw monkeys, macaws at an active clay lick (a first for me!), aguti and capybara, as well as the otters, kingfishers, hoatzin and a black caiman – not to mention a deer right next to my room.
Lodgings are comfortable, with mosquitos nets that the staff set up for you, private bathroom with warm showers. All rooms are open to the forest, but surprisingly few mosquitoes and insects get into the room, just a few moths in my time.
Second lodge – Refugio Amazonas
Where?: Refugio Amazonas
Ideal for?: Families with teenagers, active children or more time to travel upstream
Why?: Wide range of adventure activities
For the active: Kayaks, bikes, paddle boarding, hikes
For the scientist: Camera and light traps, lectures, help with research, clay licks
The buildings feature a very similar in set-up to Posadas in terms of quality of accommodation, food, furnishings etc.
However, here you will find more scientific research going on because the lodge is a further two hours upstream - allow 2-3 hours travel upstream from Puerto Maldonaldo.
For active families, Refugios Teen trip is perfect as there are many activities available here: kayaking, biking, paddle boarding, canopy climbing and many more to enjoy with the resident guides.
This can be combined or tailored with more scientific elements, as the lodge has several resident researchers collecting data on the forest.
Learn about the camera traps that are helping to track more wild animals than ever before, and get involved in helping the researchers, too – insects, mammals, birds and plants all need tracking.
People also come here in the hope of seeing jaguar, more macaws (many!) and parrots as well as up to five species of monkey, sometimes all of them in one day.
Third lodge – Tambopata Research Centre
Where?: Tambopata Research Centre
Ideal for?: Wildlife, adventure, luxury rooms
Why?: As far upstream as you can go, pristine rainforest, new luxury rooms
For all: Resident macaws, lots of wildlife, jaguar spotting
Tambopata Research Centre (TRC) is a 6-8 hour boat ride upstream, and so you need to be prepared for the long journey.
Most people can break it up with a night or two in Refugios Amazonas en route.
For wildlife fans it is well worth the ride to TRC as there is such a high density of wildlife here.
TRC has also just started to offer new luxury lodging. Set back from the main lodge, from some rooms you can watch monkeys while taking a soak in a bath on your own private terrace!
This lodge is really for people with a specific interest in wildlife and/or getting away with it, or for a family looking for a top-end, relaxing room in the middle of nowhere in which to relax and watch the jungle from your room.
There are plenty of hikes to enjoy as well as lovely lookout points for sunsets.
All lodges have:
- Electricity, usually 0300-0600, 10-2 and 5-10 (approx.)
- Hot showers and free bio-degradable products, towels and flannels
- Bar and cocktails
- Gift shop, boutique
- Payments by credit card for drinks and gifts
- Boots and brollies for everyone to use in rainy/muddy conditions.
- Buffet style meals with tea, coffee and fruit on tap 24 hours a day.
- Excellent guides and wildlife