Practical

Please read this through very carefully as some of these items are absolutely crucial to understand before you buy your tickets:

 

-the first thing to worry about is immunisations: In Switzerland, I was recommended Hepatitis B, Typhoid and Yellow fever shots but also ended up having my diphtheria, tetanus  and polio shot refreshed. The risks for all these are extremely low but then again getting very sick very far from a hospital is not a lot of fun. Also, some of these immunisations need some time to be effective so check with your doctor as soon as you can as it will take some weeks of planning.  Immunisation info on Rainforest Expeditions site can be found on their FAQ section under What inoculations are required for Tambopata.

-Visas: most nationalities are allowed 90 days stay on entry to Peru. However be aware of the filling scam: a South Korean resident was given only fifty days on entry (which she didn't notice) and was then fined a dollar a day for the 17 days she overstayed. Apart from the fact that she had a very long queue to pay it (it seems very many tourists had the same issue!) she also now has a stamp in her visa to the effect that she overstayed her visa. Possibly not a good thing for future visa applications. So, the thing to do is, on arrival at the Peru boarder, to double check and insist that you need the full 90 days or at least days to cover you until your return date. 

-electronic devices have a short life in the high humidity of the rain forest. For example, professional photographers will keep their most precious equipment in sealed canisters packed with moisture absorbing silica gel to keep their cameras from fogging up. This said, the hotel staff use laptops and my mobile phones did well (not that there is any reception) but think about what you bring and the risk of humidity poses. Ask questions before coming if in doubt.

-Bring a torch, or better still a headlamp (doesn't have to be fancy). At the very least to help you find the matches with which to light the candle after dinner. But also because nightwalks reveal a completely new set of animals. Remember spare or chargeable batteries.


A very large tarantula in its burrow. Like I say, good to have a torch.

-Beg, borrow or steal some binoculars from someone. Small and light ones are far better than huge ones that are difficult to keep steady. Ideal opticals are 7X40.

-Pack in something that can be carried for the 15 minutes from the boat to the lodge, like a rucksack or a soft bag with a good shoulder strap. Sort your clothes into thin transparent plastic bin bags so you can see what is in them without taking everything out. It may rain as you arrive so do this from home.

Your luggage will be taken from the offices, hauled onto the roof of a vehicle and then down steeps steps to a boat. At the other end, your luggage goes up a steep embankment and is carried along a muddy path for about 15 minutes. No wheelies!!

-Clothes don’t dry well. Jeans will get clammy on the first day and stay that way for the duration. Loose-fitting, light, quick-drying clothes are the best. You need a few sets with long sleeves and long trousers for going out every day. And as you relax in the lodge, you will appreciate shorts and t-shirts as well, once you relax around the bugs. Personally, I wouldn’t go further than that with a singlet, for example: you don’t really want to expose skin that you can’t see. This said, the dress code is absolutely casual so don’t even think of going out to buy new smart safari wear: borrow summer clothes from friends, especially if you come from the northern hemisphere where no-one will miss them between November and March. But stick to neutral or washed-out colours: bright colours, including white, attract bugs and scare off the wildlife, though this is less important at the lodge itself. Note: black and other very dark colours will also attract mosquitos.

-Washing: clothes: a laundry service is available at 4 sol per kg. There are also facilities to wash your own clothes. To do either please ask the staff at the lodge.

-A refillable water bottle is crucial, there is drinking water in tanks at the lodge.

-Bring both natural and DEET insect repellents. By the river in the afternoon, there are midges or sandflies that will find the tiniest bit of skin not coated in DEET. But generally, you keep the repellent handy in your backpack and take it out when you notice interest. Most of the time, I didn’t need any, especially when you keep moving and for night walks or evenings in the lodge, natural repellents were enough. But don’t leave home without a strong cream to treat bites, one with a local anaesthetic in it so you can avoid scratching yourself.

-Bring some painkillers and imodium and replacement salt packs in case of diarrhea. Only one of a large group was affected in the week I was there but there is no pharmacy nearby so think ahead in that respect. Make sure you have excellent travel insurance and consider that you will be 5 hours (6 hours at night) from the nearest hospital.

-There are rows of gumboots at the lodge but bring a rain poncho or rain jacket. A light poncho is good. Breathable materials such as Goretex are a bit irrelevant in 100% humidity. But when it rains, the slightest bit of wind can chill you very quickly, especially on the boats. and clothes take a very long time to dry once they are really soaked.

Gumboot selection in every size. Worth using. If your shoes get soaked through they will stay damp for quite a while.

-Bring good hiking boots that cover your ankles, if you can, but you can also go round in trainers as long as you are ok with them not drying out once they get wet inside. Good sandals (not flip flops) are also very handy to let your feet breathe (I wore them with socks in the evening) or to scramble down to the river in or for kayaking.

-Bring a waterproof daypack in which the following stay handy: binoculars, torchlight, insect repellent, sunscreen, broad-rimmed hat, sunglasses, rain poncho, water bottle. If your pack isn't waterproof, you can just carry it under your poncho.

-If you are very sensitive to noise at night, then bring earplugs. Or noise cancelling earphones! You will be able to hear your neighbours chat or snore through the walls but the loudest noise comes from the rainforest. Personally, none of this ever kept me awake. After all the days excitement, I slept like a baby.

- No point in bringing loads of shampoo and soap. The lodge would prefer you to use their own eco-friendly and biodegradable products. However you will want to find some biodegradable washing liquid to hand wash your clothes in on longer stays. You can get this in good camping stores.  


On top of everything above, after a second trip in 2016 and having discussed with past Amazon residents we have also complied this list.






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