We love hosting visitors and are proud to share the results of our habitat preservation work, though we are not your typical jungle tour company. Here are some factors to help you decide whether Tapiche is right for you:

1. Our location is remote.

The Tapiche Reserve is located 404km upriver from Iquitos, in the heart of the Amazon basin. We do our best to transport you to and from the reserve as efficiently as possible, but it is a long trip, generally a day's travel (10-12 hrs) each way depending on river and weather conditions. Some people love the exhilaration of venturing far off the beaten path, while for others it feels too far.

The reward for the long transfer time is having the opportunity to see wildlife undisturbed in its natural habitat in a way that is not possible at lodges close to Iquitos, nor really in many forests left on our earth. The location of the reserve was expressly chosen for the high quality and health of the primary forest after surveying land all around Iquitos. The remote location away from large human settlements is precisely what has helped to preserve the forest thus far. The nearest village to the Tapiche lodge is 50km away and is home to a small community of 8 families, and the nearest tourist lodge is hundreds of kilometers downstream. Tapiche provides a true backcountry, off-the-grid adventure away from the tourist crowd.  

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2. We do things jungle style, which means an unpredictable daily schedule in a rustic environment.

Visiting our reserve requires an open mind and a willingness to be flexible and adaptable. You'll be in jungle housing made in the local style from local materials, moving on jungle time with the natural rhythm of the sun, and following the activity cycles of the animals. Beyond our daily start time at first light, we do not have a fixed activity schedule dictated by the clock. We cannot tell you exactly what activity you will be doing at a certain time, because we can't predict what the jungle will reveal along the way… and we like it this way.

We offer a sample itinerary to give potential visitors an idea of what's possible, but each visit is unique, every guest is different, and the jungle is ever-evolving and changing. Even if we go to the exact same places as mentioned on the sample itinerary, your trip will be different from any other. Trees and branches fall, and logs and other debris may block or change our access points. All activities are subject to weather and river conditions, and we don't control or manipulate the animals, which means we cannot guarantee the number or kind of sightings. The length and content of activities may vary from the sample itinerary, and your guide may encourage you to take a detour or stay out longer if there's an opportunity to witness something spectacular. The duration of the activity is also affected by the number and kinds of questions that arise, how long we talk about the ecosystem, and how long we stop to observe the animals.

Our goal is always to maximize your time and exposure to nature, because we know you've come a long way to do so. If your travel style requires staying on a structured schedule and knowing everything in advance, we can say from experience that you probably won’t feel comfortable at Tapiche. If, however, you can let go of knowing the exact content and the starting and ending times of each activity, you'll enjoy your stay much more. We invite you to exhale into the natural rhythm of the Tapiche jungle. 

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3. Visitors must be willing to follow their guide's instructions, even if they have other outdoor experience.

We warmly welcome nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, and we have many guests who have traveled all around the world and are skilled in a variety of outdoor pursuits. We ask that visitors please accept and respect the instructions given by their Tapiche guide, even if our methods and guidelines differ from the way things may be done elsewhere. Not all experience and skill in other climates and topographies transfer or translate to our rainforest. Visitors who have been in other jungles often find the experience at Tapiche to be unique. Our guides want to make sure you stay safe while getting the most out of your trip. We also have specific ways of approaching wildlife, always keeping in mind the comfort boundaries of the animals and maintaining a respectful distance. By being mindful of our approach and presence, we build the animals’ trust, which allows us to better observe their natural behaviors.

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4. Your physical fitness may affect your jungle experience.

The natural environment of the Amazon rainforest can be uncomfortable for anyone because of the heat, humidity and insects, but those who have a good baseline of physical health generally adapt more easily. In addition, finding the animals may require physical exertion, especially during low water season when walks can vary between 6-12km. We go to where the animals are, rather than trying to lure them to us or confining them to a certain place just for easy access.

Age is NOT the most important factor in fitness, as we have had guests from ages 5 to 72 enjoy the reserve. You do not have to be a triathlete, but you will enjoy your visit more if you exercise regularly at home or follow a fitness regimen in your normal life. Our activities may involve walking an average of 10km/6mi a day in hot and humid conditions through obstacles of low to medium difficulty (logs, vines, uneven ground) or sitting in a boat/canoe for 3-4 hours at a time.

Please note that we kindly ask guests to refrain from smoking while at the reserve.

Contact us if you have concerns about fitness and we'll be happy to discuss this with you; we really want our guests to have a great experience. We do make special arrangements for families, and we also offer privately guided trips for those who have special interests or needs. 

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5. Our activities vary throughout the year based on the flood.

The level of the Tapiche River can fluctuate by an average of 8m/26ft between low and high water season, which means the landscape transforms dramatically throughout the year. This naturally affects the kinds of activities that we’re physically able to offer and operate at different times. 

*Important caveat: the following patterns are based on the average flood year. Unfortunately we have observed some abnormalities over the past few years (climate change!), resulting in low water levels when it should be high. We cannot guarantee what the flood or the weather will look like in the future, so this information is meant only as a historical frame of reference. It is NOT a promise of what the forest will look like during your actual visit.*

In an average flood year, the high water season usually peaks around March, at which point there is hardly any dry land at the reserve. Activities at this point are typically by boat, since all of the trails are flooded. The water usually starts gradually receding from that point, revealing sandy beaches along the river by June, July and August, which is turtle egg-laying season. If you visit during this time, you may have the opportunity to help us collect endangered Taricaya turtle eggs from the beaches and re-incubate them at the lodge. The water reaches its lowest point around August/September. Activities during this time are done on foot through the forest, and the creeks are too dry to navigate via boat. It is a good time to arrange a specialty sport fishing trip since the fish will be concentrated in the river and lagoons. If you visit during the months in between the high and low points of the flood, activities may be a mix of boating and walking, including walking in the water through partially flooded forest. We provide gumboots, but there is a chance the water rises higher than the boots, and you might literally get your feet wet. 

Let us know if you are hoping to do a specific activity or see a particular animal species. The Tapiche Reserve is open every month of the year, we see animals year-round, and we think the forest is incredible any time of year. 

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Contact us to book your trip, or learn about how your visit contributes directly to the conservation of the forest.

Banner photo: White-fronted capuchin (Cebus albifrons)
© 2017 Deborah Chen