Explore are delighted to announce that we have recently made an agreement with a new small jungle lodge run by an indigenous community in Tambopata, which we will now be using for our Inca Trail and Amazon tours from mid-May onwards
Offering you the opportunity to experience the Amazon in the company of people that live there, and learn about both the people and the wildlife of the region. This lodge will be used on Inca Trail Trek (PQA), Heights of Machu Picchu (PMA), Peru and the Inca Trail (PEA), and also Machu Picchu and Titicaca (PBA).
Nape Lodge has been built just inland from the banks of the Tambopata River, on land granted to the Amazon community of Infierno nearly forty years ago. This land is adjacent to the then newly formed Tambopata National Reserve. Many of the community’s families are descendants of the Ese Ejas, historically the dominant group of the region. Most live in the small town of Infierno about one hour’s drive from Puerto Maldonado, but others live more remotely. The community are mainly farmers, but some now also work in local tourism.
Over twenty years ago the community set 3,000 hectares of their land, primary forest, aside and banned all hunting, logging and farming. In partnership with a Peruvian Ecotourism company they opened an eco-lodge which they still co-run. Money generated by this partnership has helped build a secondary school for the community, provided support for the elderly and assisted students with the costs of further education. More recently the community decided to use their many years of experience of co-managing a lodge to build their own. Nape Lodge welcomed its first guests at the end of 2015.
The guest accommodation at Nape Lodge, although simple, is built to a high standard. The communal area and dining room is an impressive wooden structure with a high roof, thatched in traditional style with palm fronds. The 16 rooms are a short walk from here and are also built in local wood, blending in with the surrounding forest. They are all furnished with crafted wooden furniture and have en suite bathrooms equipped with a cold (lukewarm) water shower, basin with running water and flushing toilet. There is also a safety box for storing valuables and food. The design of the buildings allows the rooms to be naturally ventilated – the rooms are almost a metre off the ground and have high unsealed roofs that encourage air-circulation. Copying the successful style of their partners the community have also designed their rooms to maximise the feeling of being in the forest, and the fourth side of the room looking out to the forest is open - going to sleep to the sounds of the jungle is surprisingly relaxing. Good mosquito nets cover the beds (which are well off the floor). Electricity is provided by a generator twice a day so room lights can be used, batteries charged, etc. but a strong torch is also required.
Meals are all included during your stay and combine delicious local produce with culinary skill - One of the lodge’s cooks is a consultant for a well-known Lima restaurant. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the communal area and depending on the number of guests meals are either served at the table or self-serve style. Boiled, filtered drinking water is also available at all times, as is tea and coffee during the day. Fruit juices are provided with breakfast, and beers and soft drinks are also available to buy.
The lodge guides all have a recognised national guiding qualification and most are from the local area. During your stay they will help you explore the primary forest around the lodge, identify animals and plants, and learn about the local way of life. If available the community shaman will also tell you, through a translator, about the preparation of local medicines from jungle plants, and how the community used to hunt.
Keep your eyes open as you travel around by boat or walk through the forest as there is abundant wildlife in the area around the lodge. Animals often seen include: different types of monkeys (squirrel, red howler, brown capuchin, saddle backed tamarins, dusky titi), parrots and macaws (including scarlet macaws), hoatzin birds, caiman, giant river otters, agouti and different types of frogs, insects and butterflies.
A Typical Itinerary
Below is the usual itinerary for clients arriving to Nape Lodge but this may vary depending on local conditions and circumstances. A guide from the lodge will accompany you on all your excursions.
On arrival in Puerto Maldonado you will be met by a representative of Nape Lodge. First you will be taken to the lodge office in Puerto Maldonado. Here you can sort your luggage so that you only take what you need to the jungle. (Your main luggage can be left in a locked room at the office). You then travel by minibus to the community town of Infierno, this is mainly along unmade roads and it takes approximately an hour to reach the small port outside the town. From here you take a covered motorised canoe for approximately 30 – 40 minutes to Nape Lodge. Your guide will give you a typical jungle lunch to eat en route. The lodge is a short walk from the river bank.
On arrival, after a drink and being shown to your room, you will take your first walk into the local jungle. Here, close to the lodge a member of the local community (through a translator) explains how the Ese Eja made their bows and arrows for hunting – Although hunting in this area is now restricted, it is still part of their culture. You also get the opportunity to try aiming at a cloth target with a traditional bow if you wish. There is then time to relax and acclimatise to the local humidity.
After dinner you will return to the boat and search in the dark for caiman along the river banks and in the water – caiman eyes show red in torch light making them easier to spot. In this area there are mainly white caiman. If you are lucky you will also see some of the other nocturnal animals that roam the river banks.
This morning after an early breakfast you will travel by boat a short distance along the river to a local clay lick – a small clay cliff where macaws, parrots and other birds come to feed. It is thought that the salt from the clay detoxifies the fruit diet of the birds. You may be lucky enough to see the macaws circling above the site and then coming down to eat. They do this at several times in the day and are often at the site for 20 to 25 minutes. It can be very noisy.
Continuing along the river for approximately 20 minutes, the boat then docks at a small jetty on the other side of the river to the lodge. As you follow the path through forest to Tres Chimbadas Lago, an oxbow lake, keep your eyes and ears open particularly for macaws and the sounds of approaching monkeys. At the lake itself common sights include the striking and noisy hoatzin bird. There is a short cruise on the lake in a local style 'catamaran' and if luck is on your side you may also see black caiman and river otters. On returning to the lodge there is time to relax before lunch.
In the afternoon you will be taken on a tour of an area close to the lodge known as the ‘medicine garden’. Here you will learn from the local shaman (or another member of the community) through a translator, about how these plants are used to treat illnesses.
After dark you will be taken on a night walk along one of the lodge’s trails. Your guide will know where to look for the insects, frogs, bats and nocturnal birds that come out at night. If you are in the right place at the right time you may also see some nocturnal mammals including the night monkey.
An hour’s walk from Nape Lodge is a mammal clay lick. As with the parrots and macaws, some mammals eat clay from certain areas - however they are much more reserved about this and less predictable. Animals known to use this clay lick included peccaries, deer, agouti and tapir. On arrival you will settle down to observe the spot quietly from a distance and hope to be rewarded. On the way to and from the clay lick your guide will be looking out for other birds, animals and plant species of interest.
After lunch you will visit a local organic fruit farm down river from the lodge. It is owned by a family from the Infierno community who grow a variety of tropical fruit and vegetables – many of which you will experience over your time at Nape Lodge. The family will explain through a translator how they grow their crops in a sustainable way, and introduce you to some produce you may never have heard of. You will also gain an insight into local life. As the farm is beside rainforest you may also see and hear wildlife such as parrots close by.
Your Amazon adventure comes to an end today after breakfast and you travel back to Puerto Maldonado by covered motorised canoe and minibus.