In the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado, as you begin your ecotourism adventure you will be met from your flight by our staff, who will escort you during the fascinating 68-kilometer road and boat trip along the Tambopata River to our Ecolodge (23 km by vehicle, 45 km by boat). Once we leave Puerto Maldonado behind, the forest vegetation will change from colonized deforested areas to virgin rainforest. Time spent on rivers is one of the highlights of any trip to a tropical forest ecosystem, offering the opportunity to observe native flora and look out for examples of Amazon fauna, with the help of one of our experienced naturalist guides. A box lunch will be served aboard our boat. After time to settle in your eco-lodge accommodation, your naturalist guide will invite you to explore the trails in the surrounding forest. Several giant brazil nut trees are located along these trails, while frequently seen fauna includes brown capuchin monkeys, agoutis, blue-morpho butterflies, trogons, toucans and other bird species. In the evening, a slideshow presentation will give you a thorough introduction to the many wonders of the rainforest. After an excellent buffet-style dinner, another guided trail walk in the forest will offer the chance to spot the world’s only nocturnal monkey species, as well as learning about the Amazon’s insects, while enjoying the unique sounds of the nighttime forest.
Following an excellent buffet breakfast, your first full day in Tambopata National Reserve will begin with a fascinating 4- to 6-hour boat ride, as you venture even deeper into the forest, looking out for Amazon fauna on the riverbanks and in the treetops, with the help of your naturalist guide. This valuable time spent on the river offers one of the best opportunities visitors to Tambopata National Reserve will have to spot fauna that would be much harder to see from inside the forest. In addition to Orinoco geese and other birdlife, riverbanks are often used by large species ranging from capybaras to jaguars. Our destination today is remote Colorado, the world’s largest known macaw clay lick. We will camp on the beach in the vicinity of the clay lick, with Ecolodge personnel taking care of every detail. After lunch, you and your guide will spend the afternoon exploring the forest trails in the area, in search of Amazon fauna, including monkeys, tapirs, caimans, oropendolas and other birds. After our evening meal, we will relax at our camp and enjoy the sounds of the forest, in expectation of the scenes awaiting us the next morning.
Today will begin early for us. As the forest awakens, we will get into position as birds begin to arrive at the clay lick. As many as several hundred macaws and parrots visit this clay lick daily, including scarlet macaws, blue-and-yellow macaws, red-and-green macaws, and chestnut-fronted and blue-headed parrots. These magnificent birds arrive in pairs or in flocks hundreds strong, depending on the species, and the time of year. After roosting in the trees, with a flapping of wings and ear-splitting squawks they begin landing on the face of the cliff to consume small portions of clay, creating an unforgettable spectacle of color and sound. This is indisputably one of the greatest birding attractions the Amazon basin offers visitors. Following a late morning forest walk in search of some of the nine species of monkeys present in the area, including spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys and dusky titi monkeys, after lunch we will explore a clear forest stream upriver, where it is safe to bathe, before spending another relaxing evening and night at our well-equipped campsite.
Following breakfast, you will have a second opportunity to witness the spectacle at the clay lick, before returning downriver to the Ecolodge in time for an excellent buffet lunch. After time to relax, in the afternoon you will be invited to hike with your naturalist guide through the forest to an oxbow lake. Wetland ecosystems are among the best places in the Amazon basin to spot wildlife. Birds abound at these picturesque hidden forest lakes, particularly rufescent tiger-herons, great egrets, wattled jacanas and hoatzins. Continuing our trail walk, tree species include the strangler fig tree and the mighty kapok, which rises high above the forest canopy. Back at the Ecolodge, you can use your free time to bathe at our swimming hole, enjoy our gardens, or simply relax in a hammock. In the evening, following a buffet-style dinner your guide will host a brief presentation on caiman, the fascinating nocturnal predators that inhabit Tambopata’s rivers and lakes. We will then return to the river in search of nocturnal fauna, looking out for caimans using flashlights to pick out their “eye shine” as they hunt along the riverbanks. Snakes and capybaras are also often seen along the river at night.
We will leave the Ecolodge in the morning for the return by river to Puerto Maldonado. This is an excellent time of day for wildlife observation, as the forest awakens and Amazon fauna makes itself heard. Looking out for rainforest fauna from our boat with the help of your naturalist guide is the perfect way to spend a final morning in southeastern Peru’s biodiverse tropical forests. Howler monkeys are seen and heard frequently in the mornings, as they call out to each other and stake out their territory.
At Tambopata Ecolodge, our ecotourism programs include: all fully escorted transport from our guests’ arrival at Puerto Maldonado airport or bus station to their return to the airport or bus station; cabin-style accommodation in comfortable rooms; all meals (most are buffet-style with a selection of traditional Peruvian cuisine) from lunch on day one of each itinerary to breakfast on the final day; all excursions described as part of our responsible ecotourism programs; the services of a professional, experienced bilingual naturalist guide. (English and Spanish. Other languages are available on request, at time of booking –rates may vary.)
Flights / bus services to and from the town of Puerto Maldonado; entrance fee to Tambopata National Reserve; any drinks ordered at the Ecolodge bar; tips.
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Prices shown are per person in US dollars. The entrance fee contributes directly to the Peruvian national government’s running of Tambopata National Reserve.