Saturday, September 27, 2014

Amazon River International Raft Race

First edition of the Amazon River International Raft Race or Great River Amazon Raft Race (GRARR) was in 1999 as proposed by Michael Collins, an English expat living in Iquitos, to the Regional Tourism Authority to promote tourism in the Peruvian Amazon.

From 1999 to 2005 the route was along the Nanay River, starting the 2006 edition the race was extended to 180 km or 112 mi along the Amazon River, with teams of up to four people to build a log raft and paddle the total distance over three stages across three days.

The Great River Amazon Raft Race is considered as one of the greatest races to watch live by Lonely Planet and the World’s Longest Raft Race by Guinness World Records.

Some airlines and tour companies offers discounts for participants as Copa Airlines, Emperador Terraza hotel and Curassow Amazon Lodge.

29 July 1999
Santa Clara to Bellavista Nanay
19 km (12 mi)
Santa Clara to Bellavista Nanay
19 km (12 mi)


Santa Clara to Bellavista Nanay
19 km (12 mi)


Santa Clara to Bellavista Nanay
19 km (12 mi)


Nina Rumi to Bellavista Nanay
41 km (26 mi)

Nina Rumi to Bellavista Nanay
41 km (26 mi)


Nina Rumi to Bellavista Nanay
41 km (26 mi)


Isla Pescadores, Nauta (Amazon River) to Iquitos
180 km (112 mi)


Isla Pescadores, Nauta (Amazon River) to Iquitos
180 km (112 mi)


Isla Pescadores, Nauta (Amazon River) to Iquitos
180 km (112 mi)

Isla Pescadores, Nauta (Amazon River) to Iquitos
180 km (112 mi)

Isla Pescadores, Nauta (Amazon River) to Iquitos
180 km (112 mi)

 6 - 9 October 2011
Isla Pescadores, Nauta (Amazon River) to Iquitos
180 km (112 mi)

21 - 24 September 2012
Isla Pescadores, Nauta (Amazon River) to Iquitos
180 km (112 mi)

Isla Pescadores, Nauta (Amazon River) to Iquitos
180 km (112 mi)

18 - 21 September 2014
Isla Pescadores, Nauta (Amazon River) to Iquitos
180 km (112 mi)

More information

Monday, September 22, 2014

Iquitos, Manu or Tambopata? What is the best place for an Amazon Tour? - Part 1

You are planning a trip to Peru and you remember some of the must see in the country: the Museums and largest water fountains in Lima, the Nazca Lines in Ica, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley in Cusco, the world’s deepest canyons in Arequipa, the Titicaca Lake in Puno and the Amazon rainforest. A lot of information is available on Internet about these destinations, but when you search for the Amazon it can be confusing due there are two options in Peru to start a jungle tour: the Northern Amazon and the Southern Amazon.


Iquitos is the main city in this Peruvian region and the biggest city in world without road access, with around 450,000 inhabitants and the wealth past of the Rubber Boom from 1885 to 1914 is the main city in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest and one of the main ports in the Amazon river. Because is a big city pristine jungle areas are inside the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, both offering primary rainforest. Some of the highlights in Iquitos are:

  • Amazon River. The first source of the Amazon River starts in the Quehuisha mountain (Arequipa, Peru) and at Meeting of the Waters of the Marañon and Ucayali Rivers, close to Nauta city and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, around 100 km or 62 mi south Iquitos, the Amazon River takes its name. From Iquitos is easy and cheap to take a boat to navigate for some minutes or hours the longest river in the world. As Machu Picchu, the Amazon River is a must-do in your Peruvian experience. Moreover, the award as a World’s Wonder of Nature is in the Boulevard, a riverwalk located one block from the Main Square (Plaza de Armas) of Iquitos. The Southern Peruvian Amazon is part of the basin with some tributaries, but the real Amazon River does not flow there.
  • Nearby places and tribes. Sights as the Amazon river itself, the Momón river, the Nanay river, the Monkey Island, the Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm and Amazon Animal Orphanage, the caiman farm, the Manatees Rescue Center, Quistococha Zoo, indigenous tribes (remember nearby tribes as Boras and Yaguas perform a show for tourists, “real” tribes requires more than 10 day expedition), the Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve and four museums are some of the places that you may reach alone from 15 minutes to less than two hours per site, saving money using local transportations, without hiring an organized full-day tour or guide. Visiting those will be enough to keep you busy from 3 to 4 days. Perhaps the only requirement is to know some basic Spanish. Note that these places are in the city or secondary jungle with a lot of humans, hence there are not animals in the wild. If your focus is real nature, your require go a little far away from the city (see Tourist services and costs).
  • River cruises. Iquitos is the only river port in Peru to start a river cruise to the Amazon jungle and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. From affordable to luxury, these vessels are floating hotels that organize some excursions to the jungle near the river or stream they stop. Some cruise companies are Selva Viva by Latitud Sur, Delfin and Aqua Expeditions. Reservations in advance is necessary.
  • Tourist services and costs. The main conurbation in the Peruvian Amazon is base of many tour companies and lodges that offer expeditions to the jungle. Costs for most jungle excursions are lower than in Puerto Maldonado, but take note that most of the tour companies and lodges claim to be in pristine jungle but most are located on the banks of the Momón river, Amazon river or nearby places less than one hour by boat from Iquitos, densely populated areas without animals in the wild. Best ecosystems are more than 70 km (43 mi) south the city, onto secondary waterways, inside protected areas like the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Community Reserve or the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. Primary jungle areas require more than 3 hours trip from the city, 2 night stay and are more expensive. Besides, Iquitos has a varied offer of accommodations from backpackers to luxury hotels, river cruises, restaurants, museums, banks, ATMs and nightlife offer. Visitors at Iquitos feel as they are in an Asian destination, in part because the unique character of Iquitos (different to any other place in Peru), and the large number of competitors is the reason for being of many aggressive touts and drivers offering mainly low-quality services along streets and the airport in order to claim for a commision from some companies. See some reliable jungle lodges at The 5 Best Jungle Lodges In The Northern Low Peruvian Amazon For Wildlife Lovers.

  • A crossroads city. Iquitos is isolated by land, but it can be reached by air or river from Lima, Tarapoto and Pucallpa in Peru; from Tabatinga (Brazil), Leticia (Colombia) and Panama city. Some airlines offer affordable domestic flights as Peruvian Airlines (, Star Peru ( and Avianca ( International flights to Iquitos are operated mainly by LAN ( and Copa Airlines ( Also, after an arduous journey by river is possible to reach Ecuador, and combining with land transportations get some northern and southern Peruvian destinations as Chachapoyas, Chiclayo and Pucallpa.

On October 2nd 2014 we were publishing the Second Part of this article, with information on the Southern Amazon Rainforest and the Summary.

Monday, September 8, 2014

5 best jungle lodges in the Northern Peruvian Amazon for wildlife lovers

Harrier with fish at the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, Peruvian Amazon rainforest.
The Amazon Rainforest is the habitat of most of the wildlife in world. Peru, after Brazil, is the country with the second portion of the Amazon basin and is the country where the Amazon river itself begins at the Quehuisha mountain (Arequipa) and takes its name in the meeting of the waters between the Marañón and the Ucayali rivers, near to Nauta, located around 100 km or 62 miles south Iquitos, the main city and port in the Peruvian Amazon. The Peruvian Amazon is isolated so has one of the healthiest jungle habitats in South America. We have picked out five best and favorites ecolodges in Iquitos, located more than 70 km or 43 mi away from the city (primary jungle) to help you to take a good decision for a wildlife-focused trip.


Yvy Mara Ey Lodge, located in Yarina village inside the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve.
Based out in the Yarina village inside the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, around 100 km (62 miles) southwest of Nauta city; is administered by villagers of Yarina who are committed on the sustainable use and protection of the natural resources of the reserve and were trained and assisted by the Peruvian government and NGOs. Yvy Mara Ey (Kukama Kukamiria language for “The land without harm”) offers confortable cottages surrounded by primary and protected jungle, with electricity provided by solar panels until 10 pm, private bathroom, shower with cold water. Staff is very kind, helpful and knowledgeable about the Amazon flora and fauna because they grew in the Reserve. Rates are all inclusive. Ivy Mara Ey is the first Green Choice accredited lodge in all over Peru, a sustainable tourism certification. Minimum required is 4 days / 3 nights.
Information and rates: ;


Curassow Amazon Lodge is located in the Iquitos' virgin jungle.
To reach is necessary an almost 4-hour speedboat ride along the Amazon River. Surrounded by a lot of lagoons in a wildlife-rich corridor between the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve and the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve (a RAMSAR site and one of the largest government-protected areas in the Amazon), its location 190 km (85 miles) south Iquitos within protected and virgin rainforest is home of primates, river dolphins, caimans, tropical birds, butterflies, and more; ideal for wildlife enthusiasts. Their comfortable and secluded bungalows (cabins) starts from USD 105 per person per night, with private bathroom, shower and running water 24 hours, kerosene lights line walkways and limited electricity to avoid disturb the nature. Rate includes meals (full-board), transfers and activities led by local guides as canoe trips, jungle treks, camping, birding, piranha fishing and sport fishing. Minimum stays of 2 nights.
Contact them for more ;


ExplorNapo Lodge by Explorama is inside their private reserve in the Napo river.
This is one of the lodges operated by Explorama in Iquitos. It is located in a stream of the Napo River in the Sucusari Private Reserve, around 160 km (62 miles) northeast Iquitos, it has a one of the longest canopy walkways in the world with almost 500 meters-long and 40 meters-high, to observe closer birds, primates and spiders. Lodge is rustic but every room has private bathroom and mosquito nets. Also, WiFi is available. Varied and tasteful meals are included. They recommend a 5 day /4 night program. Rates start from USD 550 per person per night.
Further information: ;


Pacaya Samiria Amazon Lodge by Hatuchay is located in the buffer zone of the reserve.
Located on the left banks of the Marañón River, within the buffer zone of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve has eight confortable cottages built according to the local architecture with bathroom, shower and water. Most of their staff is descendants of the Kukama Kukamiria indigenous people and offer activities insider the reserve as walking, canoeing, fishing, birdwatching, visiting villages working on protecting natural resources and in October liberating baby taricayas (Podocnemis unifilis) into the river. Hatuchay is helping people of the nearby village of San Jorge in assess their Kukama culture and to be proud of it through their arts and language.
More information:


A sloth, one of the species found in primary jungle.

The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve is one of the largest government-protected areas in South America with its astonishing density of wildlife. Most of the authorized tour companies are based in Iquitos, but the small village of Lagunas, located on the left bank of the Marañón river opposite the reserve and 4 hours downstream from Yurimaguas city is a good place to start an expedition to this park. In Lagunas is possible to find two small local groups as ESTYPEL and Huayruro Tours that organize trips to pristine areas of the reserve for affordable rates, an option for those adventure and budget travelers in route to Iquitos by boat from Tarapoto and Yurimaguas. There are no banks in Lagunas, take cash in Yurimaguas. Most of the guides are Spanish-speaking. Required a minimum stay of 3 days and 2 nights suggested.
More information: ESTYPEL: | Huayruro Tours:

What do you think about these options?