We entered the Amazon through Iquitos, Peru. The city is a gateway to many Amazonian lodges and riverboat trips. I discovered the Explorama Lodge through recommendations on the web and their own web site. I was impressed with their prompt responses to my emails and their informative web site. There were a few other lodges that caught my eye, but Explorama had the options I was looking for and date flexibility I needed.
Our Explorama guide picked us up in the morning at our hostel in Iquitos. Being our first time heading to the Amazon, we were a bit apprehensive to give the guide our return plane tickets and passports. Having learned earlier that Explorama was considered to be one of the best jungle lodges and had very good reputation, we gave in to their request. There were two reasons why they wanted these items; one, so they could confirm our flights from Iquitos since there will not be any phones at the lodge, and two, as a security/safety issue. Passports would not be needed at the lodge and it was not uncommon for guests to misplace or accidentally destroy their documents. Coincidentally, two days before we arrived at the lodge, some guests lost their return tickets, so the Explorama people had to scramble around to help them get replacements. What I never did figure out was if this policy was just started when we arrived. Since they collect these documents, how did the guests lose them if Explorama collects them? Did Explorama lose them? Hmm…well… all of this turned out to be a non-issue, and we found they had our best interests in mind.
The boat trip from Iquitos was nearly 2 hours to our final destination. Explorama owns several lodges; Cieba Tops, which is more like a 4 star hotel only 25 miles outside Iquitos; Explorama Lodge (where we stayed) is about 50 miles down river from Iquitos; ExploraNapo Lodge (Canopy Walk location) is about 100 miles down river. Explorama owns other facilities, which you can read about on their web site. All offer trip experiences that you can customize depending on your own desires. This aspect I thought was wonderful because we were able to go and see what we wanted and not be dragged down by other less motivated visitors.
Segundo was our guide for our entire stay at the lodge. Since we visited in May, the lodge wasn’t very busy. We were the only guests at the lodge expect for one day a small party of 6 people stayed one night, but apparently it was too rustic for their tastes so they left the next day. I arranged this trip myself so we did not have to follow a tour group’s schedule nor deal with anybody complaining about the conditions or weather.
The Explorama lodge accommodations are simple and functional. Rooms are lined up in a long house with a thatched roof. The rooms are separated by a wall/partition but there isn’t a ceiling.
All beds came with mosquito netting and light-weight linens, and were comfortable enough for a good night’s sleep. There is a washbasin in the room, and cold-water showers are located in a separate nearby structure. And believe me, in this heat and humidity the cold showers were a welcome experience. They do keep filtered drinking water outside the rooms and there were no limitations on its use. Covered paths connected all buildings, which is helpful when it rains, otherwise you would be always sliding around in mud. There is a separate dining area connected to the kitchen which is one of the few areas that has screening around it to keep out the mosquitoes, well, at least most of them. Not far from our room there was a relaxing hammock area and separate outhouse huts for restrooms. A little rustic, but the sleeping quarters are not much different than the jungle homes we saw along the river.
I thought the whole set-up was appropriate and comfortable enough for an Amazon lodge, but if you must have a flushing toilet and air conditioning, you may want to stay in their Cieba Tops lodge.