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Excursion boat Huitoto, 1960+-.  Photo courtesy of Dr. Jim Castner

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Explorama's Staff & Guides

A farewell to Explorama's founder, the late Peter Jenson, can be found here.

Pam Bucur
General Manager, Iquitos

Pam Bucur - General Manager

Pam's extensive experience in handling all functions of Explorama Lodges makes her a perfect fit to actively guide the continued success of the company founded by the late Peter Jenson. Activities including financial planning, staffing, maintaining and upgrading the lodges, sales and marketing strategies, meeting the challenges posed by the scientific community and satisfying the diverse rain forest curiosity of countless visitors are challenges that Pam will execute with precision and success.

With academic degrees in Zoology and Science from North Carolina State University and a former teacher of high school Biology, Pam has a unique perspective of what it takes to run a company the size of Explorama with its 100-something employees. Time and business may not permit her to physically travel the streams and tributaries of the Amazon River Basin visiting "Riberenos" villages handing out school supplies to literally thousands of eager teachers and students, but count on her to be sure this yearly event continues on schedule.

Perhaps Pam's crowning achievement, besides tending to her every expanding family, is the organization of a yearly event when Pam travels the Amazon, the Napo River and many of their tributaries to deliver school supplies to literally thousands of village children who would never, ever, be the recipients of such simple items as a notebook, pencils, a pad of paper and books were it not for Pam and Explorama's Adopt-A-School program. If you are interested learning more about the Adopt-A-School program, please visit their website at Adopt-A-School program for complete details.

As you can see from Pam's desk, above picture, she's usually quite busy making sure that things run as smoothly as possible and is ever present either in her office or among guests or staff at the lodges.

Jamie Acevedo
Public Relations Manager & Systems Analyst, Iquitos

Jamie Acevedo -Public Relations Manager & Systems Analyst of Explorama

A native of Lima, Peru, Jamie has worked at Explorama for nearly 20 years and holds the title of Public Relations Manager, and oversees the production of promotional brochures, Explorama's web site and magazine advertising, and represents the company at travel industry trade shows throughout Latin America.

Equally important on Jamie's list of credentials is his expertise in peering into Explorama's future position in the travel marketplace and developing and implementing plans to modernize its facilities, and much to his credit is the construction of the new Ceiba Tops Lodge which satisfies a huge segment of travelers who want rain forest luxury while experiencing its natural biodiversity.

Most recently Jamie has capped a long-held desire to add private bathroom facilities to Explorama's oldest lodge, Explorama Lodge, and now guests have a shower, sink and flush toilet in their room. In addition, he has been instrumental in planning and installing a new "Canopy" communications system providing WiFi Internet and telephone service for Explorama's main lodges. Not that Explorama intends to become 'modern' vs maintaining its 'rusticness', but if emergencies occur anywhere along Explorama's one hundred mile+ penetration into the Amaazon rain forest, its sensible and responsible to be prepared and thankfully, Jamie is just that.

Dr. Linnea Smith
aka 'La Doctora', Iquitos

Dr. Linnea Smith - aka La Doctora

Dr. Smith, affectionately known as La Doctora, really cannot be considered a member of Explorama's 'staff' but she holds a permanent position as one of the most influential people behind Explorama's success because of her dedication to treating the river people ("ribereno") within the vast reaches of Explorama's influence along the Amazon River and its tributaries.

Dr. Smith graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School in 1984 with board certification in internal medicine and while vacationing at Explorama in 1990, decided that here is where her calling was and soon convinced the Rotary Clubs of Duluth, MN and Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, to lend a hand (and money) to build a clinic for the "ribereno" where she could treat them as needed (and if they were willing to be treated) and thus was born the Yanamono Medical Clinic.

Today the clinic has three rooms for treatment, plus a laboratory, office, dental room, and pharmacy. Solar panels provide electricity and a well provides running water, and most of her 2,400 yearly patients arrive at her doorstep by dugout canoe or they walk the forest trails to be treated. It's truly amazing the medical situations Dr. Smith encounters and she has chronicled some in her fascinating book, La Doctora, that can be purchased from a variety of outlets including

You may view Dr. Smith's web page at the The Amazon Medical Project

Paul Caira
Manager/Itinerary Planner, Boston, MA (USA)

Paul Caira (left) and Peter Jenson

Paul has to smile when he recalls an outdoor lobster/clam bake in the Boston area in 1971 when he first met the late John Casey who was then part of Explorama's management staff, and signed on to be Explorama's hotel rep in the States and Canada. So many years ago, and it's been his privilege to have worked with Explorama's staff and to have seen the that company grow from one boat, one lodge and few employees to a fleet of boats, 5 lodges and over 200 employees.

Paul, a travel industry veteran having published hotel directories, managed his hotel reservations company that numbered hundreds of properties worldwide, and developed a hotel voucher system used by Hertz Affordable Europe in the 80s. But now he is quite content to oversee his reservations staff that works exclusively with Paul Caira trying out a blowgun Explorama and having been to all of the lodges, and having hiked the trails and paddled a dugout canoe along the Sucusari River (off the Napo River). He is able to bridge the gap between people who are anxious to experience true rain forest wilderness but who have concerns about what to expect in terms of animals, food selection and choice of lodging.

Yes, the InterNet is a wondrous conveyer of information, as this site demonstrates, but people still like to talk to someone who has 'been there, done that', and who can vouch for the integrity of the services they wish to reserve in a country far from their home town.

Paul's staff is here to answer your questions and to help you plan your itinerary. No pressure, no deadlines, lots of information. Do things at your own pace, take your time because Explorama is an experience-of-a-lifetime and its yours to enjoy.

Elaine Budnik
Reservations Manager, Boston, MA (USA)

Elaine(right) and Dr Linnea Smith

Coming from a background of meeting planning, hotel reservations and travel throughout Latin America and Europe, Elaine brings a wealth of experience to her job of overseeing and taking reservations for Explorama Lodges, and loves every minute of it. She has been to the lodges, as evidenced by the photo to the left (Elaine is on the right with La Doctora), and she proudly displays her piranha catch (photo on the right) after paddling and fishing at stream's edge. So when she is speaking with anyone interested in Explorama's rain forest itineraries, she speaks with authority and enthusiasm and although (affectionately) we try to rein her in, it's not that easy.

Elaine loves to talk about Explorama. A mother wondering if her teenage children will have enough to do need only ask that question and after hanging up, will be convinced that her kids will learn enough to earn high school biology credits after visiting with Explorama's resident shaman and naturalist guides Elaine Budnik reeling in a Piranha at the ReNuPeRu Reserve. Or a honeymoon couple who have chosen to stay at the rustic ExporNapo Lodge only to learn from Elaine that the Matrimonial Suite at Ceiba Tops, with a day's excursion to the Napo's Canopy Walkway, would be more romantic and environmentally more comfortable for such an important occasion, and they'll still have a wonderful and exciting rain forest experience.

In addition to reservations and organizing people's itineraries, Elaine does color commentary for spots that Explorama has on radio station WRMN Chicago, and will often engage listeners with trivia questions: Where does the Amazon River Begin? Answer: In Peru where the Ucayali River meets the Maranon River. Or, Where are pink & gray fresh water dolphins found frolicking together? Answer: Just a few miles downriver from Ceiba Tops.

Elaine is in constant touch with her counterpart in Iquitos, Pam, and communication between the two offices is seamless. Our Boston sales & reservations office plays an important role in the success of Explorama and much of that is attributable to Elaine's personality, dedication and expertise.

Explorama Guides

All of Explorama's guides are local people, raised in the Peruvian rain forest, with an extensive and sensitive knowledge of the ecology and culture of the Amazon. Our guides have an average of 8 to 14 years experience with the company, and while many of them have only completed a few years of formal schooling, all have worked closely with the most prominent scientists in rain forest ecology and conservation. Their expertise is utilized in rainforest workshops, Earthwatch projects, and to assist doctoral students in all areas of rainforest studies.

Explorama guides are able to explain the rainforest on a scientific level, while also expressing a love for the place that only comes from having grown up within it. When traveling with Explorama you can be assured of a warm welcome from the villagers as you learn about their daily life. You will never feel intrusive accompanied by our guides because they share a common background with those who live there. Explorama has also sought to be an integral partner in the life of the local villages we visit by initiating and supporting educational programs for village school children and their teachers.

Management Team

Left - Right
Luis Gonzales (Administrative Manager)
Jaime Acevedo (Sales Manager)
Pam Bucur (Reservations Manager)
Peter Jenson (General Manager)


Back Row; Left - Right
Ricardo Rengifo
Celso Hidalgo
Front Row; Left Right
Percy Reyna
Willy Flores
Basilio Sahuarico
Julio Parano


Back Row; Left - Right
Luis Mayanchi
Segundo Inuma
Roldan Hidalgo
Paul Hoyos
Orlando Guerra
Front Row; Left - Right
Raul Petit
Aristides Arevalo
Cliver Rioja
Lucio Pando

Guides & Staff

Back Row; Left - Right
Maruja Cornejo (Reservations)
Alex Enriquez (Reservations)
Cesar Saboya (Operations)
Viter Ocmin (Reception)
Alfredo Perez (Operations)
Marisol Rivera (Reservations)
Front Row; Left - Right
Armando del Aguila
Renilo Vasquez
Amner Ismodes

Climate & Seasons Medicine Gardens Bird Watching Nature Reserves
Canopy Walkway Guides & Staff Hotels in Iquitos & Lima Area Map
Rainforest Itineraries General Information
Ceiba Tops Explorama Lodge Explornapo Lodge ACTS Research Station ExplorTambos Camp

Amazon Explorama Lodges, Amazon River, Iquitos - Peru.

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