1. Jungle Lodges in the Amazon are for rich foreign tourists.
The name itself used by many hotels, “Jungle Lodge”, in English, says it all. Most jungle hotels cater for the foreign English-speaking crowd and quote their services in dollars or euros. Reaching Manaus and staying at a jungle lodge is not within the reach of most Brazilians. And those Brazilians that could afford it are frankly not too interested on nature experiences, they’d rather spend their holidays at a luxurious pousada at the beach or shopping in Miami.
Unfortunately, Jungle Lodges do not have the backpacking crowd in mind.
2. Location, location, location.
It pains me to say so, but there are some beautiful jungle lodges, highly recommended in many guides, that are just a few miles from that eyesore that it is Manaus. Anyone staying at those hoteles will see the city lights at the end of the day, will hear the boats up and down the river and even the planes approaching Manaus international airport. If they wander too far from the hotel they might hit a paved road.
Few hotels give precise details of their location. For that reason I decided to spend some time researching the location of most hotels and making it available on a Google Maps mash-up. I haven’t been able to locate precisely some hotels (either because there aren’t high-res images available or simply because the information I could gather didn’t help me find the hotel). For those hotels I’m just giving its approximate location.
View jungle lodges on a bigger map.
I recommend you open the map on a full page.
The hotels for which I’m giving their accurate location are: Acajatuba Jungle Lodge, Amazon Ecopark Jungle Lodge, Amazon Rainforest Adventure Station, Ariaú Amazon Towers, Amazon Mainan Lodge, Pakaas Palafitas Lodge, Pousada Uacari and Tiwa Amazonas Ecoresort.
If you are going to spend a small fortune to turn your Amazon dream a reality it might help knowing where you are heading too. Needless to say, the further away from civilization, the likelier you are to encounter wildlife and experience a true jungle holiday.
As you can imagine, nobody turns up at a remote jungle lodge asking whether there are any rooms available. Most hotels offer packages to their guests, including accommodation, meals (you won’t find any bars or restaurants near jungle lodges!) and jungle trips. When you purchase your package, make sure you understand what it is and it is not included. Likewise, most hotels include the transfer in/out to and from the hotel on their packages, but do make sure this is included.
4. Not all jungle lodges are the same.
For the reasons explained at number 1, a few jungle lodges have developed a business model that will not thrill those seeking a jungle experience as authentic as possible. We are talking about hotels with plasma TVs and DVD players on all rooms, gyms, spas, business centre, internet café, souvenir and jewelery shops and the likes. Outstanding among them are the Ariau Towers hotel and the Jungle Othon Palace.
A jungle lodge for which I’ve only heard praise – coming from people with environmental concerns I trust – is the Pousada Uacari at the Mamirauá ecological reserva. Although it is not, by any means, a luxury resort, its remote location makes it a costly choice. It would definitely be my choice if money wasn’t a problem and you were after a genuine Amazon experience.
If you have stayed at a jungle hotel and want to send me your opinions, you can use this blog’s contact address.
“cheia” and “seca” on the Amazon region
the Meeting of the Waters and the Janauary Ecological Park, near Manaus
tourism on the Amazon region is a foreign affair
the Amazon: a new threat in the shape of a gigantic bridge
destination: Alter do Chão and the river Tapajós
Destination: Ilha do Marajó