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How to Choose a Tambopata Tour and Lodge

Kurt Holle

When planning a trip to travel to Tambopata — a spectacular destination in the Peruvian Amazon — you'll see that all the available lodges offer tours as well. That means the lodges will have boats to take you to the lodges,  guides to escort you on activities, and so on. In other words, they're responsible for everything: from when they pick you up at the airport, to when you return to fly home. Here, we're going to focus on helping you find the best lodge and tour.

Here's the most important questions you should ask:
  1. How do you know if your lodge is good?
  2. Is it clean?
  3. Is the food good?
  4. Are the trucks and boats on time?
  5. Is the staff friendly?

Our Operation - Andre Baertschi - People Trail - Birdwatchers

Many Tambopata lodges offer all-expenses-included tour services, but it can be difficult to choose among them. Photo by Andre Baertschi .

Let visitors who have already been there help you out with their experiences! For any questions focusing on the actual service at the lodge, TripAdvisor is your best bet.

You probably already know this, but TripAdvisor is the world's largest travel review site. Find the destination you're looking to visit, and check out the best-ranked hotels. Before getting started, you should know a few things about TripAdvisor destinations and hotel ratings:

1) Destinations in Trip Advisor are defined by the users, not by an expert

So, one destination might have two different names! For example, lodges around the Tambopata National Reserve can be found in the "Puerto Maldonado" destination section, and the "Tambopata" section, too.

2) Lodge Type can be confusing

Profiles are classified as (1) Hotels, (2) Bed and breakfasts, or (3) Specialty lodgings.  Again, profiles land in one of the three categories often because a user classified it as such. Very similar Tambopata lodges have been classified in all three categories. 

3) Trip Advisor ratings are straightforward, but rankings are not

What makes a property No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 in a destination is part of TripAdvisor's "secret sauce" (i.e. their algorithm), which means that it's unknown to everybody — but it clearly has to do with the number of stars on the rating. The algorithm probably also considers the quantity of ratings (100 ratings is more reliable than only 1 rating), and the timeliness of the ratings (3 bad ratings in the last month might trump 10 good ratings from last year). Who knows what else it includes? On the other hand, ratings are straightforward — people give a lodge operator one to five stars.

To get help on planning your trip to the Amazon jungle of Tambopata,

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