This is a review of a nine-day itinerary, starting at Jaen Airport, spending five nights in the Chachapoyas region, visiting various ruins and Gocta Waterfall, before driving to Tarapoto for three nights at Pumarinri Amazon Lodge in the montane rainforest:
“Overall, we had a great trip and saw some incredible things.
We had a good mix of activities and I most enjoyed the pottery/chocolate/honey day [Chasuta] as we got to talk with the artisans and see their passion.
I thought the staff and guides were knowledgeable (with one exception, our local guide to El Tigre could have known more about the site and area).
Ron was great and we came home with great memories and lots of recommendations for friends.
What were your favourite cultural destinations in the itinerary?
We were excited to see Kuelap and this was definitely a highlight.
Second place for me goes to the El Tigre Sarcophagi partly because they aren’t visited very often and partly because of the effort required to get there and the stunning location.
What were your favourite natural destinations in the itinerary?
Seb enjoyed seeing the frogs the most near Pumarinri.
I loved Gocta Falls and being able to see them from the hotel.
Who was your guide? How did they perform?
Ron was great, chatty, friendly, informative and easy to get a long with.
Which was your favourite accommodation and why?
I most enjoyed Gocta because of the setting.
Which was your favourite restaurant / dish / drink? Did you lose or gain weight over the course of the holiday!?
The hotels accommodated us well for vegetarian and were willing to make changes to existing menu items whenever we asked if we wanted something different. I don’t think we lost or gained weight.
I most enjoyed the salads at Pumarinri
What forms of transport did you use? Pros/cons?
The bus from the airport to Chachapoyas was long and a I got a bit carsick because of the roads. It was also a bit cramped.
All other transport was easy including the shared transport from lodges and the private vehicles.
Our drivers were good.
Did your itinerary involve any hiking? How would you rate it in terms of difficulty?
Yes, we hiked several days. El Tigre was the most difficult/long but overall was within our ability.
What was the most pointless item in your luggage!?
I brought long leggings (like work out gear) which I didn’t wear. I wore a mixture of shorts and hiking pants which were better suited to the heat and activities
What were your favourite natural encounters?
Frogs and seeing the sloth in Pumarinri
Did you have much interaction with locals? Where and how did this occur?
We spoke with guides, market sellers, staff at the parks as well as local shop keepers.
Did you feel your money was going to local businesses and people?
We bought many items while travelling for Christmas presents and I feel that money was going into the local economy.
Were you given any information regarding sustainability during the course of your trip?
We chatted with Ron about sustainability because this is something we try to strive to do in our normal (non-holiday) lives. I didn’t notice this being a topic brought up by others on the trip but I did feel that the lodges were good about water usage.
Did you notice any areas where environmental practices could be improved?
Use of plastics (especially bottles of water) and take-away containers is an issue throughout Peru that I believe can be improved.”