Often potential clients write to us with the same question.
“Why is there such a price difference with similar lodges?”
They may be in a well developed area where everything is easier to organize, close to Iquitos or Nauta.
May rely on canned experiences like visiting a native tribe (re-enactment) or animal prisons like monkey island.
Shortcuts on service, facilities
low ethics and morals pertaining to workers payment
Rely on vast quantity of clients (no personalization)
Distance traveled– Many lodges exclaim they are two hours by boat, taking advantage of the fact their boat only moves 6mph on the river. I could say “Sure, Otorongo Expeditions lodge is 14 hours from Iquitos” ( in a canoe, do not forget your paddle). Even when using actual measurements,people still fail to tell the truth and include the round trip total as if it were one way. The competition is so ruthless and careless that they will say anything to get your money. Unfortunately companies treat each other in a cut throat manner instead of joining with a common cause of the sustainable development of the region. OtoEx lodge is 50 miles downstream from Iquitos, the furthest downstream lodge that attends all year round. This is far enough to get out of the sphere of influence of the city, here it is possible to see the Amazon River and its inhabitants the way they normally are. A lodge that is only a few miles outside of the city will be quite ashamed to admit proximity because the wildlife is inherently scarce. These places rely on “Monkey Islands and ReEnactments of Indian villages” there is nothing real about it except they really think you are not going to notice.Other companies may rely on public transportation for moving their clients. This means cramping in between cargo and local passengers that will be making several stops before arriving to your final destination. Even than, expect other unavised transfers to smaller less regulated boats.Surprisingly enough, there are a few companies that claim to have their own lodge or facilites, when in reality they rent from other people where there will be several companies renting space. Two of these companies are top rated on TripAdvisor.
The superficiality of some organizations and their marketing is on the fence, leaning towards fraud.
OtoEx has private transportation means (3 speed boats) fully licensed and insured guaranteeing your safe departure and arrival, big outboard motors that use considerable fuel to reach the destination. We do not outsource other transportation options unless it is a complete emergency, it is very hard to rely on any other organization to give the quality of service we proudly emit.
We also count with private facilites where our guests are the onlyforeign travelers within 25 miles
Ethics: It is cheaper to take short cuts but they are not sustainable. The informality and corruption in the region allows these types of lodges to flourish. These informal practices are really a bummer for tour operators, lodges, and locals alike. It is cheaper to just throw your waste in the river as well as having improper septic systems that exude crude into the environment.We are proud to use anaerobic biodigesters for our bathrooms and Composting our organics is very important for the depleted soils. All other inorganic waste gets shipped back to Iquitos for recycling.Most lodges are off/grid. The majority of places use noisy generators, that are easy to replace and refuel. We use a solar array for charging, yes our lighting may be dim but this is not a multi million dollar operation and solar technology in Peru is almost twice the price it is in other countries.We do not treat the local population as an attraction, nor do we treat their culture as a moneymaking business (ayahuasca or phony shaman ceremonies). Occasionally there is a desire for such a thing, so you as a client will go check the availability with the local curious curandero (not guaranteed he will be there).Employee abuse : That lodge or service may be cheap but someone is paying for it somewhere. Peru being a developing country, many people take advantage of local labor and pay them less than minimum. Most paying less than 15 soles per day (5 $). Having a job and getting any amount of money is a perk for someone in the forest so even if the company owes them 500 soles and the worker only receives 100, they will be happy and unlikely to make a formal complaint in the Labor ministry. Most people outside of the city are less than 1 generation out of the hunter/gatherer and swidden agriculture practices. Many parents do not have a formal education and are not familiar with their rights.If the worker travels to Iquitos to demand their pay, they are normally given the answer “come back tomorrow”. That worker who spent all night travelling on a river taxi boat has no where to sleep in the city without incurring expenses. He will surely give up the next day when they are told the same thing “come back tomorrow”I have witnessed it a thousand times and all over the board even in governmental organizations that sometimes take months to pay workers (if they get paid at all).Quality of service: We know this may be your first and only excursion to the Amazon River so we make it the best possible, many other places just want your money and hope you enjoy their canned experiences. Our staff is very professional and we take our job very seriously
view of the Amazon river from oran
Return to communities: Being the only lodge in our area, all the places we visit are in coordination with the local communities that receive financial incentive to continue caring for their communal lands. Unfortunately the illegal logging industry has much more buying power than an honest jungle lodge so we are constantly butting heads with mafia laden organizations (surprised I haven’t been whacked yet…seriously)So in the end, you may choose what type of experience you are looking for, if your budget is limited than your choices are slim. Yet if you can afford 100 dollars a day or more for a complete experience, study hard because there are many places that offer the same price as us but the service and experience are distinct. We do not do gimmicks, the river and rainforest is more than enough to satisfy .Just in case it is not us you are looking for, here is a small list of recommendable Jungle lodges that do not treat the region like a brothel.
Explorama Napo Lodge -Sucusari
Amazonia Expeditions AyE Tours- Tahuayo
Tapiche Reserve -TapicheThere are not really any more I can Recommend, the rest have many discrepancies in their business model due to poor management, drugs dispenseries, or unethical activities pertaining to tourism.
“give him a sloth to hug and a Native in a grass skirt to take a picture with,that ought to bedazzle him.”