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If you don't want to do a river cruise, the best way to see the Peruvian Amazon near Iquitos is to visit one of the many jungle lodges in the area. Some of them are only a few kilometers from Iquitos and can be visited overnight, but most of them are more remote and visits can last several days.

The lodges offer similar activities: guided walks, shamanic tours (including use of the hallucinogenic ayahuasca), canoe rides, swimming, fishing, bird watching, visits to local communities and more. You can establish your activities with the lodge guides upon arrival. Although they offer similar activities, the lodges differ from one another in several respects, including quality of naturalist guides and shamans, cost, comfort and location.

If comfort is important to you--if you want to see the Amazon without really roughing it--you may want to check out one of the more luxurious lodges near Iquitos. But if what you really want is to see animals like monkeys, toucans and maybe even jaguars, you'll want to select a very remote jungle lodge. Iquitos is a city of a half-million inhabitants, and there are not many wild animals within about 80 kilometers or so. Costs generally reflect levels of comfort, and you can expect to pay significantly more for a luxury lodge.

A little bit of bargain shopping can go a long way: there is a lot of competition among the lodges, and you can often find discounts and special rates, especially if you're in a group or can make last-minute plans. Be sure to do your last-minute lodge shopping in the reputable agencies in Iquitos; guides who apporach you on the street or in the airport are most likely con artists and should be avoided at all costs.

Paseos Amaz贸nicos has more than 25 years experience in taking tours in and around Iquitos and the Amazon rain forest. It is the proprietor of three Amazon lodges: Amazonas Sinchicuy Lodge, Tambo Yanayacu Lodge and Tambo Amaz贸nico Lodge. It also owns three-star the Hotel Ambassador in Iquitos. All three lodges are within 200 kilometers of Iquitos.

The closest one, Amazonas Sinchicuy Lodge (20 miles/32 kilometers from Iquitos) has facilities for handicapped guests; the others do not. Because it is so close to town, Amazonas Sinchicuy is a good option for those who only want to spend one or two nights in the jungle. It features 32 rooms.

On the banks of the Yanayacu River (38 miles/61 kilometers from Iquitos), the Tambo Yanayacu lodge is another good option for those wishing to spend some quality time in the jungle. Smaller than Amazonas Sinchicuy, Tambo Yanayacu has only ten rooms (each has private bathroom) and space for 30 guests. The Tambo Yanayaco is known for being near a population of huatzines, a bizarre, turkey-like bird that has a hook-like talon on its wings that allows it to climb trees.

The remote Tambo Amaz贸nico Lodge (75 miles/121 kilometers from Iquitos) is for the more adventurous traveler who wants to get as deep into the jungle as possible. Because of its location, it is not possible to do short trips there; the shortest program is four days/three nights. More rustic than the others, Tambo Amaz贸nico features shared bathrooms, a communal dining room, kerosene lighting and dorm-style rooms. Visitors to this remote lodge are more likely to see wildlife than visitors to the other two lodges.

All three lodges feature similar activities: guided jungle walks, birdwatching, river trips, visits to local communities, etc. The activities are generally included in the price of a multi-day trip to the lodge, although tips are extra. Paseos Amaz贸nicos also organizes different expeditions and day trips from Iquitos. There are multi-day visits that go to one or more of its lodges, as well as city tours of Iquitos and day trips to areas of interest in the region.

Other Hotel pages in Iquitos that may be of interest: Iquitos Hotels,

25 Nov 2008

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