Tom Crutchfield, Dante Fenolio and Bill Lamar. Most folks know of one, or another, or perhaps all three, but to have them together on the same trip is an unheard of opportunity for fun! These guys have a combined total of 130 or more years of experience with reptiles and amphibians from every corner of the Earth, and one or another of them has visited or done field work or lived in several dozen countries. They love the tropics and are just as excited about its flora, fauna, and people as they were at the beginning of their careers. They are happy to share their experiences and knowledge and just plain fun to hang with.
This is a "Herper Friendly" trip... All about having fun and relaxing. No special skills or knowledge required to join us. Just come and have fun! Want great expert information about what you're seeing in the Amazon?
Want excellent tips on how to obtain a great photo of that frog? Want to hear spellbinding and often hilarious stories about adventures with animals and animal people in far-flung places? Want to do something different, relax, have the time of your life and forget about problems for a magical week? Then this is the trip for you.
Finding Reptiles & Amphibians in the rainforest is just like fishing in the sense that one location can be more productive than another. Drawing upon years of experience and counting, as one always must do, on luck and the weather, we go to places where currently good herping can be found. Success goes hand-in-hand with flexibility: depending on our experience in the immediate area, we may opt to remain there for more time, or we may shift to another spot. We stay adaptable and find the proof of our approach in the numbers of animals and species we encounter on our Herping Trips. What follows is a sample itinerary of just such a trip.
November 2, 2019, Saturday - States - Lima
Fly from the States to Lima. Evening or next morning arrival. (Optional lodging available in Lima if desired.)
November 3, 2019, Sunday - Day 1 - Lima - Iquitos - Explorama Lodge
Arrive to Iquitos on the mid-day flight from Lima. Reception upon arrival and transfer to the boat dock. Get cameras out at this point and essentially keep them ready for the rest of the trip as this place is one huge photo op! Fifty-mile journey down the Amazon River to our lodge, on Yanamono creek (a tributary of the Amazon). Afternoon hike along the "Lake Trail" through lowland rainforest which is seasonally flooded. After dinner, there is an opportunity to walk in the forest at night or visit the Lodge's "Bar Tahuampa" where local musicians play guitar and flute music. Or both! This is mature upland (non-flooded) forest and there is a network of excellent trails for herping. Alternatively, if water level permits, we can ascend a nearby creek and herp from the boat. This creek is good for sleeping Rusty Whipsnakes, Treeboas, Fer-de-Lances, Aquatic Coralsnakes, and amphibians. Overnight Explorama Lodge. (Lunch, Dinner)
November 4, 2019, Monday - Day 2 - Explorama Lodge
Optional early-morning birding trip, which also provides a good chance to see monkeys. After breakfast we’ll hit one of the trails for a slow day hike. This offers a great chance to see mature, upland rainforest, which is a botanical wonderland as well as home to hundreds of reptile and amphibian species. This area was sampled years ago by identifying the species of trees in a 5-acre plot. There were almost as many as the species of trees in the entire lower 48 states of the USA! Geckos, anoles, swampsnakes, whipsnakes, poison frogs, leaf toads and numerous others are all good candidates for viewing on hikes like this. After lunch we’ll either take another trail or else work the lodge grounds as the forest edge is a great place to find things and to take photographs. After dinner we’ll take a night hike and this is when things really start to happen. Night walks, aside from being fun and entertaining, are the best way to locate not only secretive nocturnal herps but also to find those that are day-active as they sleep. Coralsnakes, snail-eaters, boas, tree runners, and everything from monkey frogs to treefrogs to laughing frogs are all likely candidates on this walk. And let’s not even start on the fantastic and weird invertebrates! The Tahuampa Bar will be open for those who prefer to rest as well as for everyone after the night hike. Overnight Explorama Lodge. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
November 5, 2019, Tuesday - Day 3 - Explorama Lodge
Another day of exploring the trails in search of herps... actually, any wildlife we find will be fair-game for photos. This is a productive locale. Herps abound in the area and we have found Boa constrictors, Emerald and Amazon Treeboas, Liana Snakes, Calico Snakes, several species of coralsnake, and Bothriopsis taeniata in the area, as well as Ceratophrys cornuta and a host of other amphibians. Evening excursion by boat in search of caiman and treeboas, to enjoy the night sounds and, if it is a clear night, to see the incredible stars of the southern sky. Overnight Explorama Lodge. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
November 6, 2019, Wednesday - Day 4 - Canopy Walkway - Ceiba Tops Lodge
Morning trip 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 rainforest rarely seen by man but accessible without any type of climbing skill or equipment. We’ll store most of our gear at the main lodge and carry daypacks (assistance available if needed). Later in the afternoon we may hike to the the Medicinal and Useful Plant Garden where a local shaman will point out the way that many of the plants, seen here growing in primary forest, are used by local residents in the construction of their homes, canoes and tools as well as describe some of their medicinal properties. The herping can be excellent here. We have found Philodryas argenteus, Oxybelis fulgidus, three species of Calico Snakes, corals, fer-de-lances, and even a bushmaster in this forest. Late afternoon travel to Ceiba Tops Lodge. Depending upon the route we use you may pass the town of Francisco de Orellana, where a statue is erected to the intrepid explorer who in 1542 at the mouth of the Napo River became the first European to see and descend the Amazon River. Arrive in time to enjoy the pool! Overnight Ceiba Tops Lodge. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
November 7, 2019, Thursday - Day 5 - Ceiba Tops Lodge
At Ceiba Tops, private rooms with air conditioning and hot water showers provide a nice touch. Here you will also find a beautiful pool set in a garden of native flora... with a water slide! Enjoy relaxing in the pool while beautiful macaws come to drink from the water as it falls into the pool. Morning herping on the extensive trail system that has yielded bushmasters, fer-de-lance, boa constrictors, Amazon mudsnakes, anacondas, Amazon watersnakes, iguanas, Amazon Tegus, and enormous Smokey Jungle Frogs. Afternoon open boat excursion along the Amazon in search of either of the two species of freshwater dolphin and maybe a visit to a Yagua indigenous village, where your guide will show you a way of village life where people's day-to-day activities depend on the mighty rivers surrounding them. Ceiba Tops is a perfect location for more night herping for those up to it! Overnight Ceiba Tops. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
November 8, 2019, Friday - Day 6 - Ceiba Tops Lodge - Iquitos
A morning walk in the beautiful primary rainforest reserve around Ceiba Tops including a visit to the huge Ceiba Tree for which the lodge is named. Afternoon return to Iquitos and transfer to the Garden House Hotel. Iquitos is loaded with interesting sites, shops are filled with handicrafts, beautiful hand-painted or woven textiles, exquisite pottery, hammocks, and the like. This evening’s dinner is NOT included in the price, but we will all gather at one of the many colorful Iquitos restaurants, after which we can enjoy the fun Iquitos nightlife. Overnight Garden House Hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch)
November 9, 2019, Saturday - Day 7 - Iquitos - Lima - States
Late morning transfer from your hotel to the Iquitos airport to board your early afternoon flight to Lima. (Note a flight out of Iquitos later in the day will require you to check out of your hotel room around noon and store your luggage at the front desk. Transportation to the Iquitos airport will be provided at the appropriate time.) In Lima, make your evening or early next morning flight back to the States. (Breakfast)
PRICE per person in DOUBLE accommodation
with minimum of 10 people:
10 - 12 people @ $2206 per person
13 - 14 people @ $2075 per person
15 + people @ $1929 per person
Price for each individual will be based upon
the TOTAL number participating in the tour as indicated above.
Single Supplement: +$210
NOTE to Single Travelers: If you would rather NOT lodge in SINGLE accommodations, it may be possible to share a room with another Single Traveler. This option is subject to availability. Please request.
FLIGHTS are NOT included. Please see our suggestions on airlines and routes for your flights to Peru.
Amazon Herping Expedition Flights
November 2 - 9, 2019 Flight Suggestions
INCLUDED: Transfers by car, bus, boat, lodging at lodges and hotel, meals as listed in the Itinerary, guided wildlife excursions, the fun company of Tom, Bill and Dante. Free 24 hour Wi-Fi at most of the lodges we stay.
NOT INCLUDED: Personal expenses. Gratuities to local guides (NOT hosts) and lodge staff. Meals not listed in the Itinerary. Drinks and snacks at the lodge and hotel bars.
OPTION to extend your travel in Peru by several days with a tour to Cuzco and Machu Picchu.
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... or if you are ready to join us:
"Dear Green Tracks...just had to write and tell you how much I enjoyed my herping adventure! I've never done anything like this and didn't know what to expect but I'm so glad I went! The lodges were clean and comfortable and the food was good ....the activities were well organized without being overly structured... Bill along with the guides from Explorama were the icing on the cake....extemely knowledgeable, personable, and just fun to talk to...i would highly recommend Green Tracks to anyone looking for a trip slightly out of the ordinary...well done!"
- Heather Krane
"If there is any chance for you to take a trip to the Amazon with GreenTracks....do it! There is absolutely NOTHING like the Amazon jungle in the world.......I’ve visited various jungles in South America but nothing compares to the Amazon....It’s age is apparent and you’d know you’re in an ancient and amazing place even with your eyes closed. It’s beauty and diversity is truly soul filling......it’s the birthplace of the world! You will never experience anything more amazing than watching a sunset or sunrise in the canopy a hundred feet in the air........or see a pink dolphin surface near you with a reed in it’s mouth in playful pose......fresh delicious food, gracious staff at all the lodges and an amazing experience! Once you’ve been there, you’ll never get the Amazon out of your blood."
- Meg Francoeur
"For anyone considering the 2018 GreenTracks Amazon Herping Tour led by Tom Crutchfield, Dante Fenolio and Bill Lamar I recommend it without reservation. I say this with some experience and perspective. I've traveled to the tropics many times, even leading a couple of trips for the zoological society. I had been to the Amazon twice before. The GreenTracks Amazon Herping Tour was by far my best experience. The Amazon rainforest contains the highest biodiversity on the planet and the depth and breadth of the knowledge of the leaders was unparalleled. The accommodations were comfortable, the food good. I cannot overstate the value of my experience."
- David Grow
"It was amazing, life changing. I had the most fun I have ever had on this trip. Nothing will ever be as good as herping in the Amazon rainforest. Thank you so very much for coordinating the trip!"
- Ryan Vilardo
"I love the canopy walk! I have joined the GreenTracks Herpetology trip twice now. And long after my return, I cannot stop thinking about these adventures. I come back with my brain and soul refreshed and revived. If you have ever dreamed of seeing the Amazon and the wondrous creatures who live there, these are the people to go with!"
- Midge Marchaterre
"It was absolutely fantastic! Having gone twice, it's amazing how each experience can still be so unique. The canopy was just as breathtaking the second time, and there was never a dull moment. One of the greatest things about these trips is how people from all different backgrounds, interests, and skill sets can come together and the trip is tailored to make everyone feel included. I've made some great friends and also can't say enough about how great the guides and hosts are. It was great to see them again and I can't wait to see them next year."
- Katie Harness
My trip with Green Tracks to Amazonian Peru in 2015 was an extraordinary trip. What started as a way to spend some quality time with a dear old friend turned into a herpetological and botanical adventure. The guides were extremely knowledgeable, excited, and patient with the tourists, and Dante’ Fenolio deserves special kudos for his willingness to share his photographic expertise with those less experienced (which is virtually everyone else on the planet). That area could rightly be called Nature’s Classroom, and we all learned a great deal, and had a great deal of fun as well. Well done, Green Tracks!
- Andy Snider