A jungle treehouse in the Amazon comes pretty high up the list when it comes to staying in unusual and quirky places. When that treehouse is 67 feet up in the jungle canopy with exotic birds and monkeys passing by outside it’s going to be hard to top. I don’t mind admitting I was beyond excited to be staying at Treehouse Lodge for three incredible days of Amazon adventure and wildlife spotting. So did I shout ‘I’m a blogger get me out of here’? No, not even when we came across something really hairy on the way to breakfast. Read on to check out our Amazon jungle treehouse hotel…
Getting to Treehouse Lodge
After a few days in Cusco we traded the city for the rainforest and took a flight to Iquitos in the North of Peru. We were met at the airport by Marden our guide and jungle expert for the duration of our stay.
Treehouse Lodge lies on the banks of the Yarapa River deep in the Peruvian Amazon and getting there is an adventure in itself. It’s 1.5 hours by road from Iquitos to the port of Nauta. Here The Treehouse Lodge boat was waiting for us to start the hour long journey up the Marañón River. The wildlife spotting starts before we even reach the lodge. At the point where the Marañón meets the Amazon we slow down and spot glimpses of pink and grey river dolphins in the water. But it’s getting dark so we continue onto the Ucayali River and finally connect with the Yarapa River.
As we disembark we can see the lights of Treehouse Lodge glowing through the trees. We make our way along the wooden walkway to the lodge’s communal area, fireflies dancing in the darkness. We’re welcomed by Edwin, the lodge manager who hands us a welcome glass of refreshing passion fruit juice.
After a delicious meal it’s time to check out our jungle treehouse and I can’t wait to see it. We’re in treehouse number 7 ‘Solitude’. It’s the furthest out into the jungle and very secluded – we’re the only guests at the lodge that night and when we get to our treehouse it really feels like it’s just us and the jungle.
As soon as we go outside the night time sounds of the jungle envelop us in a cacophony of cicadas, croaks and caws – it’s deafening! We follow the signs on the walkway and after a few minutes we come to a towering tree with a wooden staircase winding around it’s trunk which climbs up into the blackness. We climb 84 steps (yes I counted) and reach a platform where we stop for a well-earned breather. After three days our fitness levels improved massively!
Next, a hanging bridge takes us to another platform and then a longer suspended bridge leads us, finally, to our treehouse. Up a few more steps, through a trap-hatch and we’re in. Him and me up a tree in the Amazon Jungle. The stuff of adventures.
There are ten treehouses at the lodge and, at 67 feet high in the canopy, ‘Solitude’ is the highest. The treehouses are all different depending on the structure of the tree they’re built into. They are reached by a network of wooden walkways, steps and hanging bridges and are completely private although some are closer together for friends and families. The lodges are screened all round so that insects and wildlife can’t get in but they’re barely noticeable and don’t impact on the view at all.
Our Jungle Treehouse
In our treehouse we had a double bed with fresh, white linen and clean towels. There’s a comfy seating area with chairs and a sofa – great for curling up in whilst watching for wildlife in the canopy. The breeze from the ceiling fan was welcome in the heat. We had an electric light although we tried not to use it too much in the evenings as it attracts the bugs. A safe, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher and walkie talkies to contact the main lodge are all provided. Mobile signals are flaky this far into the jungle. (Tip – it’s pitch black once the lights go out so a head torch is invaluable in the jungle).
The bathroom area is sectioned off behind a bamboo wall. Behind it we were surprised to find a proper ceramic flushing toilet and a stylish glass hand basin. The shower stall is supplied with cold water. There’s nothing better when you come back hot and sticky from a jungle excursion than a cool shower.
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The bed has a mosquito net so any bugs that may have sneaked in when we opened the trap hatch didn’t get to feast on our flesh. Mosquitos were one of the things that worried me about going to the jungle because I get a nasty reaction to bites. And then there’s the whole Zika thing. The nice people at Ellis Brigham put my mind at rest by supplying me with some anti-mosquito clothing. The gear worked brilliantly because I didn’t get bitten once whilst in the jungle. Except by the adventure bug.
We settled down for our first night in the Amazon jungle and lay listening to the strange and unfamiliar noises, wondering what was out there and how close it really was. I didn’t wonder for long and was soon fast asleep, in fact, I slept soundly every night. Jungle life is pretty tiring.
Dawn in the Tree Canopy
Waking up in the tree canopy of the Amazon Jungle is an amazing experience. As the sun rose each day a golden light filtered through the treetop canopy that surrounded our treehouse. We’d lay and listen as the night shift cacophony clocked off and the day-shift took over. Birds would fly past and we’d hear monkeys crashing through the trees. One even landed on the treehouse roof and proceeded to throw dead leaves down – good of him to tidy up!
Bugs and Critters
You’re going to come across a few bugs and critters in the jungle. It’s all part of the experience and the wildlife is one of the reasons we went. One morning we spotted a huge, hairy, red-toed tarantula on our way to breakfast. Nice pedicure… Most of the creatures prefer to stay away from humans but we did see a small mammal near our treehouse with big round ears and eyes. We never did find out what it was but it looked quite cute. There were birds in the trees all around our treehouse but the excursions held the main wildlife spotting opportunities.
Solar panels power all the electrical needs of the lodge from lighting and fans to refrigeration and communication. A generator is used only on overcast days as a back-up. Fresh drinking and cooking water is brought into the lodge but the rest of the water is pulled from the river. It’s purified multiple times before being used for showers, toilets, sinks and cleaning. Each treehouse was built by hand without using heavy plant machinery. This left a minimal impact on the jungle with efforts made to preserve every plant and tree.
Food in the Amazon Jungle
Talented lodge chef, Sterling, served three excellent meals a day. The lodge is all-inclusive and everything we needed was provided. We never had the same meal twice. Breakfast was fruit, cold meats, cheese, breads with fresh juice and coffee. It set us up nicely for a day of jungle excursions.
Lunch consists of a salad starter followed by a main dish of fish or chicken. Dinner comprised of three courses; salad starter, fish, chicken or meat main course followed by dessert and all beautifully presented. We even had fish and chips jungle-style one evening using fish we’d caught that day and chips made from Yucas root. On full day excursions the lodge provides a tasty packed-lunch. Soft juices and water were provided but alcoholic beverages were an additional charge – there was a good, reasonably priced, selection at the lodge bar. All the staff in the lodge, without exception, were friendly, helpful and spoke good English. The service was excellent.
Guides are English or Spanish speaking and each treehouse has their own personal guide. This worked well and we got to know our guide, Marden, really well during our stay. He grew up in the local village and is passionate and hugely knowledgeable about the wildlife and the local area. We learnt so much from Marden. Your guide will take you out on up to three jungle excursions a day including night-time forays into the jungle to search for caymans and snakes – if you’re feeling brave.
I’ll tell you more in my next post about the jungle excursions and what we saw and did. There’s a massive amount to experience on the Treehouse Lodge tours so they deserve a separate post. Want to hear about wild pink dolphins on The Amazon River? How about the time we met a sloth; spotted three different types of monkey and encountered a giant river otter? Thought so, you might want to stay tuned…
Where’s the most unusual place you’ve stayed? Let me know in the comments below – I might have to check it out myself.
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