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Special Interest Programs
Academic Work-Shop Itinerary
7 Days / 6 Nights
(University - High School - Middle School)
Amazon Rain Forest as a classroom for natural history, ecology, biology, physics & chemistry
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to actually take your students out of
their classroom and immerse them in a rain forest environment where an abundance of plant, animal,
fish, bird and insect habitat flourishes, and where over 50% of the plant and animal life on
Planet Earth lives? It may not be unrealistic to consider doing so and we're here to show you how
it can be done - as we have for many professors, teachers and their students throughout the 40 years
of developing and running Explorama Lodges along the Peruvian Amazon River and its tributaries
in Iquitos, Peru.
Trading classroom seats and textbooks for trails and open-air lectures, the students find
themselves in nature's laboratory listening to experienced, indigenous instructors & guides who are
expert in their respective disciplines. Why do columns of ants march in unison carrying tiny parasols
cut from leaves? What animals, insects and birds live on the Forest Floor? In the Understory? In the
Canopy, and in the Emergent levels of the rain forest? Or, while rocking gently along river's edge
in one of Explorama's exploratory-equipped boats, students are exposed to the amazing diversity of
fishes found in the waters of the Amazon that contain the largest variety of freshwater fish on earth.
Cast a net. Haul it in and hundreds of brightly colored species are flipping ready to be examined.
Students learn the identity of random species and their habits, and how some interact with the forest
as major seed dispersers - but all are released back to the water, unharmed except of course the
piranhas that you might want to try for dinner!
One hundred miles down river from Iquitos, along trails in Explorama's privately
owned primary rainforest, a shaman caresses his medicinal plants and patiently explains how
medicines derived from his plants are used to treat various ailments of the local indigenous
people, and the student is reminded that approximately one fourth of the pharmaceuticals used
in the industrialized world come from similar plants of the tropical rain forest. And
everywhere, students observe first hand the epiphytes that cling to trees: beautiful orchids,
bromeliads and ferns and are shown how a bromeliad's leaf tank can hold less that a pint to
more then 10 gallons of water, and how the tank is home to communities of small creatures including
bacteria, mosquitoes, tadpoles and other animals. The experiences of the rain forest are
endless and constantly befuddle and amaze even the most learned visitor, and it is truly a
living laboratory of timeless discoveries.
Following is a sample 7 Day / 6 Night Amazon Rain Forest student itinerary. Any itinerary can
be revised to match your particular area of study, and we would
be pleased to work with you on developing a personalized program. We will also help you with
obtaining the best air fares from your home town/city to Iquitos, Peru and we will also walk you
through such items as suggested clothing, recommended shots, what to expect when visiting villages
along the Amazon and other points of interest that you, your students or their families may have.
Iquitos - Explorama Lodge
Reception at the airport and transfer to the center of the bustling city of Iquitos. Your guide will
take you on a tour of this rubber boom town where many of the buildings are covered in tile brought as
ballast to Iquitos from Portugal by the rubber barons. You will also have a chance to see the central
market of Belen where tropical fruits and fish are sold in an open market. From the market you will
continue on to Explorama's boat docks and travel down the Amazon River to Explorama Lodge. There will
be an orientation upon arrival and hike along the "Lake Trail" through lowland rain forest which is
seasonally flooded. Your guide will explain the differences between the plants and animals that inhabit
the flooded forest as compared to the terra firme forest on higher ground.
Lunch, Dinner (Overnight Explorama Lodge)
Morning hike along the "Bushmaster Trail". Scientific studies by the Missouri Botanical Gardens have
found one of the highest biodiversity of trees per square hectare in the world along this trail. Your
guide will point out many examples of native plants used as ornamental plants in other parts of the
world. If you are quiet and lucky you may also find poison dart arrow frogs, squirrel monkeys or
marmosets along this trail. Afternoon boating excursion along the Amazon in search of either of the
two species of freshwater dolphin, pink and gray, found in the river. There will also be an
opportunity for fishing to see the some of the incredible diversity of fish in the Amazon River,
including piranha, and where more species exist than in the entire Atlantic Ocean.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Overnight Explorama Lodge)
Explorama Lodge - ExplorNapo Lodge
After breakfast, you will visit a neighboring Yagua Indian Community where your guide will explain
their culture and how their way of life has changed over time. There will also be an opportunity to
see some of the local crafts and for a demonstration of the blowgun, which some Yagua elders still
use for hunting. After lunch a boat ride down the Amazon and up the Napo River takes you to the
ExplorNapo Amazon Rainforest Reserve and ExplorNapo Lodge. You will stop on the way to visit a
river clinic run by an American doctor for local residents where she will talk about health issues of
the area and how she is able to treat them. Evening excursion by open boat along the Sucusari Stream
in search of caiman, to enjoy the night sounds and, if it is a clear night, to see the stars and
constellations of the Southern sky.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Overnight ExplorNapo Lodge)
Morning excursion to visit a local community and school. Here you will learn about the "riberenos"
or river people's way of life which depends on the movements of the mighty rivers and the rain forest
around them. Hopefully school will be in session and the students will proudly teach you some of their
favorite songs. Afternoon boating excursion to a blackwater oxbow lake formed when water from the
Napo River became separated from the main flow of the river. These lakes provide another environment
within the rain forest and are often covered with giant Victoria Amazonica water lilies. You may
also see the elusive Hoatzin bird, a prehistoric-looking bird that is born with claws at the end
of its wings.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Overnight ExplorNapo Lodge)
ExplorNapo Lodge - ACTS
Morning hike to ACTS, Amazon Conservatory for Tropical Studies, and visit to
the Canopy Walkway, a suspended bridge spanning 500 meters, connected by tree platforms and reaching a
height of over 115 feet above the forest floor. Here there is time to observe a part of the rain forest
rarely seen by man but accessible without any type of climbing skill or equipment. Your guide will
discuss the importance of light in the battle for growth of the trees and how the plants must
adapt to the very different environments on the forest floor and at the top of the canopy. Afternoon
hike along the Useful Plants Trail where your guide will point out many plants, seen here growing
in primary rain forest, which are used by local residents in the construction of their homes, canoes
and tools. There will be an opportunity to revisit the Canopy Walkway after dark and to stop along
the path to the Walkway where, when you turn off your flashlight, phosphorescent fungi appear like
stars on the forest floor at night.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Overnight ACTS)
ACTS - Ceiba Tops
Early morning pre-breakfast visit to the Canopy Walkway which is the best time for bird watching. After
breakfast you will walk back to ExplorNapo and board boats for the trip to Ceiba Tops where hotel-style
rooms with air conditioning and hot water provide more of the comforts of home and a start for your
return to civilization. There will be time to enjoy the pool, water slide and Jacuzzi before lunch.
Afternoon hike in the primary and secondary forest surrounding Ceiba Tops where your guide will explain
the difference between these two forest types and where you will see many huge trees literally covered
in epiphytes including the immense Ceiba or Kapok Tree for which the lodge is named. A night walk
around Ceiba Tops will reveal a wide variety of katydids, moths and other insects attracted by the
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Overnight Ceiba Tops)
Ceiba Tops - Iquitos
Morning boat excursion to "Monkey Island", a private reserve where more than five species of tropical
primates including small tamarins, saki, titi and large woolly monkeys are protected. Afternoon boat
trip to Iquitos and transfer to the airport for your departure flight to Lima.
Breakfast, Lunch (if departure flight permits)
Special Service Project Option - A day in a local Amazonian village
Marcos Oversluijs, a biology graduate from UNAP, the local University in Iquitos,
organizes productive conservation-based projects for visiting student groups interested
in working hand in hand with village students and adults to make a difference in their
communities. In 2008, Marcos led 23 Service Projects for groups of students visiting
His community projects include the following:
- A school painting project such as the front of the school or interior.
- A planting project such as fruit trees around the soccer field, garden in front
of the school or raised vegetable garden.
- A construction project such as latrines, benches, perimeter fence for school
property or fence for gardens.
- Ecological signs for the school grounds and gardens and at the end of the project.
- Time for a soccer or volleyball game or swimming in the river for some fun with the
Depending on the number of students, Marcos suggests teams of students for each project and
Explorama will make sure that students from the river communities are a part of each team.
The projects take about half a day and include a box lunch of 'juanes' (wrapped chicken
and rice dish), fruit, juice and cookies.
Planning these projects involves trips by Marcos to the community to organize supplies
provided by the community like wood necessary for construction, and to assure that the
event is well coordinated. Explorama will purchase all additional supplies necessary to
complete the projects such as seedlings, compost, tools, paint, brushes, etc.
If your student group would like to include a Service Project as part of their itinerary,
please include a donation of $450 which will be used to pay all expenses not covered by
*Due to the everchanging nature of the rain forest,
day-by-day activities may vary due to local conditions*
Academic Work-Shop Itinerary
contact us for special Academic rates.