Puerto Maldonado and Tambopata are very popular among those who love to explore the jungle, and the area is one of the most visited destinations after Cusco by foreign tourists.
There are a few very good lodges there and we chose Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, which is part of one of the best Peruvian hotel chains in the Cusco/Puerto Maldonado area.
After picking up my family in Cusco (yes, there are direct ﬂights from both Cusco and Lima), we arrived in Puerto Maldonado where we met our guide. On our way to the port where our boat was waiting for us, we stopped for refreshments at a butterﬂy farm, which is owned by Inkaterra. There we were able to do our check-in, before boarding a boat to take us to the lodge, another 40-50 min. down the river.
Paradise was waiting for us, as we were about to start a 5-day/4-night stay in a beautiful cabin without TV, Internet or cellular connection. Our kids may have been a little disappointed (read: shocked) to begin with, but they quickly adapted to a life without electronics and instead enjoyed the amazing wildlife that this part of the jungle offers its visitors.
Besides relaxing and enjoying the quietness, the flor and fauna, the interesting food and delicious juices made from star fruit, cocona and lemonade from big green jungle lemons, we had many excursions ahead of us.
The ﬁrst day early in the morning we went canopy walking 30 meters above the ground to see birds and the jungle from above. From the seven bridges, of which the longest is almost 41 meters, we had an incredible view and at the end of the canopy walk the Inkaterra lodge offers the opportunity to stay for one or more nights in a small tree house (for two people) or to have dinner in a specially built dinning room (max. four people), so if you are not afraid of heights, this is a great experience to write home about.
In the afternoon we checked out the wetlands around the hotel and saw both monkeys and lots of parrots. Iʼm not a big bird watcher, but being around people who love birds, I started to appreciate these beautiful creatures and the world they live in.
Of course our kids at some point got bored with all the birds and plants, so on day three, the hotel had organized a treasure hunt. This was the moment where mom and dad could have taken the morning off, but I decided to follow them and see what kinds of activities were included and to make sure the kids had fun. There was no reason to worry about them and yes, they had fun. They drew birds and plants, tested their skills with a bow and arrow, planted brazil nuts, made lemonade with lemons from the jungle (which was delicious), made pizza and much more.
Day four was full of highlights to remember. First, we got up at 5 a.m. and went to one of the national parks, where we had to walk for about 3 km from the main river to continue in a smaller boat to enter an amazing lake, where we saw caimans (similar to alligators), birds, monkeys and turtles, which our camera loved. That morning alone we shot more than 300 photos. It was a really easy trip that I recommend to everyone that even my kids enjoyed.
In the afternoon we repeated the canopy walk and at 5 p.m. we joined a group watching the sunset, which was held at a beach near by. That was amazing, as the clouds were shaped like animals and the sun made them look like ﬂoating pieces of art, while we were sipping Chilcanos and having snacks on the beach.
To end a perfect day, I had one of the best massages in my life and I slept like a baby.
I really didn’t want to leave the jungle, but all good things comes to an end and on day five it was time to say goodbye to the Inkaterra lodge that had served as home for us.
Everything was great and I highly recommend that you visit this part of the world to learn more not only about Peru, but the jungle, nature, animals, ﬂowers, fruits and much more.
Photos: by Virginia Velasco