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Estancia Bello Horizonte
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Reviewed 2 October 2013

The Estancia Bello Horizonte Lodge is located approximately 20 kms by road from the Peruvian town of Puerto Maldonado. It is located in a tropical rainforest of the Amazon Basin on a hill away from the many rivers in the area.
On arrival at the Puerto Maldonado airport we were met by Freddy and a driver from the Lodge. We were first taken to the office in town for supplies to be taken on board for transport to the Lodge. On arrival we were not required to check in as we were told the Lodge had all our details from the on line booking we had made.
We were surprised to find that our party of three were the only guests at the Lodge at that time. During the evening, however, of the first day, two young couples from Europe arrived at the Lodge and we joined them for meals, drinks and excursions. A most enjoyable time.
We were given a choice of occupying bungalows but we opted for rooms with “en suites” in the thatched roof dormitory block of five rooms because of its nearness to the dining room and bar.
The rooms were basic. They consisted of bare wooden walls, a single bed, a side table and wooden storage shelves. The bed was enclosed by a mosquito net. Windows to the room has mosquito netting over them and some wooden slats acting as blinds which some time in a previous life could be opened and shut. Now they were frozen solid, open.
The bathroom attached to the rear had a sink, a toilet and a rudimentary shower which sometimes had hot water. There was no need to worry about water escaping from the shower base onto the wooden floor as the cracks between the floor boards permitted the water to drain away to the ground below. One towel and a hand towel and one cake of soap were provided for the 4 day stay.
The dividing wall between the bathrooms of two adjoining rooms was around 2.4 metres high with an opening above permitting guests to be aware of what was happening in the bathroom of their neighbours. It should be pointed out that not all adjoining rooms had adjoining bathrooms.
There was electricity during the hours from around 6.00pm to around 6.00am. Wi Fi was intermittent at best. So I suggest you forget about outside communication while staying at the Lodge.
Approximately 400 metres from the main area of the Lodge was a swimming pool and child’s pool. It should be noted that the 400 metres traversed a steep slope through dense vegetation. The pool was partly full, the PVC pool liner having dark patches of mould on it and a large resident frog at one end. Better, I was told, than the odd Cayman that found its way into it. The surrounding area was unkempt with long grass and thatched buildings stocked with plastic chairs. The perception was that the pool was not regarded as an important feature of the Lodge although it is highlighted in its publicity blurbs.
Unfortunately this perception of the pool area was carried through to the rest of the Lodge. It gave the impression that the Lodge had seen better days and not much attention was given to maintaining the physical surroundings of the Lodge.
Three meals a day were included in the rate. A cooked breakfast was provided and a 3 course dinner was provided at night. Lunch was either in the dining room or was packed if guests were to be away for the day. The food was tasty although at one time there was only one piece of bread (a roll) for breakfast as the Lodge had run out of supplies. Freddy organised the timing of the meals to fit in with the programme of events. The meals were tasty and served at a long table in the dining room. On our last night the Lodge ran out of beer.
It is worth noting that there are no laundry facilities at the Lodge and the humidity makes drying of hand washed items difficult so be prepared.
After we had lunch and settled in our rooms Freddy arranged for us to meet with him early afternoon to explain the programme. It went something along the following lines:
That afternoon of day 1 we were to join him in a couple of hours walk along the Castanal rainforest trail to enable us to become familiar with our surroundings and view the “botanic” gardens.
Day 2 we were to set out on a 6 km walk through the rainforest to Loboyoc Creek where we were to travel down it in a boat searching for wildlife. At early evening we were to assemble in the grounds of the Lodge to watch local birdlife.
Day 3 we were to set out at 5.00am to join a boat on the Madre de Dios River and travel to a clay lick to watch the parrots. We than had a choice of taking a 3 km walk to visit the Sandoval oxbow lake, home to giant otters or to Taricaya ecological reserve to undertake a canopy walk. An extra charge was to be made for the second option. A packed breakfast and lunch was supplied. At the conclusion of the trip we were taken to an ice cream parlour in Puerto Maldonado in a complex associated with the Lodge for refreshments at the guests’ costs. At night we were to take a walk through the rain forest looking for wild life, notably Caymans.
Day 4 was set aside for an early morning visit to the Puerto Maldonado market followed by a visit to one of the orphanages supported by the Lodge. Finally we would be dropped off at the airport for our flight.
Basically the programme was adhered to however on the second day it was raining heavily so the Lodge provided rubber boots and ponchos for those who did not have them and we set out in the rain for the 6 km walk. Again this walk was up and down steep gradients across water courses and through dense vegetation. Naturally the walk had to be repeated when we returned.
The excursions were enjoyable, informative and interesting. Freddy is a most affable and knowledgeable guide and companion. We saw many varieties of birds, leafcutter ants, fireflies, and a sloth, a snake, a tarantula, Cayman, otters, tortoises and squirrel monkeys. The number of different species of trees was awesome.
We were shown through the orphanage by a young graduate who was brought up in the orphanage and who now lived alone. She was informative, wedded to the cause and a fine example of what the Lodge was achieving through its support of the orphanage.
Although there were some shortcomings in the surroundings of the Lodge Freddy and his team ensured that everything went according to plan. Guests staying here should remember that the Lodge is located in the Amazon basin and should expect the Lodge to reflect this.
All in all an enjoyable and informative stay made all the better by the care and attention given by Freddy and his team.

Room Tip: Dormitory rooms are near the dining room.
  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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4  Thank crocnsw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 May 2013

One of my favourite places in Peru. The lodge and grounds have a great atmosphere, are well kept & the staff welcoming. Our room was clean & simple, with a beautiful view. The food was generous, fresh & tasty,with different juices to drink everyday, cooked & served with such care. The packed lunches were outstanding. Eating risotto wrapped in banana leaves high up on an observation platform in the forest was a real pleasure.
Best of all was Freddy,our guide, such a good guy,who spoke good English, & took great care in showing us around.

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank jauntsa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2013

Freddy was a fantastic guide who, contrary to a review two years ago claiming his English isn't up to much, speaks fluent English. (learning French too)

We visited a coulpe of other lodges which were on the river meaning there is no view but jungle and river. Here we woke up to a view of sunrise over mile after mile of rainforest. There is a swimming pool a short walk away and miles of jungle walks on site. The food was tremendous and all staff polite and helpful. Only problem was that we had only two nights here, could have quite happily spent a week here.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank YorkshireMatt_17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2012 via mobile

We stayed here with two grandparents, two parents, and two kids. We did the three night tour and were very happy with the lodge and especially our guide, Fredy. Fredy found all sorts of cool animals and plants, told us all about them, and guided us away from the very large poisonous snake that we would never have seen on our own. He told us local stories and made sure we were comfortable and happy. He was the highlight of our trip. The room was a bit cramped for four of us. The mosquito nets were fine, as was the bathroom, though not fully private as the wall did not go all the way up to the ceiling of the adjoining room. The food and service was excellent. There was a beautiful view from the place out over the rainforest as the place sits on a hill. We would sit there and listen to the birds squabbling. There was even quite a nice pool with a simple pump bringing fresh, clean water to it. Overall, a nice place and we recommend it. Don't forget to request Fredy!

  • Stayed: July 2012
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4  Thank teachcolorado
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2012

My husband and I spent two nights here. The Amazon itself is unbearably hot and humid but so beautiful! This Eco lodge is great because of the warmth and friendliness of the staff...they are attentive and even though they don't speak the best English they are extremely willing to help. The rooms were basic but clean and during our entire stay we thankfully did not have a single encounter with a creepy crawly! The food was delicious, they catered to our dietary needs (I don't eat beef or pork) and we were treated to fresh Peruvian meals, even when on the tours! Our guide Freddy was really great! We were up early to see the parrots at the clay lick and then we went on a 3km hike and a boat trip around Lake Sandoval. An experience we will never forget! When we got back to the lodge, we hiked a km to a clear cool pool - It was so much fun splashing about in the middle of the jungle and a much needed relief from the heat :)

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank saiyuri m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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