Amazon Wildlife Odyssey

Travel deep into the Tambopata rain forest of the Peruvian Amazon
Overview

overview

Discover the wildlife and culture of the rainforest on a small group expedition hosted by researchers and members of the native community. You'll divide your time between the Tambopata Research Center and Refugio Amazonas Lodges on the Tambopata River. From here you will explore the rainforest in search of a variety of wildlife, including the howler monkey and harpy eagle. Paddle on an oxbow lake to get glimpses of giant river otters, and learn about the medicinal properties of the local flora from an expert native Peruvian guide. One of the least inhabited areas of the Amazon is yours to explore!

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Lima

    Upon arrival in Lima, you will make your way across the street to the Ramada Costa del Sol Hotel. Lima is Peru's capital and is a mainly modern city situated on the coastal desert. If you have time, you can explore the city's museums, churches, and colonial homes on your own today.

    Lodging
    Ramada Hotel
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  • Day 2: Puerto Maldonado/Refugio Amazonas
    Relax and enjoy Refugio Amazonas

    You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Puerto Maldonado. (Flights from Lima to PEM need to be booked for river tranport at 1pm or 2:30 pm) Situated at the confluence of the mighty Madre de Dios and Tambopata Rivers, it is a bustling, booming tropical frontier town. You will be met at the airport, and after a brief stop at our local office (where you may leave extra luggage if necessary) you depart on a 30-minute drive to the Infierno Community River Port. From here, you will embark on a 2 1/2- to 3-hour boat journey by motorized canoe to Refugio Amazonas. You'll have a boxed lunch aboard the boat. During the voyage you may see a number of different bird species, such as the black skimmer, the pied lapwing, the capped heron, the jabiru stork, the roadside hawk, and several species of kingfishers, swallows, and flycatchers. When you arrive at the lodge, you'll have a short orientation and a complete briefing. Following dinner you will make your way to the river's edge for a night scan of caiman.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Refugio Amazonas
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  • Day 3: Refugio/Tambopata Research Center
    Climb the tower for gorgeous views

    You'll be up at dawn again for a visit to the canopy tower. In this activity, you will visit a 35 meter/100 foot scaffolding tower. The tower is built so that you can safely climb using the internal staircase with verandas on each side, and it allows you to rest on platforms present every 6 feet. From the top, you not only get spectacular views of the river and the surrounding forest, but also excellent opportunities to observe birds from the canopy including parrots, toucans, and macaws.

    After an early breakfast, visit Oxbow Lake by catamaran looking for lakeside wildlife such as hoatzin, caiman and hornerd screamers, hoping to see the otters which are infrequently seen here. You will also be rewarded with overhead sightings of macaws.

    As noon approaches, animal activity decreases, and you will continue traveling up the Tambopata River for five hours into the pristine heart of the reserve. You will leave the final traces of human habitation behind as you cross the northern boundary of the 700,000 hectare, completely uninhabited nucleus of the Tambopata National Reserve. Differences in wildlife abundance will be noted immediately: you begin to sight macaws, herons, and kingfishers frequently, and you improve your chances of encounters with capybaras, caiman, storks, ducks, and other wildlife. You will have a boxed lunch on the boat.

    Arrive at Tambopata Research Center in the afternoon, and enjoy being greeted by the chicos, their flock of semi-wild, rescued macaws. The lodge is located less than a 10-minute walk from the river. On arrival, you will have an orientation session. After this you will hike for about 2-3 miles on the Overlook Trail, which will lead you to overlooks commanding magnificent views of the Tambopata winding its way into the lowlands. The forest on this trail, regenerating on old bamboo forest, is good for Howler Monkey and Dusky Titi Monkey. You return to TRC for dinner. After dinner, to cap off a fulfilling day, you will have a lecture from  scientists will provide an in depth look at the biology of macaws, their feeding habits, the theories for clay lick use,  their breeding and feeding ecology, population fluctuations and the threats to their conservation.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Tambopata Research Center
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  • Day 4: Macaw Clay Lick
    Clay Lick

    At dawn, you will cross the river and enjoy the world's largest macaw clay lick where hundreds of parrots and macaws of up to 15 species congregate daily. The January 1994 issue of National Geographic features an article on Tambopata Research Center and the Tambopata Macaw Project. It begins with a description of the daily spectacle at the clay lick:
    "When the morning sun clears the Amazon tree line in southeastern Peru and strikes a gray-pink clay bank on the upper Tambopata River, one of the world's most dazzling wildlife gatherings is nearing its riotous peak. The steep bank has become a pulsing, 130-foot-high palette of red, blue, yellow and green as more than a thousand parrots squabble over choice perches to grab a beakful of clay, a vital but mysterious part of their diet. More than a dozen parrot species will visit the clay lick throughout the day, but this midmorning crush belongs to the giants of the parrot world, the macaws."
    This show will continue until the macaws sense danger, usually in the form of an eagle, and depart simultaneously in an explosion of sound and color.

    Around mid-morning, when the most intense clay lick activity is over for the day, you will return to TRC for breakfast. After breakfast you'll hike the 3-mile Floodplain Trail, which covers the prototypical rain forest with immense  trees criss-crossed by creeks and ponds. Amongst the figs, ceibas and shihuahuacos you will look for Squirrel, Brown Capuchin, and Spider Monkeys as well as peccaries. 

    You will return to TRC for lunch and take a short, ten-minute boat ride to a small tiny pond with a platform in the middle. Here you will spend the morning in the middle of the pond observing some of its birdlife, which may include hoatzin, duck, ibis, woodpeckers, chachalaca, parakeets, oropendolas, and numerous flycatcher species. After a lazy afternoon at the pond you will return to the lodge for dinner.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Tambopata Research Center
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  • Day 5: Hiking The Trails
    Look for unusual birds and mammals

    Visit the Macaw Clay Lick again this morning or take the opportunity to relax before breakfast. After breakfast embark on a hike of the Terra Firme Trail that visits terra firme forests. The community of birds and other wildlife that lives in the hilly terra firme, is very different from that of the bamboo or mature flood plain. After a long, easy hike, you will return to the lodge for lunch.

    Then you'll embark on a 2 mile hike to the palm swamp, a nesting colony and preferred roost for blue-and-gold and red-bellied macaws. Although there are different degrees of macaw activity at the swamp year round, the most exciting time to visit it is from October to March, during the nesting season. This is the time when macaws will land on the nests and stand there for several minutes, interacting with other individuals at less then 20 feet from the observation tower. The scenes at the swamp, especially with late afternoon sun at your back, make prized photo opportunities. After a lazy afternoon with the macaws you will hike back to the lodge for dinner. To top off this day, enjoy a night hike when most of the mammals are active but rarely seen.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Tambopata Research Center
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  • Day 6: Canopy Tower and Trails
    Veiws from the top of the tower

    Have breakfast this morning and then embark on a thirty minute hike in the Terra Firme Forest that leads to a 50 foot scaffolding canopy tower. From the top you will obtain spectacular views of the vast expanses of standing forest.  Toucans, parrots and macaws can be seen flying against the horizon.  Flocks of mixed species of birds can also be seen flying and landing in the treetops next to you. Return for lunch and then hike Creeks Trail. This is a different kind of Terra Firme forest, crossed by a number of creeks that will eventually reach the Tambopata River. Walking in the opposite direction of the river, we will focus on forest and creek ecology. Return for dinner and enjoy your last evening at TRC.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Tambopata Research Center
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  • Day 7: Tambopata
    Observe wild birds around the lake

    Enjoy your last day at Tambopata. Try out some new trails or repeat your favorite activity from previous days. Have lunch and then contiune your quest for more wildlife observation in the TRC Gardens. End the day with a nice relaxing dinner.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Refugio Amazonas
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: TRC/Puerto Maldonado/Lima/Onward

    After an early breakfast you will return to Puerto Maldonado by motorized canoe for your flight back to Lima. (Flights from PEM to Lima need to be after 1 pm) You'll have the use of a day room at the Ramada Hotel, until your transfer to the airport for your late departure.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Ramada Day Room
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Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$2,195
domestic airfare not included
Single Supplement:
$275
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Possible Extensions include:
Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Nazca Lines & Paracas, Colca Canyon Adventure, and more. Please request our Peru extensions or other trip notes if you are interested in exploring more of this fascinating country.

REFUGIO AMAZONAS LODGE
The Refugio Amazonas Lodge is located on the banks of the Tambopata River, adjacent to the Tambopata National Reserve, and approximately 3 hours from the town by motorized canoe. The lodge was built using a combination of traditional native materials (wood, palm fronds, wild cane and clay) and architecture and modern day eco-lodge technology. The lodge itself consists of guest rooms, a spacious dining area and kitchen, relaxation area and internal support facilities. The 24 double bedrooms are 13 x 23 feet and can be set up with a third bed. The walls dividing each room are built using cane and clay, and extend from the floor to about 8 feet high, making each room private, however, sounds can be heard from room to room. The side that looks out to the forest does not have a wall or screening of any kind, acting as a large window facing the forest. Mosquitos are not really a problem around the lodge clearing and the open section allows for an intimate contact with the rain forest. A second small window on the opposite side, set up very high, keeps the rooms well ventilated. Twin beds are sized for Americans or Europeans (3.5' wide x 6.5' long) with mosquito nets. Each room has a private bathroom with cold water only. Rooms and bathrooms are separated by drapes.

TAMBOPATA RESEARCH CENTER
The Tambopata Research Center is a basic yet comfortable lodge built with the object of lodging tourists and researchers alike and of protecting the adjacent macaw clay lick. The lodge's remote location is in a Connecticut-sized tract of uninhabited wilderness, housing stable populations of endangered wildlife. This, combined with the small scale of its infrastructure and operations, and the presence of researchers and naturalist guides, makes Tambopata Research Center an excellent headquarters for in-depth explorations of Amazonian nature and wildlife.

The TRC lodge is composed of four interconnected, thatch-roofed buildings. It was designed using traditional, low impact native architecture to provide the creature comforts necessary for enhancing the wilderness experience without compromising its authenticity. All buildings and interconnecting passageways are raised on four-foot stilts built from palm trunks or hardwoods. The main building is a 33 x 100 foot platform divided into 13 double rooms. Each bedroom is furnished with two beds draped in mosquito netting, a chair, a night table with a kerosene windlamp, and a table for luggage and clothing. Each room is also designed to have a permanent, unobstructed view of the forest surrounding the clearing in order to maximize wildlife observation time: the wall looking out into the forest is open with a waist-high verandah. To the left of the main building a 20-foot-long, roofed passageway connects to the bathrooms containing 4 flush toilets and 4 shower stalls, offering cold water only. To the right of the main building another passageway connects to the dining and meeting room, which in turn is connected to the kitchen.

Duration:
8 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
1
rustic amazon lodge & delightful hotel
Group Size:
2-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
3
rustic amazon lodge & delightful hotel

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Nazca Lines & Paracas

Duration: 3 days

In this coastal desert region you can find traces of ancient cultures, study the mysterious designs of the  Nazca Lines, and watch the sea lions as they frolic in the Paracas National Park.

Colca Canyon Adventure

Duration: 3 days

This short excursion to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon takes you to one of the world’s deepest gorges and the “Cruz del Condor” where you can scan the skies for a glimpse of the majestic birds.

Machu Picchu

Duration: 6 days

This short trip to Machu Picchu can be easily combined with your trip to the Amazon, Ecuador, or the Galapagos. Many major South American cities have daily flights to and from Lima.

Lake Titicaca

Duration: 3 days

Extend your trip to the famed Lake Titicaca, located in the Andes between Peru and Bolivia. It is the highest navigable lake in the world, and South America’s largest freshwater lake. The trip takes you to the islands of Uros and Taquile.

Lima

Duration: 1 days

If you have time in Lima, enjoy a tour of the city, or venture out a little further for a wildlife boat trip around Isla Palomino.

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