If you are looking for an in-depth Amazon experience, then the Tambopata Research Center is your best option. Known for the last 20 years for macaw research, there is much more to see and experience at the Tambopata Research Center. The best rule to follow in the Amazon region is the further away from the cities one goes, and the longer one stays, the more the forest will reveal complex life and provide opportunities to observe wildlife.
The Tambopata Research Center (TRC) is one of the most remote of the rainforest lodges in Peru. Its remoteness offers an unmatched opportunity for adventurous travelers to engage with the natural world. It is a comfortable eighteen bedroom lodge, built more than fifteen years ago to provide accommodation for travelers and researchers alike.
From the start, the Center’s aim was the protection of the adjacent macaw clay lick, and to this day the uninhabited wilderness around the TRC continues to provide a safe haven to a stable population of endangered wildlife. With its dedicated researchers and naturalist guides, the Tambopata Research Center is the best starting point for in-depth exploration of the flora and fauna of the Amazon. The lodge is designed with the necessary infrastructure for the smooth running of the center, while keeping to a minimum any impact on the surrounding forest.
Activities: Nature viewing with ecological focus.
Day 1: Puerto Maldonado – Refugio Amazonas
Upon arrival in Puerto Maldonado, you will be met by our guides and transferred is to the river port, where our boat journey to Refugio Amazonas will begin. The two and a half hour boat ride from the Tambopata river port to Refugio Amazonas will take us past the community of Infierno and the Tambopata National Reserve checkpoints, before we enter the buffer zone of the 1.3 million hectare nature protected area. Upon arrival at the lodge, the manager will welcome the group and provide you with a brief presentation which includes safety information. After dinner, we will return to the river and scan the headlamps and flashlights with banks, in search of the red eye shine of caimans. Overnight stay at Refugio Amazonas (L / D)
Day 2: Refugio Amazonas – Tambopata Research Center
At dawn, a thirty minute walk from Refugio Amazonas will take us to the Canopy Tower. A staircase provides secure access to the canopy platforms at a twenty-five meter tower. The tower has-been built on high ground, thereby increasing the panoramic views of the primary forest of Tambopata National Reserve. From here it is possible to observe the flight of mixed species flocks of birds in the canopy, as well as toucans and macaws and the occasional bird of prey. After breakfast, we will make a short hike to an old growth forest patch of brazil nut. This forest has-been harvested for decades, centuries possibly. Here we will find a camp used only two months a year by brazil nut gatherers. We may even be lucky enough to meet some of the local people and witness the harvesting process, from collection-through to transportation and drying.
During the mid-morning, we will begin our 4 ½ hour boat ride to the Tambopata Research Center. Around one and half hours into our boat journey, as we cross the confluence with the Malinowski River, we will leave the traces of human habitation behind. Within the 700,000 hectare uninhabited nucleus of the reserve, sightings of capybara, caiman, geese, macaws and other large species will become more frequent.
Upon our arrival at the Center, the lodge manager will brief us regarding important navigation and safety information. In the afternoon we will hike a trail that will provide us with magnificent views of the Tambopata River, meandering lowland through the forest. The vegetation on this trail includes regenerated old bamboo forest, creating an environment perfect for the howler monkey and dusky-titi monkey. After dinner, scientists will provide us with an in-depth look at the biology of macaws, their feeding habits, the theories regarding the importance of the clay lick, breeding habits, population fluctuations and the threats to conservation. Overnight stay at Tambopata Research Center (B / L / D).
Day 3: Macaw Clay Lick
At dawn we will visit the fascinating macaw clay lick. On clear mornings throughout the year dozens of large macaws and parrots congregate on this large river bank in a raucous and colorful spectacle. The best sightings are made at dawn, when the lick is most active. This gathering of birds inspired the National Geographic Society to honor it with a cover story. Discretely located around fifty meters from the cliff is a place from where we will observe green-winged, scarlet and blue-and-gold macaws and several other species of smaller parrots descend to ingest the clay.
After breakfast, we will follow a trail -through the rainforest, passing creeks and ponds. Among the fig, ceiba trees and shihuahuaco we will look for squirrels, brown capuchins and spider monkeys, as well as peccaries. In the afternoon we will visit a small lake platform ten minutes upriver from the lodge which is a great place to spot waterfowl, including muscovy ducks, sunbitterns and hoatzins, as well as woodpeckers, orioles, flycatchers and parakeets. After dinner at the lodge you will be offered the chance to take part in a guided night walk in the forest, in search of nocturnal wildlife. Overnight stay at Tambopata Research Center (B / L / D)
Day 4: Tambopata Research Center – Refugio Amazonas
After breakfast we will depart for the 3 ½ hour boat ride return to Refugio Amazonas. In the afternoon, we will visit the nearby oxbow lake on a canoe or catamaran, in search of lakeside wildlife hoatzins such as caimans and horned screamers, and hoping to see the giant river otters occasionally sighted here. You will be rewarded almost certainly with sightings of macaws flying overhead. After dinner, you will be invited to attend the nightly lecture at Refugio Amazonas. (B / L / D)
Day 5: Refugio Amazonas – Puerto Maldonado
After an early breakfast we will return to Puerto Maldonado by boat, where you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Cusco or Lima. Depending on airline schedules, it may require a dawn departure. (B)
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