Aqua Expeditions Amazon River Cruise

Planning for Peru: Amazon Tour

Now that we’re getting a bit of our April/May travels underway (more details on that as our trips unfold a bit more), we’re taking some time to focus on our honeymoon adventure. It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited for a trip (like next-level pumped), but Peru is at the tip-top of my list so I’m thrilled to actually start planning with a substantial starting point. We were fortunate enough to be gifted the majority of this trip by my incredible in-laws-to-be which has made this entire journey possible. It’s also provided a bit of structure for our adventure. Scott and I are both very Type A Planners so it could have taken months for us to gather all of the intel required to plan a trip like this; we leave no stone unturned. With much of the planning for Peru (accommodations, timing, etc.) accounted for, we’ve been able to spend more time researching locations and to-dos instead of logistics.

In an effort to plan, research, discover and share a bit more, I thought it would be good to look at the trip as a whole and then dive a bit deeper into each leg of the trip for planning and budgeting reasons. So, here’s what our whole trip is looking like (move the map around to see the stops):

Originally our trip captured experiences in Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. However, since we’ll be making the trek to Peru we thought it would advantageous to add on four extra nights at the end to explore the Amazon. Since a trip like this could realistically be a once in a lifetime excursion, we wanted to make sure we captured all of the elements that we thought were unique to a South American trip like this. Since there are entry points to the Amazon just a quick flight away (about $250 round trip based on our research), it seemed wise to add the trip on as the final leg.

Since the Amazon piece wasn’t part of the original trip, we’ve had quite a bit of room for research and exploration. We haven’t fully settled on one spot yet, but we’re narrowing it down. We’ve toyed with the idea of flying to Lake Titicaca and exploring the Bolivian/Peruvian border but have focused most heavily on heading to Puerto Maldonado, the Amazon entry point for Peru.

We’ve been looking at two awesome, rather distinct options:

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica

The Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica was the first accommodation that really got us thinking about this leg in its entirety. Many of the other spots we had discovered were more hostel-like in nature and catered to more of a backpacking crowd. While that may be a fun adventure, it didn’t really fit into our plans for our honeymoon (maybe a different time).

The Inkaterra is definitely a more luxe Amazon offering, but they seem to offer a very unique experience, great day excursions (1/4 day, 1/2 day and full day), plus a safe environment from which to travel. They’re currently offering a Romantic Adventure package that involves 4 days/3 nights and a number of add-ons (think massages, dinner for two, specialty services, awesome cabana, etc.) for a hair under $900 per person. While it isn’t the least expensive option in the region, the reviews are nothing but stellar and I feel a bit more justified knowing that it’s our honeymoon and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Tambopata Research Center 

Photos of Tambopata Research Center, Tambopata National Reserve
This photo of Tambopata Research Center is courtesy of TripAdvisor

While we were pretty fixed on Inkaterra, Scott discovered the Tambopata Research Center and we reopened the conversation and research phase. We’ve since stumbled upon a few places that have piqued our interest, but this one struck a particular chord with us. This company essentially offers three accommodation options: Posada Amazonas, Refugio Amazonas, and the Tambopata Research Center (TRC). Each location gets progressively smaller, and moves deeper into the rainforest.  The TRC, which we’re looking at, is 7 hours from the airport and is one of the most remote rainforest lodges in South America. The quarters seem a bit tighter (and perhaps less luxe) but the experience is alleged to be beyond incredible.

Due to the fact that its tucked deeper into the Amazon, visitors get up close and personal with a fair bit of wildlife that’s not seen as widely close to the major cities. The Research Center experiences mixes exploration with a bit of education (there are seminars on ecotourism and the wildlife during the course of your stay), and the area is replete with toucans, monkeys, macaws, jaguars, etc. Needless to say, we’re intrigued.

The Inkaterra is definitely an amazing option in the Amazon, but the TRC seems to provide a bit of a deeper experience in terms of rainforest exploration and wildlife photography.

Does anyone have any insight? Have any of you stayed at either of these places?

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. Additionally, Shannon is the founder of Compass & Vine, a luxury boutique travel design firm, and is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort. Shannon holds an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and is a current candidate for WSET Level 3 in Wines & Spirits.