The 5-day / 4-night Deep Rainforest Experience
with the option of adding extra days
Exploring deep within pristine Amazonian rainforest, far from human habitation and staying near the world's largest macaw clay lick, this unique itinerary represents the ultimate rainforest experience for the discerning eco-traveller. Activities such as kayaking, canopy climbing and mountain-biking can be added to your already-full itinerary to order (see below).
Arrival & Reception by your Guide. Our guides are biologists, tourism professionals, or community members. Unless noted otherwise, our guides speak English. We assign guides at a 6:1 ratio at the Tambopata Research Center. This means groups smaller than 6 people will be merged with other groups under one guide. If you would like a private guide or a guide in a language other than English please let us know.
Transfer from the Airport to our Puerto Maldonado Headquarters. Upon arrival from Lima or Cusco, we will welcome you at the airport and drive you ten minutes to our Puerto Maldonado headquarters. While enjoying your first taste of the forest in our gardens we will ask you to pack only the necessary gear for your next few days, and leave the rest at our safe deposit. This helps us keep the boats and cargo light.
Puerto Maldonado Headquarters to Tambopata River Port.Skirting Puerto Maldonado, we drive 20 kilometres to the Tambopata River Port, entering the Native Community of Infierno. The port is a local communal venture.
Tambopata River Port to Refugio Amazonas. The two and a half hour boat ride from the Tambopata Port to Refugio Amazonas will take us past the Community of Infierno and the Tambopata National Reserve´s checkpoint and into the buffer zone of this 1.3 million hectare reserve.
Refugio Amazonas is a charming 32 bedroom lodge well placed adjacent to the Tambopata National Reserve. Each room has a private bathroom with a hot water shower. A limited number of special superior rooms are available, please enquire for details on this upgrade.
Orientation. Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and brief you with important navigation and security tips.
Caiman Search: We will be out on the river's edge at night, scanning the shores with headlamps and flashlights to catch the red gleams of reflection from caiman eyes.
Overnight at Refugio Amazonas.
Canopy Tower: A thirty minute walk from Refugio Amazonas leads to the 25-metre high scaffolding canopy tower. A staircase with banister running through the middle provides safe access to the platforms above. The tower has been built upon high ground, therefore maximizing your view of the continuous primary forest extending out towards the Tambopata National Reserve. From here, sightings of mixed species canopy flocks as well as toucans, macaws and raptors are likely.
Refugio Amazonas to 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 capybaras, caiman, geese, macaws and other large species will become more frequent.
Chuncho Clay Lick. Three hours from Refugio Amazonas, deep in the Tambopata National Reserve we will stop at the Chuncho clay lick. After a brief walk (about 5 minutes) we will have the chance to see dozens of large macaws feeding on the special sodium rich clays of the riverbank. The Chuncho clay lick probably attracts more large macaws than any other clay lick in the world and the sight of dozens of macaws taking flight is truly unforgettable. The details of our stopover will depend on the weather and the amount of macaw activity, as the birds don’t visit the clay lick when it is raining, while the number of birds at the lick varies depending on the season.
The Tambopata Research Center is a simple but comfortable 18 bedroom lodge situated near the world's largest macaw clay lick (locally called a colpa) on the uninhabited frontier of the Tambopata National Reserve and the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park. Bathroom facilities here are shared, but are close to the rooms, very well maintained and sufficient to guarantee availability at all times. The showers have hot water.
Orientation. Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and brief you with important navigation and security tips.
Overlook Trail: A three to five kilometre hike will lead us to overlooks commanding magnificent views of the Tambopata River 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 viewing.
Overlook Trail: A three to five kilometre hike will lead us to overlooks commanding magnificent views of the Tambopata Rover 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 viewing.
Macaw Project Lecture: 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 Tambopata Research Center
Macaw Clay Lick: On most clear mornings of the year dozens of large macaws and hundreds of parrots of up to 15 species congregate on this large river bank in a raucous and colourful spectacle which inspired a National Geographic cover story. Discretely located fifty meters from the cliff, we will observe green-winged, scarlet and blue-and-gold macaws as well as several species of smaller parrots descend to ingest clay. Outings are at dawn when the lick is most active.
Floodplain Trail: This five kilometre 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. The Tambopata Research Center itself is located within this habitat.
Pond Platform: Ten minutes upriver from the lodge is a small pond with a platform in the middle. It is a great place to spot waterfowl such as Muscovy duck, sun bittern and hoatzin along with the woodpeckers, oropendolas, flycatchers and parakeets that call this pond home.
Night Walk: 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 Tambopata Research Center.
Macaw Clay Lick: On most clear mornings of the year dozens of large macaws and hundreds of parrots congregate on this large river bank in a raucous and colourful spectacle which inspired a National Geographic cover story. Discretely located fifty metres from the cliff, we will observe green-winged, scarlet and blue-and-gold macaws and several species of smaller parrots descend to ingest clay. Outings are at dawn when the lick is most active.
Terra Firme Trail: An entirely different habitat characterized by smaller, thinner trees atop hills and slopes is covered by this five kilometre trail. Saddleback tamarins are frequently found here. As we walk near the limits of the swamp we will also keep our eyes open for rare tapir tracks.
Palm Swamp Trail: Growing on the remains of an oxbow lake and providing both arboreal as well as terrestrial mammals with fruits throughout the year, the aguaje palms are one of the most important food sources in the rainforest. Demand for these fruits and good conditions for planting rice, make the palm swamp also one of the most threatened habitats.
Overnight at the Tambopata Research Center.
Early transfer by boat from the Tambopata Research Center to the Tambopata River Port.
Transfer from the Tambopata River Port to our Puerto Maldonado Headquarters.
Transfer from our Puerto Maldonado Headquarters to the Airport.We retrace our river and road journey back to Puerto Maldonado, our office and the airport.
* IMPORTANT: Transfer times. Due to our set program start and end times, we will send you suggested flights for your rainforest experience. Other flights incur extra fees for private boat transfers which would need to be added at your cost.
Transfer-in (From Puerto Maldonado to Lodge): we have two departures daily at 13:00 and 14:30 and your flights need to link up with these.
Transfer-out (Lodge to Puerto Maldonado): Early transfer out at about 5:00 AM in order to be on time for your flight out that should depart after 13:00 hrs please be sure not to purchase an early flight out of Puerto Maldonado to Cusco or Lima.
Private transport by bus and boat can be arranged at extra cost for families or groups.
Cost per person sharing double, twin or triple room: US$1080 + US$75 park entry fee
Single (if you do not wish to share accommodation): US$1405 + US$75 park entry fee
Extra nights available, please enquire.
Included: All meals, accommodation, and services as detailed above, all river transportation, as well as transfers from and to the airport in Puerto Maldonado.
Not Included: International or domestic airfares, airport departure taxes or visa fees, excess baggage charges, additional nights during the trip due to flight cancellations, alcoholic beverages or bottled water, snacks, insurance of any kind, laundry, phone calls or messages, reconfirmation of flights and items of a personal nature.
Boat Transportation: Our boats are 20-foot long, roofed canoes. Outboard boat engines are 75hp 4 stroke, eco-friendly, low emission motors.
We reserve the right to change the order of activities or trails due to weather or other local conditions.
A number of add-on activities are available at the different lodges, please contact me for more details and to confirm availability:
At Tambopata Research Center
Sunset Cruise, cost US$85 per person in a shared boat.
An incomparable sunset experience amid tropical rainforest of Tambopata. Take out one of our canoes and float down the Tambopata River while enjoying wine and and hors d’oeuvres.
Note: Only available at the Tambopata Research Center
- 2 hour boat ride
- 1/2 bottle of wine per person + snack (soda is available for people who don't drink wine
Kayaking the Tambopata River, cost: US$75 per person.
No previous experience is required. After a few practice strokes with our kayaking guide, you will be ready to navigate the Tambopata River at a natural pace for a few hours. Wildlife sightings increase in quality – the silent kayaks do not intimidate.
Stand-up Paddle Boarding on the Tambopata River, cost US$145 per person.
We will paddle up a portion of the Tambopata River that presents no difficulty. At the shores we will observe the forest accompanied by the sounds of nature and wildlife such as birds, caimans and turtles. To finish our experience, we´ll stop on a sandy beach and have a well deserved swim. No previous experience is required, only swimming knowledge.
Canopy Climbing up a 30m-high tree, cost: US$75 per person.
Replicating the daily work of macaw researchers, we will climb a 30-meter high tree with a rope, harness and jumar. From this vantage point we will have a macaw’s-eye view of the forest. This demanding exercise is perfectly safe and requires no previous experience.
Rainforest Tatoo, cost US$30 per person.
At the lodge, we will prepare a paste from the fruit of huito and achiote to draw dark blue and red tattoos on ourselves. They last several days.
At Refugio Amazonas
Kayaking on the Tambopata River, cost US$75 per person.
A boat will take us upriver and then we will paddle down a portion of the Tambopata River with some rapids, although most of the progress presents low difficulty. At the shores we will observe fragmented parts of the forest and come across local people who work at the few farms in the region. To finish our experience, we´ll stop on a sandy beach and have a well deserved swim. No previous experience is required, only swimming knowledge.
Canopy Climbing up a 30m-high tree, cost US$75 per person.
Replicating the daily work of macaw researchers, we will climb a 30-metre high tree with a rope, harness and jumar. From this vantage point we will have a macaw’s-eye view of the forest. This demanding exercise is perfectly safe and requires no previous experience.
Jungle Mountain Biking, cost US$75 per person.
Our ride begins 10 minutes from the lodge, and then loops 10 kilometres through mature forest and numerous creek beds.
A variety of holistic treatments ranging from aromatherapy to mud baths, massages, herbal baths and meditation. Available at the Wellness Center.
Please read these documents for more details about the lodges:
Refugio Amazonas Factsheet (PDF doc)
Tambopata Research Center Factsheet(PDF doc)
Refugio Amazonas Conservation Impact (PDF doc)
Tambopata Research Center Conservation Impact (PDF doc)
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