Tambopata Research Centre
Stay at the most remote eco lodge in South America, Tambopata Research Centre (TRC) approximately 7 hours up river from the airport at Puerto Maldonado. The Tambopata National Reserve covers almost 700,000 hectares of pristine wilderness with spectacular wildlife viewing and large numbers of endangered species. A huge clay-lick is situated 500m from the lodge. Your stay at TRC is a flexible program and the description is an indication of what activities are possible.
Day 1 – Drive to the Tambopata River Port, in the native Community of Infierno. The transfer upriver takes around 2.5 hours to Refugio Amazonas where you will overnight. Due to the distance it is not possible to reach TRC in one day. After settling into the lodge and dinner, there is a short excursion in search of caiman by the river’s edge. Using a torch, catch the red gleams from the caiman eyes.
Day 2 – Venture into the treetops on the 25 metre high canopy tower. As the sun rises above the dense, lush rainforest admire the views over the Tambopata National Reserve. Watch out for a variety of species such as toucans, macaws and raptors.
Continue upriver for approximately 4.5 hours to TRC. Around 1.5 hours into the boat journey, as we cross the confluence with the Malinowski River, we leave behind all traces of human habitation, with increased opportunity for spotting large mammals such as capybara and caiman. Before lunch, stop at Chuncho claylick. After a short walk of around 5 minutes you will have the chance to observe dozens of large macaws feeding on the special sodium rich clays of the riverbank. A truly spectacular sight as the macaws take flight.
Evening Macaw Project lecture exploring the biology of macaws, their feeding habits, the theories for claylick use, their breeding and feeding ecology, population fluctuations and the threats to their conservation.
Day 3 – Dawn visit to the Macaw Clay Lick to view dozens of large macaws and hundreds of parrots congregating at the river bank. Savour the colour and cacophony of noise from this magical spectacle. Around 50 metres away observe Green-winged, Scarlet and Blue-and-gold Macaws and several species of smaller parrots.
Walk the five kilometre trail covering lush rainforest, an area popular with Squirrel, Brown Capuchin, and Spider Monkeys as well as peccaries. Upriver from TRC is the Pond Platfor, a great area to spot waterfowl such as Muscovy duck, sunbittern and hoatzin along with the woodpeckers, oropendolas, flycatchers and parakeets. In the evening, relax to the sounds of the rainforest or embark on a night walk.
Day 4 – Another opportunity to visit the Macaw Clay Lick at dawn, before breakfast.
The Terra Firme trail exhibits a habitat characterized by small, thin trees where you may find saddleback tamarins. Near the swamp keep an eye open for rare tapir tracks. Visit the Palm Swamp Trail which grows on the remains of an oxbow lake popular with terrestrial mammals throughout the year.
Day 5 – Travel downriver to Puerto Maldonado for your onward flight to Lima or Cuzco.