During our visit to the Iquitos region, our amazing and talented travel agent, Christian Arteaga booked a few days for us to stay at Amak Lodge. It is located some distance from the jungle city, and you can only reach it by a combination of boat rides and walks. I asked before hand if there is an alternative options as I wanted to save my parents some walking in the sweltering heat, and they made a plan with one of the little moto-trucks that could ferry them and our luggage over land while i enjoyed a walk.
All the supplies including fresh water and ingredients gets carried in to the lodge this way, so it is quite understandable that the lodge is self sustaining to a large extent. The only power is by electrical generator, which only runs in the day and early evening, and lights in the cabins are provided by solar charged battery packs.
The lodge itself is on a side arm of the river and really a place full of magic. The cabins are really comfortable, though simple, and the open air communal dining area and lounge is a lovely place to spend some relaxing hours in between the exciting excursions. Meals are made by the chef on site of local ingredients, most of it grown on site.
During our site, knowledgeable English speaking guides took us on a variety of excursions. These included a walk in the forest to learn see the magnificent plant life and ancient trees. Another interesting excursion was to go to a eco-museum where a group of youngsters are preserving the knowledge of the forest people by learning the value of the different plants, and some of the older customs, like playing with the bush telegraph, a sort of drum that was used to communicate, and shooting with a bow and arrow. Visitors are encouraged to try their hands at these as well, so the experience is really special
Possibly the most talked about excursion, at least when we sent the photos back home, was our visit to La Isla de Los Monos.
It is a rescue centre for monkeys that was trafficked and raised as pets, where they can roam free and learn to be wild again. Nearly all of them have a sad story, because often the mother of a young monkey is killed in order to capture the baby. They become clingy and attached, and incredibly cute, but then they get naughty and end up unwanted. A lot of them are also raised on human junk food, so their health usually suffers before they make it to the rescue centre. Visitors are asked to remove all sunscreen and bug protector, and we soon noticed why, because the little guys love to hang onto you and lick you. Its more cute than gross, I promise and a wholly remarkable experience. There is also a few parrots that have been rescued, and even a sloth. We missed the sloth, he was blending into some trees when we were there.
An integral part of our jungle adventure was getting around by means of peque-peque, a little motorised canoe, skillfully navigated by a local driver who knows exactly where the shallows are. We visited in the “dry” season, which meant that at some places the river was so shallow we had to get out and walk for the hull of the boat not to get stuck. However it all afforded us the opportunity to take in the majestic beauty and birdlife of the amazon basin.