We spent a week here at the Tahuayo Lodge in the Peruvian Amazon jungle in September/ October 2011. It is a lodge on a tributary of the Amazon river, a three hour fast boat ride from Iquitos (which is a plane ride from anywhere else) with an associated research station (which for the non scientist visitor is pretty much like another lodge, but with better wildlife).

Our guide was Christian, who was fantastic. He was basically available to us for whatever we wanted to do. At the beginning, he sat with us to work out what we wanted to get out of our week, and skillfully out together a daily itinerary so we could see everything we wanted.

Our highlights were making blow guns and darts from scratch with things Christian and his sidekick Leo found for us in the jungle, swimming in the river near pink and grey dolphins, seeing squirrel monkeys settling down for the night as we floated past them on the river, evening spotlighting seeing South America’s most poisonous snake, and fishing for (then eating) three different species of piraña. And you can’t forget the amazing varieties of birds we saw everywhere we went.

On practicalities, the lodge is basic, but roomy and comfortable. The research station actually seemed a bit nicer. Although there are no private bathrooms at the research station, the public ones are neat clean and very practical. The food was great in both locations, with three full meals a day, lots of great juices and local vegetables. The hammock room is a great way to while away an afternoon if you are too tired to go tramping in the jungle. The Internet worked surprisingly well, and there is enough charging available for a camera and a laptop, if that is what you want. Might be trickier if the place is full, though (We we there in a fairly quiet time).

If you want to fill every waking moment with activities (from dawn to well after dark) the guides are there to help you do it. If (like us) you would like something a bit more sedate, they are happy to try and give you the highlights. Christian was great with our boys, judging their energy levels perfectly so that they enjoyed themselves, without finding going looking for animals a chore. All the guides were great, and they seemed to have a sixth sense for when to stop so you could see an animal hiding up in a tree.