Amazonia Expeditions are a renowned tour company, that provides jungle expeditions in the Amazon Rainforest, near Iquitos, in Peru. Located deep in the Peru Amazonas region, this tour operator actually has two lodges. These include the Tahuayo Lodge and the Amazon Research Center Lodge, which are both located on the remote Tahuayo River.
Amazonia Expeditions’ Tahuayo Lodge is their main lodge. It’s their most popular lodge for tourists to stay in when exploring the area. But, located deeper into the Peru jungle is the Amazon Research Center Lodge. It’s another brilliant lodge with, perhaps, an even more untouched and pristine location.
Would you believe that the Amazon Research Centre Lodge is nowhere near as well-known as the Tahuayo Lodge? Having the pleasure of visiting both lodges, Beck and I think the Amazon Research Center Lodge deserves a higher profile. Certainly, this lodge should get just as much praise as the Tahuayo Lodge.
In this review, we’ll talk about our experience at the Amazon Research Center Lodge. We’ll provide some more information about the lodge itself, the benefits of visiting it and whether it’s worth your time (it is). Then, we’ll detail our itinerary, for the 6 day/5 night Amazonia’s Eco Tour, which involved visiting the lodge and exploring the surrounding area on Days 4 and 5. In doing so, we’ll provide some insider tips on how to maximise your time during the tour.
We hope you find this review useful. We also wrote a review about staying at the Tahuayo Lodge. Read about it here.
What Is Amazonia Expeditions’ Amazon Research Center Lodge?
The Amazon Research Center Lodge is one of two lodges, on the Tahuayo River, that’s owned and operated by Amazonia Expeditions. Basically, the Amazon Research Center Lodge serves two main purposes. Firstly, just like the Tahuyao Lodge, it’s an accommodation facility designed for tourists to use as a base for exploring Amazonia Peru. Secondly, it’s a research facility for scientists, investigating the jungle of Peru. In fact, the lodge is recognised by a Peruvian government organisation as an official research institution.
You may have heard about another research facility in the Peru Amazon Rainforest called the Tambopata Research Center. This center is located in Puerto Maldonado. However, this facility is not officially recognised by a government entity.
In terms of being a lodge for tourists, the Amazon Research Center Lodge operates, near identically, to the Tahuayo Lodge. As part of your lodging package at the Amazon Research Center Lodge, you’ll enjoy three buffet meals per day, unlimited drinking water/coffee and free Wifi. You’ll also enjoy excursions, customised to your liking, from a private guide.
Essentially, one of the main differences is that you’ll see researchers and scientists staying at the lodge. Personally, when Beck and I stayed, there was just one researcher currently on-site. Actually, we were lucky enough to share a meal with him. He told us about his interesting research. Beck and I really enjoyed this experience, hearing firsthand from researchers, about the current studies taking place in the Amazon in Peru.
Now, we know what you might be thinking, ‘if this lodge is so great, why isn’t it as popular as the Tahuayo Lodge?’ Well, it mainly has to do with logistics.
Amazon Research Center Lodge vs Tahuayo Lodge
Logistically, Amazon Expeditions’ Tahuayo Lodge is quicker and easier to access from Iquitos. To get to the Tahuayo Lodge, you’ll catch an approx. 4 hour speed boat from Iquitos. Then, once you arrive at the Tahuayo Lodge, another speed boat is required to get to the Amazon Research Center Lodge, taking around 2 hours. That is one of the main reasons why the Tahuayo Lodge has more visitors than the other lodge.
Basically, if you only have three or four days to spare, you just won’t have enough time to visit and stay at both lodges. For this amount of time, the staff at Amazonia Expeditions will just recommend staying at the Tahuayo Lodge. That’s why you should aim for a trip of five or six days. That’ll allow you the opportunity to visit both lodges.
Admittedly though, the Tahuayo Lodge is definitely a touch more luxurious. In terms of size, the Tahuayo Lodge is much bigger. Basically, the Amazon Research Center Lodge is just a condensed version of the Tahuayo Lodge with a smaller dining room, hammock room and Wifi area. When it comes to comfort, the cabins provided at the Tahuayo Lodge are bigger and many have their own private bathrooms. At the Amazon Research Center Lodge, you’ll only find shared bathrooms on-site.
Despite the Amazon Research Center Lodge being smaller and less opulent, there are many benefits to staying there.
Benefits of Staying at Amazonia Expedition’s Amazon Research Center Lodge
The main drawcard for staying at the Amazon Research Center Lodge is its untouched and pristine location. In fact, this lodge is the only lodge, and, human-made structure for that matter, that sits in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Regional Conservation Area. Basically, staying at this lodge gives you unrivalled access to this undisturbed part of the Amazon Jungle in Peru.
That’s not to say that exploring near the Amazon Research Center Lodge is better for seeing wildlife than exploring near the Tahuayo Lodge. Both lodges are equally superb bases for exploring the Amazon Rainforest, with, more or less, equal opportunities to spot wildlife. It’s just, that the area around the Amazon Research Center Lodge is a bit quieter and more secluded. Certainly, that peacefulness and tranquillity, we really enjoyed.
Of course, with approx. 15km separating these Peru jungle lodges, both are set in unique ecosystems, given the biodiversity of the region. This means that each location offers something different in terms of wildlife. So, essentially, by staying at the Amazon Research Center Lodge, you have a chance of seeing different wildlife. In turn, having more time in the jungle in Peru will naturally increase your chances of seeing more wildlife. For more information on the wildlife that you’re likely to see near each lodge, read here.
Is It Worth Staying at the Amazon Research Center Lodge?
Absolutely, yes. All in all, Beck and I had a fantastic time staying at the Amazon Research Center Lodge on the Tahuayo River. So, we definitely think it’s worth the extra time and money to stay at both Amazonia lodges. Despite being smaller, the Amazon Research Center Lodge and its cabins were equally nice, cosy and rustic. During our time there, the buffet meals were high-quality, healthy and yummy. Best of all, the lodge was uber chill, and, even quieter and more relaxed than the Tahuayo Lodge.
Of course, decent lodging is just one part of a trip to the Amazon. Being able to see wildlife and explore untainted rainforest is perhaps even more important. Thankfully, the range of tours and activities on offer at the Amazon Research Center Lodge are exciting, adventurous and fun. With that in mind, our aim isn’t to detail every single activity on offer. But, we’re going to show you our itinerary during our time doing the Amazonia’s Eco Tour. That way, you’ll get to hear firsthand what the activities and tours are like.
Amazonia’s Eco Tour
One of the main reasons we recommend the Amazonia’s Eco Tour is so you can stay at the Amazon Research Centre Lodge. With that being said, Amazonia Expeditions actually offer four main packages. Whichever package you choose, each of them are all-inclusive. This means things like land/water transfers and entrance fees/taxes are all taken care of. The package also includes the costs of a private guide, who will help you plan whatever tours and activities you want to do. Overall, the main difference between the packages is the length of time and cost.
If you choose the 3 day/4 night Amazonia’s Mini Experience, which is the cheapest package with the shortest timeframe, you won’t have time to visit and stay at the Amazon Research Center Lodge. Essentially, all of the other packages include a stay at this lodge. Personally, Beck and I wanted to spend about a week in the Amazon Rainforest. Basically, the 6 day/5 night Amazonia’s Eco Tour was just right for us. We could spend time at both lodges without blowing our budget or compromising the time that we wanted to spend hiking and travelling elsewhere in Peru.
For specific details about the Amazonia’s Eco Tour, including an explanation of activities and possible wildlife to see, check out the sample itinerary. Below, we’ll run through how Beck and I spent our time at the Amazon Research Center Lodge on the Tahuayo River.
If you’re doing the Amazonia’s Eco Tour, you’ll spend the first three days at the Tahuayo Lodge. For more information on this lodge and to find out what we got up to there, read our Tahuayo Lodge Review.
On the morning of Day 4, you’ll take a speed boat transfer, along the Tahuayo River, from the Tahuayo Lodge to the Amazon Research Center Lodge. After squeezing in a sunrise expedition at the Tahuayo Lodge, we made our way to the other lodge, arriving at around 11am. Realistically, given the transfer, you’ll only have time for an afternoon and/or night activity on the fourth day.
Having heard all about Amazonia Expeditions’ famous Trail Grid, Beck and I decided that hiking on these trails would be our first activity at the Amazon Research Center Lodge. Located just behind the lodge is a 1000-acre (4 square km) size grid that contains around 84km worth of trails. This grid system is the largest in the Amazon and is used for scientific purposes.
By staying at this lodge, you’ll have the pleasure of exploring the grid with your private guide. Basically, you can tell your guide how long you want to hike. They’ll then design an appropriate route for you. Given the expertise of our guide, Hersog, we were happy to follow his suggestions. What ensued was an enjoyable three hour hike through the jungle. During that time, we learnt about native plants and trees. In terms of wildlife, luck wasn’t on our side on this occasion. But, still, we managed to see a few species of monkeys and also rodents.
Given the high humidity, Beck and I were knackered after hiking on the Trail Grid. We decided to skip a night activity, so we could rest for a full day of activities on Day 5.
By doing the Amazonia’s Eco Tour, Day 5 will be your only full day at the Amazon Research Center Lodge. So, this is the day that you’ll want to utilise the most. In practice, you should do a morning, afternoon and night activity.
In the morning, we decided on canoeing along the Tahuayo River. Kindly, from the Amazon Research Center Lodge, the staff will take you, by speedboat, with the canoe in tow, to a spot along the Tahuayo River that’s not too far from the lodge. Going with the current, you’ll slowly paddle, birdwatch and keep an eye out for wildlife.
Without the noise of the speedboat, canoeing provides ideal conditions for birdwatching. We saw curassows, kingfishers, herons, eagles, hawks, toucans and macaws. On the shores, we saw lizards, a giant river otter and bats on trees. We couldn’t see but could hear plenty of cheeky monkeys about. Although the resident woolly monkey did come out to say ‘hi!’ Indeed, Beck and I really enjoyed the canoeing excursion.
Piranha Fishing and Trail Grid Night Hiking
After a serene session of canoeing, we spent the afternoon piranha fishing! Not far from the lodge, your guide will search for the ideal spots, along the Tahuayo River, to fish for piranhas. I was lucky enough to catch two species of Amazonian piranha. This included the infamous red-bellied piranha! Among catching piranhas, Beck and I caught numerous other types of fish. This was actually Beck’s first time fishing. Safe to say, fishing in the Amazon River seems one hell of a place to have a fishing debut.
Best of all, we got to sample the piranhas that we caught. That evening, the kitchen staff kindly prepared our piranhas. It was delicious!
Following dinner, which included a farewell cake, we ventured out, again, onto the Trail Grid. This time, for a night hike. Having a fear of spiders, Beck was certainly on edge. But, despite the insurmountable amount of sweat produced, she assured me she had a great time! Along the way, we saw many different types of frogs and insects, including many spiders. To be expected, I was on photography duty as Beck didn’t dare get near the spiders!
Given the time required to get back to Iquitos on your final day, you won’t have time for any activities. You’ll enjoy a restful morning with the sounds of birds and other various wildlife. Then, you’ll take a speed boat back to the main lodge. Soon after arrival, you’ll have lunch. Afterwards, you’ll take another speedboat. This time, back to Iquitos.
If you haven’t had the chance to see any Amazonian dolphins, this is your best chance. In the vast Amazon River near Iquitos, you’ll likely find grey and pink dolphins, particularly during the dry season. Of course, our photos don’t do these beautiful creatures any justice. Regardless, you’ll get a real buzz from seeing these unique animals.
Amazonia Expeditions’ Amazon Research Center Lodge Recap
If you want an epic adventure in Amazonia, look no further than staying at the Amazon Research Center Lodge. Certainly, based there, you’ll enjoy awesome guided Amazonas tours. Of course, don’t just take our word for it. There are thousands of stellar Amazonia Expeditions reviews online. Compared with other Amazon expeditions in Peru, specifically Amazon expeditions in Iquitos, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better tour or company. Indeed, amongst the many other Amazonia reviews online, Amazon Expeditions comes out on top! Certainly, if you have the time, make sure to stay at both the Tahuayo and the Amazon Research Center Lodge.
If you have any questions about the lodge or rainforest expeditions there, please don’t hesitate to ask. Use the comments function below.
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