Day 1 Ceiba Tops Jungle Lodge (L,D) Early morning private transfer to the Lima airport for flight to Iquitos, deep in the Amazon Basin. Reception by local guide at the Iquitos airport, brief city orientation and transfer to the port. Twenty-five mile journey down the Amazon River to Ceiba Tops, where rooms with air conditioning, private bathrooms, hot water and electriciy provide the comforts of home in the rainforest. Afternoon oritentation hike in the beautiful primary rainforest reserve surrounding the lodge. After dinner there may be local flute or guitar music at the El Toucan Bar or the guides are always ready to relate some of the many legends of the Amazon forest.
Day 2 Ceiba Tops Jungle Lodge / Explorama Lodge / Ceiba Tops (B,L,D) Early morning birding excursion. After breakfast board boats to continue down the Amazon River to the rustic Explorama Lodge and hike the “Bushmaster Trail” where scientific studies by the Missouri Botanical Gardens have found the world’s highest biodiversity of trees per square hectare. Continue on to visit a small village of Yagua Indians where your guide will explain their culture and how it has been affected by the passing of time. There will be an opportunity to trade for or purchase some of their local crafts and for a demonstration of the use of the blowgun which some of the Yagua elders still use for hunting. After lunch walk along a local Amazon River trail stopping at a “ribereños” house, corner store and sugar cane rum factory. Return by boat to Ceiba Tops.
Day 3 Ceiba Tops Jungle Lodge (B,L,D) Early morning birding. Morning boat excursion to “Monkey Island”, a private reserve where more than five species of tropical primates including small tamarins, saki, titi and large woolly monkeys are protected. Afternoon boating excursion in search of sloth, found in Cecropia trees at the water’s edge, and the two species of freshwater river dolphin, pink and grey, found in Amazonian waters. Weather permitting, enjoy a beautiful Amazonian sunset on the river.
Day 4 Ceiba Tops Jungle Lodge(B,L,D) Early morning departure from Ceiba Tops by boat to the narrow motorcar crossing connecting the Amazon and Napo Rivers to continue by boat to ExplorNapo Lodge for breakfast. Hike to the spectacular Canopy Walkway spanning over 500 meters (one-third of a mile), connected by tree platforms, and reaching a height of over 35 meters (115 feet) but accessible without any type of climbing skill or equipment. After lunch, visit the “ReNuPeRu” Ethnobotanical Garden where over 240 medicinal plants are cultivated by a local shaman who will explain the nature of Amazonian natural healing and the uses of some of the plants. Return to Ceiba Tops in time to enjoy the pool or hammocks before dinner.
Day 5 Ceiba Tops Jungle Lodge (B,L) Your choice of morning walking or boating excursion to further enjoy the rainforest and Amazon River. Afternoon transfer to Iquitos then on to the airport for return flight to Lima and ongoing flight out of Peru. Adventures to Peru services end today in the Lima Airport.
* Lunch (if flight departure permits)
Climate & Seasons
A unique feature of the rainforest surrounding Iquitos is its lack of a specific rainy or dry season. There is a high water period from December through May which is caused by the melting of snow as the Andean summer begins and from the rainy season in the upper jungle. The low water period begins in June and ends with the rising waters in November. While the water level can fluctuate more then 45 feet, the warm and humid climate remains relatively constant throughout the year, giving this area its botanical category of “Everwet Tropical Forest”. Normal daytime highs are 88°F and nighttime lows are 72°
What to Pack
Keep your baggage to a comfortable minimum. Without fail, bring a valid passport. Pack light, drip-dry cotton or safari clothing, including one long-sleeved shirt and sweater. Hiking shoes or sneakers, (jungle trails are frequently muddy), plastic raincoat or poncho. Include insect repellent, toilet articles, sunglasses, sunscreen, a wide brimmed hat, binoculars and small flashlight.
And finally, don’t forget a camera with plenty of film or memory card to capture the memories of your Amazon Adventure. For those who want to stay in touch with home, sorry but no Internet here. Electricity is available, though, between 6:00pm-10:00pm. Most current electronics (e.g. laptops, cameras, cell phones, IPOD) can be safely charged using 220V current which is what we offer, but please check your owners manual first!
Each guest may take 15Kg or 33lbs of luggage with them on the boats to the lodges. If your luggage weighs more than this amount, plan on storing the extra in Iquitos at the office in our secure storage area until return.
Amazon Jungle Check List
ORINGINAL PASSPORT / ANDEAN IMMIGRATION CARD
YELLOW FEVER CERTIFICATE
HIKING BOOTS OR TENNIS SHOES, SANDALS
THIN CLOTHES, LONG SLEEVE, TIGHT WEAVE, LIGHT IN COLOR
1 POLAR FLEECE JUST IN CASE
SUNSCREEN, HAT, SUNGLASSES
WATER PROOF RAIN PONCHO, ZIP LOCK PLASTIC BAGS
CAMERA, FILM (ELECTRICITY AVAILABLE IN THE EVENINGS FOR RECHARGING BATTERIES)
1 LT. BOTTLE OF WATER (DRINKING WATER PROVIDED)
PERSONAL ITEMS, MEDICATION
BOOKS, I-POD (OPTIONAL)
ALCOHOL, SPIRITS (OPTIONAL)
$ FOR EMERGENCY FUND (DOLLARS AND SOLES)
$ FOR BEVERAGES NOT INCLUDED (IE SOFT DRINKS, BEER)
$ FOR GRATUITY FOR GUIDES AND STAFF (OPTIONAL)
Though commonly viewed as a launching pad for exploring Peru’s northern Amazon, Iquitos is swanky and interesting enough to detain travelers for a day or two. It is Peru’s quintessential jungle town and, at nearly half a million inhabitants, is probably the largest city in the world that cannot be reached by road. Hemmed in by muddy rivers and flooded rainforest on all sides, Iquitos’s only bridge to the outside world are planes and cargo boats.
Because of its isolation, terrorism never reached here in the 1980s and 1990s. Perhaps as a result, Iquitos has a relaxed, laid-back vibe that seems much closer to Bangkok than, say, Cusco. The air is thick and steamy, and life revolves around the mile-wide Amazon River, lazy and torpid after collecting water from all of Peru’s major rivers.
People here look Asian, because they are descendants of a dozen different Indian groups, along with waves of Italian, Philippine, and Chinese immigrants. The women have beautiful dark hair and limit their clothing to flip-flops, shorts, and tank tops. The men dress much the same, but forego shirts altogether.
The weather in Iquitos, even during the October–May rainy season, is predictable. The sky dawns blue most days but by late afternoon fills with the clouds of convection storms, which release sheets of cool rain. Between mid-December and June, the Amazon rises a staggering 15 meters (50 feet), carrying silt and fallen trees brought down from the Andes.
The first outsider to see this area was Spanish explorer Francisco de Orellana, who made an epic descent down the Amazon River in 1542 and contacted the area’s ethnic groups, which included the Iquitos, Cocamas, Huitotos, Boras, Ticunas, and Orejones. Eventually the Spaniards left the area to the Jesuits, who founded a settlement here in the 1750s but were expelled from Latin America shortly thereafter.
Iquitos had shrunk to only 100 inhabitants when Italian explorer Antonio Raimondi visited in the mid-19th century and described it as a “small Indians’ quarters.”
The ramshackle settlement, however, exploded into one of Peru’s richest cities thanks to the 1880–1912 rubber boom. Monuments to this time, now badly faded, include an iron house designed by Gustav Eiffel in the Plaza de Armas and various Italianate mansions with lavish mahogany interiors and outer walls decorated with Sevillean tiles.
The flip side of the opulence was the oppression and abject poverty of the Indian and mestizo rubber tappers, who lived in virtual enslavement and frequently died of malaria and other diseases. The floating city of Belen, which some call the Venice of South America and others a slum, is also a leftover from that era.
Iquitos is the pioneer of Amazonian tourism, which began here in the 1960s, and is the base for a variety of lodges, cruise ships, and adventure agencies. Other industries include lumber, agriculture, the export of exotic fish and birds, and barbasco, a poisonous plant used by the natives to kill fish that is now being used as an insecticide.
1. Customs Dock: Official government Port of Entry since 1864 for all vessels entering the lower Amazon from the Atlantic Ocean, and upriver ports such as Pucallpa.
Lumber Mills: Small local plants processing Mahogany and Spanish cedar for domestic use and export, mainly to the U.S. and Canada, are scattered along the river near Iquitos. Also you may observe plywood plants producing core plywood from Lupuna (Ceiba sp.), a huge canopy tree with long fibers, not appropriate for other uses.
Mouth of the Nanay River: On your upriver return, if the water is unruffled, you’ll note the “meeting of the waters” a blending of the Amazon’s brown and Nanay’s black waters, often giving the appearance of marble.
Upriver from Explorama Inn: The Timicuro / Mazan Road, a rustic 3 Km. narrow concrete lane, shortens travel between Iquitos and the upper Napo River by at least one day.
2. Indiana: A mission town with schools and a small hospital. Near here several forest trails connect the Amazon and Napo Rivers.
Yanamono Channels: Here for the first time you leave the Amazon’s main channel to reach EXPLORAMA LODGE at Yanamono, opposite the large island of the same name. Ocean-going vessels travel on the far side of the island.
3. Sapo Playa: A small village often visited by guests interested in seeing the typical daily life of those dwelling along the Amazon.
4. Francisco de Orellana: A small village with a monument to the first European to discover the Amazon River in 1542 during Orellana’s historic trip from Ecuador to Spain.
5. Sucusari Creek: At this point you leave the Napo River to enter this beautiful stream where the EXPLORNAPO is located.
Distances of Iquitos to (Km): Ceiba Tops – 40km (25 Miles) Explorama Lodge – 80Kms (50 Miles) ExplorNapo Lodge – 157Kms (98 Miles) Mouth of the Amazon – 3700Kms (2300 Miles) Source of the Amazon – 1770Kms (1100 Miles)