Getting to the Tapiche Reserve

Vince, our friend Jordi, and I recently returned from a fantastic trip to a remote jungle reserve in the Peruvian Amazon.  While I will have a lot to say about the Tapiche Reserve in later posts, I’m going to start with an informative post about how to actually get to Tapiche, which was a journey by itself.

Vince and I started with an early morning flight from Detroit to Fort Lauderdale.  We flew on Spirit Airlines since they had the best rates, but this meant packing light (not a problem for us now that we’ve flown on budget airlines multiple times).  We had a long layover in Fort Lauderdale, so we hit the beach, and ran into some crazy looking spiders along the way.

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From Fort Lauderdale, we boarded another flight destined for Lima.  We arrived late, meeting up with Jordi at the airport.  We took an Uber to our hostel, Hostel el Patio, in the Miraflores district of the city.  Hostel el Patio was reasonably priced, clean, comfortable, and beautiful with its patio full of cascading plants.  It also included breakfast the next morning, which we ate before returning to the Lima airport for our flight to Iquitos.

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Iquitos is the gateway city for entering the Peruvian Amazon, and is not connected by road to any other major city, meaning the only way to reach it is by plane or boat.  We flew Peruvian Air, which is supposedly more reliable than other local airlines in the area, and arrived in Iquitos on time.   Here, we were met by a driver who works with the reserve.  He transported us the the Green Track Hostel, which is also run by Tapiche.  While we checked in, we got a briefing about how transport to the reserve the following day would work.  We also met Ben and Rebecca, the two other travelers who would be on the trip with us.  Then, we went out to explore Iquitos, poking around some abandoned boats down by the river.

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In the evening, we went out and had some Maca at the suggestion of Ana, who runs the hostel.  Then we settled down in the common room and watched the newest episode of Game of Thrones.  The next morning we woke up at five, and were quickly transported via Auto Rickshaw to a bus stop.  Ana made sure we all got on the bus, and we were off.  The bus ride took two hours, and dropped us off when the road went no farther.  From there, we got on a passenger boat which typically only transports government employees.  This boat ride was about three hours long, and dropped us off in the port of another city called Requena.  There, we were greeted by Requelmer and Francis who both work at Tapiche.  They helped us load our bags into the much smaller speedboat that would take us to the reserve.  This boat ride took six hours, but we had the opportunity to see many small villages and a lot wildlife along the way.  We also had our first encounter with river dolphins.

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When we finally reached the reserve we were more than ready to be done with boats for the evening.  Katoo, Tapiche’s owner, greeted us at the dock and showed us around, assigning the houses that we would stay in for the next three nights.  Vince, Jordi, and I got the newest hut, which had a loft with a double bed, and a single bed on the main floor.  The walls were made of mosquito netting, and there were also nets covering the beds.

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After we stowed our bags in our rooms, Katoo showed us the hammock area for relaxing in the afternoons, the kitchen/dining area, and the baby turtles that he was almost ready to release into the jungle.  Then the three of us poked around the surrounding forest a bit before dinner.  When it was finally time for bed, we were surprised to find a giant tree frog in our bathroom.  This would become a nightly occurrence.

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Soon, we crashed into bed to get some sleep for our four o’clock wake up time the next morning.  We were exhausted and ready to rest, but excited for our adventure to begin the next morning.

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