The Amazon Refuge is a complex built on 100 acres of rainforest on the inside edge of a 3-million-acre nature reserve. The Lodge is constructed entirely with naturally fallen trees. Mahogany, Rosewood, Iron Wood, and other Amazon Rainforest Sustainable Products
The purpose of the refuge is to provide safe, comfortable accommodations under the guidance of expert naturalist guides for all visitors
And to offer a rewarding learning platform for nature lovers who wish to experience the true splendor of the Amazon rainforest
There are over 132 species of mammals, 13 of which are primates
The river and lake waters are home to gray and pink dolphins, Amazonian manatees, Giant River Otters, Black Caimans and giant South American River Turtles
Dozens of game fish reach their peak size in our waters; fishing for exotic species does not get better that these lakes and streams. You can join our fishing challenge
Land species include Jaguars, Capuchin Monkeys and Spider Monkeys. The Black Spider Monkey, the Orange-chested Spider Monkey, the Woolly Monkey, and the Howler Monkey are all considered endangered
More than 500 species of birds live here, including five of the eight species of Macaw found in Peru. The prehistoric-looking hoatzin bird is seen here as well and they are seen right at the lodge.
Lodge owner Ken Milsaps rescues a baby Jaguar from the Amazon River
The height of the flood is apparent as we leave the Amazon and enter the mouth of the blackwater tributary. Only the thatched roofs of the village are visible above the water and the people are living on planks placed in the rafters. San Juan de Ayacucho village sits on a low bluff overlooking the confluence of the Yanayacu River and the Amazon. That bluff is now ten feet under water. We're entering the inundated forest, but this year the water level is abnormally high.
Our destination is the Amazon Refuge Wildlife Conservation Center, located fifteen miles upstream from here.
Ten miles from San Juan de Ayacucho is San Juan de Yanayacu, the only other village on the Yanayacu River. It, too, is flooded, and as we are passing by we see some villagers motioning to us and holding up something for us to see. Our motorman steers the large dugout we're in over to the house. They have a small male jaguar cub and want to sell it to us. They found it swimming in the river by itself, separated from it's mother probably due to the crisis conditions of the unusually high floodwaters.
It's a magical moment when I first hold the cub in my hands. This is a direct connection to the wildness of the Amazon jungle and I know I'll treasure the memory of this for the rest of my life. I've been to the jungle before and know how rare experiences like this are.
Juan Carlos Palomino, our guide and owner of Amazon Refuge, arranges the rescue of the jaguar and has plans for it's return to the wild.
The next four days pass like a dream, each with new sights and sounds. The variety of wildlife surrounding the Conservation Center is stunning. Located inside the sphere of influence of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, there is no human habitation upstream from the Center and the absence of hunting pressure results in an abundance of animal life in the area. Macaws, monkeys, caiman, hummingbirds, pink river dolphin, the list goes on and on, all contained in the world's largest natural botanical garden, the Amazon jungle.
A visit to Amazon Refuge is unforgettable and truly the trip of a lifetime.