When the van pulled up at Wasai Lodge, a hotel in Puerto Maldonado, we could see the elegant water features and beautiful shrubbery inside the lobby. Little did we know, this was all just a façade. I’m exaggerating a bit, of course, but the truth was we did have an awful experience here.
The hotel was positioned on a hill and we were the very last room down, all the way in the bottom corner of the property. We should’ve noticed the warning signs at the time. The restaurant on the neighboring property was bringing in audio equipment in preparation for some big event. We had a feeling that it could be a loud not, but we figured there was a chance it could be over at 10 or 11 because it was a week night. The hotel room itself was very modest, but we had low expectations going in so we did not go in. We did however want to find out about the event that night. We approached the front desk, but before we could speak with the lady, someone beat us to the punch. A man came running through the lobby, wearing nothing but a bath towel. This was a bold move, but it definitely helped him get the attention he needed to file his complaint. “There’s no hot water in the shower!” he said. “I need to switch rooms”.
I tried my best to hold back laughter. This man got into a cold shower was so infuriated he not only felt it was worth complaining to the front desk about it, he didn't even take the time to get dressed. He just grabbed a towel and marched right upstairs to the front desk. The best part is, he was asking for a new room, and utterly ridiculous request for what was at most an inconvenience. Luckily, I had been taking cold showers almost every morning for years, and this was among the many scenarios I had been training for. Overall, I would say very few of the places we stayed at had reliable showers. Some were cold, some were too hot and some would oscillate between freezing cold and scalding hot, so it’s best to just be prepared for anything here.
After the man left, we asked about the nearby event. “that’s just a wedding” the lady said “it should be over at around 10 or 11.” This was just what we wanted to hear, the crisis was avoided for the time being. We went to go walk around the city and look for a place to eat. I have to say, the food in Puerto Maldonado is not much compared to Lima and Cusco, but I am sure you can find a few places here. Semillas is actually a very good place, particularly for Vegans and Vegetarians. The café has delicious fresh baked bread and a few different salads, sandwiches and pastries. I found it difficult to find decent food in Puerto Maldonado, but I had a wonderful avocado toast and fruit smoothie here that really hit the spot. From where we sat, we had a good view of the whole city, and we could see where they were building a park right next door. I’m sure once the park was built it would really tie the city together.
It was kind of fun walking through the streets of Puerto Maldonado. It reminded us of being in Thailand together because everyone was riding motorbikes and Tuk Tuks. There are very few cars here, apparently because they are very expensive to import. The infrastructure just started picking up in Puerto Maldonado because of the construction of the bridge. This giant orange bridge known as the Brillinghurst, connects the city with the rest of South America. Once you use it to cross the Rio Madres de Dios, you can get to both Brazil and Bolivia in about 2 hours. We had a nice view of this bridge from our hotel and I’m sure that was one of the big selling points of Wasai.
When we got back to the hotel, we could see a bright red moon in the sky. This was incredible and it seemed like we were one of the only ones to see this rare phenomenon. I pointed it out to a few people so they could enjoy it, but after only 10 minutes or so, the moon had turned back to its regular color. This was still an incredible sight to see. As beautiful as this moment was, it would soon be shattered by the loud music coming from the wedding next door. Luckily we were about 50 feet away from the dancefloor and had a screen window. This was beyond impossible to ignore. Not only did this loud music prevent me from sleeping, it prevented me from even thinking. There was no escape from it either, I was considering sleeping in the bathroom. I usually am tolerant of things like this, but there was no blocking this out. I was furious at the hotel for allowing us to put money down, knowing full well we would not be able to sleep that night.
I took a page out of the cold shower guy’s playbook and ran right up to complain. I used my translation app to tell the guy we wanted our money back. He made a call to his manager and gave us another room that was significantly quieter. We got one of the nicest rooms in the hotel but it still had screen windows so it was still impossible to sleep. The music ended around 2:00, a full 3 hours after they told us, and I fell asleep about 5 minutes after.
The next day we woke up with about 5 hours of sleep under our belt, which was just enough to make it through the flight home. We would be returning to Lima, and waiting for us back in Lima was possibly the best hotel we would stay in! It was called the Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast and it was incredibly well run. You could tell they were used to getting a lot of world travelers and they had a ton of amenities for us. There were beautiful murals on the wall that reminded me of a trendy yoga studio. They even had an extensive DVD collection, which sounds a bit old school but with a DVD player in the room it was actually so much fun! That night we went into town for a nice spaghetti dinner and watched Toy Story 3. It was a good night!