If you are looking for a more in depth Amazon experience, then the Tambopata Research Center suits you best.
After staying the first night at Refugio Amazonas, continue on to the largest known macaw claylick on the second day of your trip and explore the trails of the Tambopata Research Center in the heart of the Tambopata National Reserve.
Lost World Adventures itineraries can be tailor-made according to your plans and preferences: budget, hotel selections, travel dates, optional excursions, length of trip, etc.
Upon arrival in Puerto Maldonado you will be met and transferred to the Refugio Amazonas/Tambopata Research Center administrative office in town. Here you will have the opportunity to leave excess luggage before heading into the jungle. You are encouraged to travel light.
Puerto Maldonado is situated at the confluence of the mighty Madre de Dios and Tambopata Rivers and is a bustling tropical frontier town. Its principal activities are gold mining, Brazil nut collecting, timber extraction, agriculture and ecotourism.
After a brief survey of the town depart on the 2-hour boat trip by motorized canoe to a lodge on the Bajo Tambopata River. Depending on the arrival time of the plane there will be a boxed lunch aboard the boats or have lunch upon arrival at Refugio Amazonas.
During the voyage look out for bird species typical of the river or forest edge such as: Black Skimmer, Pied Lapwing, Capped Heron, Horned Screamer, Bat Falcon, and several species of kingfishers, swallows and flycatchers.
Upon arrival, unpack, unwind and explore the lodge's surroundings while waiting for dinner. Refugio Amazonas is a comfortable, unobtrusive 24-room lodge owned jointly by Rainforest Expeditions and the Ese'eja native Community of Tambopata.
All rooms have private bathrooms with hot water showers. You will receive a short orientation and a complete briefing of the lodge and the Ese'eja Ecotourism Project over lunch.
In the afternoon, enjoy 15 minute walk to the scaffolding tower for spectacular views of the river and the surrounding forest. This is an excellent opportunity to observe birds from the canopy including parrots, toucans and macaws.
Before breakfast you may visit the canopy tower. A thirty minute walk from Refugio Amazonas leads to the 25 meter scaffolding canopy tower.
A bannistered staircase running through the middle provides safe access to the platforms above. The tower has been built upon high ground, therefore increasing your horizon of the continuous primary forest extending out towards the Tambopata National Reserve.
From here views of mixed species canopy flocks as well as toucans, macaws and raptors are likely.
Return to the lodge for breakfast.
After breakfast, a few minutes hike from the lodge is a beautiful old growth patch of Brazil Nut forest that has been harvested for decades (if not centuries) where the precarious remains of a camp used two months a year by Brazil Nut gatherers can still be experienced.
We will be demonstrating the whole process of the rain forest's only sustainably harvested product from collection through transportation to drying.
After returning to the lodge, depart for the Tambopata Research Center. Four and half hours by boat from Refugio Amazonas, in the pristine heart of the reserve, lies the Tambopata Research Center.
One and half hours into our boat journey, as we cross the confluence with the Malinowski River, we will leave the final 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.
After the first hour you will leave the final traces of human habitation as you cross the northern boundary of the 2.2 million acres, completely uninhabited, proposed Tambopata National Park.
You'll immediately notice the increased abundance of wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for macaws, herons, kingfishers and cormorants, as well as capybaras, caiman, storks, ducks and other wildlife.
Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and brief you with important navigation and security tips. Tambopata Research Center is located in a one acre clearing 50 meters from the Tambopata River and 300 meters from the macaw clay lick.
The lodge is composed of four interconnected, thatch-roofed buildings designed in the traditional native architecture. The main lodge has 13 double rooms, furnished with twin beds draped in mosquito netting and simple furnishings. Each room offers an unobstructed view of the forest.
All rooms are connected by a raised walkway to the communal bathroom, containing flush toilets and showers.
The trails around the center offer easy access to explore the rain forest surrounding Tambopata Research Center, which offers a mosaic of seven distinct rain forest habitats, including floodplain forest, terra firme forest, bamboo forest, and palm swamps.
Overlook Trail: A three to five kilometer hike will lead us 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.
Macaw Project Lectures: After dinner 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.
Overnight at the Tambopata Research Center.
At dawn 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. During this spectacle, described by National Geographic as "one of the world's most dazzling wildlife gatherings," look out for Red-and-green, Blue-and-gold, Scarlet and Red-bellied Macaws; Mealy and Yellow-crowned Amazons; Blue-headed, Orange-cheeked and White-bellied Parrots; and many other species.
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, return to TRC for breakfast.
After breakfast set off on the Floodplain Trail. This five kilometer trail covers the prototypical rain forest with immense trees criss-crossed by creeks and ponds.
Amongst the figs, ceibas and shihuahuacos we will look for Squirrel, Brown Capuchin, and Spider Monkeys as well as peccaries. TRC is located within this habitat.
After lunch set off on for the Pond Platform. Ten minutes upriver from the lodge is a tiny pond with a platform in the middle. It is a great place to spot waterfowl such as Muscovy duck, sunbittern and hoatzin along with the woodpeckers, oropendolas, flycatchers and parakeets that call this pond their home.
After dinner, you will have the option of hiking out at night, when most of the mammals are active but rarely seen. Much easier to find are frogs with shapes and sounds as bizarre as their natural histories.
Overnight at the Tambopata Research Center.
After breakfast, a 3 1/2-hour boat ride brings you back to Refugio Amazonas.
After lunch at the lodge, a forty minute hike takes you Condenado Lake. You paddle canoes around the lake looking for lakeside wildlife such as hoatzin and caiman, hoping to see the otters which are infrequently seen here. You will also be rewarded with overhead sightings of macaws.
After dinner, lectures prepared by the staff of Refugio Amazonas cover conservation threats, opportunities and projects in the Tambopata National Reserve.
Overnight at Refugio Amazonas.
After an early breakfast you depart the lodge for the return trip to Puerto Maldonado for your departing flight.
Our guides -- Cesar (Amazon), Victoria (Cusco and Sacred Valley) and Ruben (Maras and Moray) -- were knowledgeable and accommodating.
- Nan M, January 2017