9.18.2019

714. Peru Trip | Amazon Discovery Lodge

Amazon Discovery Lodge Peru
During our time in Peru, we spent 5 nights/6 days in the Amazon Rainforest. That part of the trip was the most different and perhaps required the most research and preparation. We wanted to stay somewhere remote so that we could fully immerse ourselves into the rainforest and be able to see lots of wildlife. As it was both of our first times visiting the Amazon (& it has always been on my bucket list), we really wanted the perfect experience as it seemed like a trip of a lifetime (I say "seemed" because now that we've visited once and loved it, I'm sure we would go back again someday). That was exactly what we ended up having with Amazon Discovery Lodge!

We wanted a nice, comfortable, clean and well-kept lodge with friendly and knowledgeable staff who were passionate about what they do. Ideally we wanted somewhere that offered WiFi since we both work remotely, but we knew that likely wouldn't be a possibility if we wanted a remote location. Also we wanted to visit somewhere south of Iquitos since we heard that was where the most wildlife is. Luckily we ended up finding Amazon Discovery Lodge which fit the entire description perfectly. They are also located in a protected area of the Amazon Rainforest, where no wildlife could be hunted for food (besides fish). So that ensured we would be able to see lots of them in their natural habitat.

We did research on all different lodges south of Iquitos and Amazon Discovery Lodge seemed to be the best by far. Also they are the only one that offers WiFi at the moment which was a big bonus for us. Their website was easy to navigate with detailed itineraries. The accommodations looked clean and comfortable and (at the time of this post) they are fairly new. They first opened in early 2019 so we had the pleasure of being one of their first guests.

Our experience with them from before the trip until after has been incredible. Before the trip, they were super helpful with everything regarding our booking - from answering any type of questions we had to organizing a guide for us in Iquitos.

Amazon Discovery Lodge Peru
A drone shot of the property.

Amazon Discovery Lodge boat
Amazon Discovery Lodge Peru
If you are visiting the Peruvian Amazon, you would first fly into Iquitos. From there, whichever lodge you book will pick you up and transport you to them. We stayed a couple days in Iquitos and arranged a guide through Amazon Discovery Lodge to bring us around certain areas of the city. He ended up being our guide for our time at the lodge as well. That morning, we were picked up at our hotel and driven about 2 hours away to a town called Nauta. From there, we took a speedboat for another 2 hours until we reached our lodge. I really enjoyed the entire journey. The ~4 hours just flew by. From the car ride we passed a lot of villages and observed daily life on the banks of the Amazon. The boat ride was really nice with the wind blowing against us in the Amazonian heat, while gazing out at the scenery hoping to catch a glimpse of exotic wildlife.

Amazon Discovery Lodge Peru
Here are the rooms!

Amazon Discovery Lodge Peru
The common area.

Amazon Discovery Lodge room
None of the lodges in the Amazon have air conditioning (if they are as remote as ours) but each room at ours had a fan. Each room was open-air with mosquito nets enclosing the space. So at times it can get pretty hot, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The most difficult thing to get used to was the cold showers (as there is no hot water). But after a few hours trekking through the hot humid rainforests, a cold shower was the best thing to come back for.

We had cleaning service every day and our sheets and towels were replaced every two days.

Amazon Discovery Lodge Peru

Our schedule each day was something like this:

8am = Breakfast in the common area
8:30am to around 10:30/11:30am = Morning excursion
12:30pm = Lunch in the common area
3pm/4pm/5pm = Afternoon excursion
7:30pm = Dinner in the common area
8:30pm/9pm = Night excursion

One of my favourite things about the lodge was that each couple got their own guide. So each schedule/itinerary could be personalized in terms of timing and which activity you wanted to do.
The morning and afternoon excursions were usually boat rides, fishing or jungle treks, while at night it was usually boat rides or jungle treks to look for nocturnal animals.

Sometimes in between excursions we would lay in our hammocks to relax and read, or play board games in the common area.

Amazon Discovery Lodge food
Amazon Discovery Lodge dinner
All the meals were included in our package and prepared for us at the same times each day. During our time there, we didn't have any repeat meals and everything was delicious. I particularly loved the freshly squeezed juices made from exotic Amazonian fruits. We ate together in the common area with the other guests. It was a nice way to meet the other travellers and talk about our trips, where we were all from, etc.

Amazon Discovery Lodge Carlos
Here is our guide, Carlos! He was bilingual in Spanish and English, and was super friendly. He really seemed passionate about the Amazon and showing us all it had to offer. We couldn't have asked for a better guide. He was also very knowledgeable about all the wildlife and plants. He had a very good eye for spotting any animals high up in the trees and was able to immediately distinguish which species/type it was. He also had a lot of interesting stories to tell us about his past, growing up in the rainforests.

Amazon Discovery Lodge Roger
Here is our other guide, Roger! He was the boat driver and second guide. He accompanied us on all our treks, which a machete to clear the way and keep us safe. He didn't speak English at all so I wasn't able to communicate with him but he always had a smile on his face. He was really friendly and patient (especially when I kept losing my bait during our fishing excursion!). He lives in a village close by the lodge.

Amazon Discovery Lodge boat tour
Here is all of us on our boat! The photo was taken with our drone by the way.

Making this post is bringing back a lot of memories and making me really miss the Amazon! I really hope to go back again someday.

During our time there we were lucky to overlap a few days with when the owners of the lodge, an American family, were coming to stay as well. They were extremely nice and friendly. We were so happy to have met them during our visit. It was clear that they truly had a passion for the Amazon and providing the best place for guests to experience and learn about it. It wasn't just a business for them.

If you are planning a trip to the Amazon someday, we highly recommend booking with Amazon Discovery Lodge! You can view their different itineraries here: Amazon Tour Itineraries.

We did the 6-Day one which was a good amount of time. I would definitely recommend at least 4 nights to get a full experience.

Here are my other Amazon posts with what we did each day:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

We are so happy we went with the decision to book them during our time in the Amazon. It was a truly unforgettable experience!

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9.11.2019

713. Peru Trip | Dinner at Kjolle, Lima

Kjolle Lima
With Lima being the food capital of Peru, we wanted to take the opportunity to try a nice restaurant for dinner that night. With a bit of research, we discovered the top restaurant there is Central, which is currently ranked 6th in the world! Unsurprisingly, they booked up months in advance. So we went to the next best place - their sister restaurant, Kjolle. They are located within the same building. The owners/co-chefs are a husband and wife team named Virgilio Martínez and Pia León who also live on the property they work. The wife, Pia, opened Kjolle last year. She is hailed as Latin America's best female chef.

Kjolle (pronounced "koy-ay") is named after a tree that grows at extreme altitudes. The tree produces a yellow flower that is fermented to make spirits and sauces. A lot of ingredients in Peruvian cuisine are only found at high altitudes which is what makes them so unique.

The menu at Kjolle features fresh ingredients found all over Peru, many ingredients being indigenous to the country's diverse landscapes and even some from the Amazonian jungles.

The food was incredible and very flavourful. Everything was beautifully plated. The atmosphere in the restaurant was tranquil and elegant, with very minimalist style decor. The staff was excellent. They were very knowledgeable in all the dishes, and knew just the right time to come and retrieve an empty plate or refill our glasses without infringing on privacy.

I loved the whole experience a lot and highly recommend it.

Kjolle drink Lima
Each table was offered this drink before starting. I completely forgot what it was but I really loved it.

Kjolle bread Lima
The bread was delicious! We asked for a second loaf after devouring this one. It was freshly made (we saw them being baked outside in their garden when we entered) from the stone oven/pit straight to our table. It was really soft and light inside.

Kjolle Lima
We ordered several dishes to share. I believe this was the "sea bass and razor clams" and at the top is "squash and crustacean".

Kjolle Restaurant Lima
The bottom dish is yucca. I have to admit I don't remember at all what the top two were.

Kjolle Lima
I believe this was pork belly.

Kjolle Dessert Lima
This dessert was so good!! It was a mixture of cacao, coconut chunks and honey.

Kjolle Lima
Kjolle Lima
Kjolle Lima
On the first floor they have some ingredients on display.

Kjolle Lima
This is the entrance to the restaurants.

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9.02.2019

712. Peru Trip | One Day in Lima

Leftbanked Despacito Lima
Our Peru trip started off in Lima, its capital city. It was the most convenient city to fly into from Toronto. If we weren't flying in and out from there, we probably would have left Lima off the list. There isn't a whole lot to see and do there, and one day was definitely enough to explore the city. My favourite thing about Lima is the food there. Before coming on the trip, I was told/heard multiple times that Peruvian food is really good..and Lima is like the "food capital" of Peru. Unfortunately we don't have many Peruvian restaurants here in Toronto but the ones that I've tried, I really loved.

Now after having visited several different parts of the country, I can safely say the food in Lima is the best. I loved everything we had in Lima, even the hotel breakfast was the best out of all subsequent hotels.

One of the highlights of our time in Lima was dinner at Kjolle, one of the best restaurants in the city. I will make another post of it next time. Besides that, we just walked around Plaza de Armas (the main square) and Larcomar (area beside the coast).

Plaza de Armas Lima
Lima Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas Lima
Lima food
Our first meal in Lima was here. I don't remember the name of the place now but the pasta was soooooo good. It tasted so fresh and flavourful. To be honest I was quite surprised how good it was as it wasn't a fancy place or known restaurant in particular. We just went into the first decent place we found on the street. After that I realized that what I heard about the food in Lima was indeed true.

Classic Red Beetle Car
There are a lot of these red cars there.

Kennedy Park Miraflores
We stayed at a hotel in Miraflores that was close to Kennedy Park. It was FULL of stray cats. There are 6 in this photo.

Lima Peru
Larcomar Lima
Larcomar Lima Coastline
This is Larcomar, a shopping area beside the coast. We just came for photos but didn't have time to walk around the stores.

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8.28.2019

711. Peru Trip | Amazon Rainforest Trek

Amazon jungle
We've been back for a few weeks now and I still go through moments of really missing being in the Amazon and on vacation in general. I enjoy making these posts though to relive it in a way. This is the final post of the Amazon (for now). After this I will go back and finish the rest of the posts from the other cities.

On our second last day, we went on a long walk through a rainforest in a new area. I really loved it. It was exactly how I pictured an Amazon rainforest to be like. Thick with vegetation and a LOT (!!!) of insects. That part I didn't like.

Can you spot our guide in the photo above?

Amazon Jungle
We arrived on the banks of the actual Amazon river, and pulled up to this tiny village. During wet season, the water level goes up several meters and the bridge is absolutely necessary. It was pretty rickety.

house in the Amazon jungle
The chief of the village lives in this house. To the left corner you can see a very small white cat.

small white cat
It was so tiny and dirty :(

Amazon Jungle house
Amazon livestock
rooster
Amazon Jungle
The cat is also in this photo in case you miss it.

despacito Amazon
Ready to enter the rainforest!

Amazon Jungle Walk
This one felt more "wild" than any of the others we've explored.

Amazon Jungle Trek
Amazon rainforest walk
Amazon rainforest walk
house in the Amazon jungle
About an hour into the walk we reached this house. The owners were not there (according to our guide they were probably out hunting for animals such as armadillos, anteaters, monkeys, birds etc). They are a very young family. The father is only 22 years old while the mother is 16. They have a 2 year old child. They happily live here in isolation. On the bottom is the kitchen and the top level is where they sleep (I didn't even notice the '2nd floor' at first). The oven for cooking is on the left. They had a pack of very skinny and underfed dogs, a lot of chickens, roosters and ducks..and a bunch of trees containing different fruits surrounding the property. Whenever I travel I love observing how the local people live. It's so interesting to me, especially people who actually live in the Amazon and are completely self-sustainable. Quite a difference to life in the city.

rooster
house in the Amazon
banana trees Amazon
Banana tree

Blue Morpho butterfly
Blue Morpho butterfly
This is a Blue Morpho butterfly. I was trying unsuccessfully to take a good shot of its open wings when I turned around and saw our guide had caught one for us lol

house in the Amazon jungle
Nearing the end of our walk..we came across another home.

exotic fruits from The Amazon
Exotic fruits. Our guide cut one for us to try.

fruit from the Amazon
It didn't taste like much. Maybe a slight lychee taste.

interesting clouds
kids from the Amazon
The kids were really curious about us and followed us around near the end. I think they are not used to getting visitors.

Amazon fish nets
This man is completely blind in both eyes and spends his days making and fixing fish nets by feel/touch.

Amazon man
Canalito rum The Amazon
We visited a rum factory and had lunch there.

Peruvian lunch
cat
There were a couple cats on the property. I shared most of my lunch with them.

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