WHY THIS TRIP
The Tambopata Research Center (TRC) is one of the most remote rainforest lodges in South America, offering adventurous travelers an outstanding chance to engage with the natural wonders of the Amazon. It is a comfortable lodge which was built with the object of lodging tourists and researchers alike and of protecting the adjacent macaw clay lick, one of the largest in the world. The TRC’s isolated location, inside an uninhabited area of the Tambopata National Reserve and next to the Bahajua-Sonene National Park, means that the rainforest ecosystem around it remains pristine, while the populations of wild animals are all at carrying capacity. Much ground-breaking macaw conservation research has been carried out from the TRC and you will likely have the chance during your stay to talk with biologists, botanists, ecologists and other experts staying at the TRC while they do fieldwork.
LOCAL PROVIDER: RAINFOREST EXPEDITIONS
Rainforest Expeditions is a Peruvian Ecotourism company. Since 1989 its guests and lodges have added value to standing tropical rain forest turning it into a competitive alternative to unsustainable economic uses.
The jungle is a magical place so are the people of Peru! We loved every minute of our time while there!
Terry B –
My trip to the Tambopata Research Center from Sep. 3-7 was very enjoyable. Although my primary purpose is birding, this was not a birding trip, but a general trip focused on mammals, birds, other fauna, as well as the flora of the region. I knew that going in, and I thoroughly enjoyed the monkeys, caimans, spiders, and other denizens of the jungle, though, so no complaints.
The boat trips up and down the river were challenging to say the least due to low water south of the Malinowski River. Three times going upriver and twice going downriver, the participants had to climb over the side of the boat to help the crew and guides push the boat off of gravel and sand bars.
The lodges were rustic as expected, but comfortable. It took a bit of adjustment to wearing uncomfortable long sleeves and long pants in the common areas at night to thwart mosquitos. There was a temporary power failure at Posadas Refugio the first night and hot water problems at the Tambopata Research Center the last night (TRC has only recently installed hot water capability at TRC).
The food was frankly disappointing. I understand the challenges of providing a varied menu in remote locations for a limited number of people, but 3 of the 4 nightly meals were chicken. I also got sick, as did at least 2 other people in our group of 4 people, after dinner the last night at TRC, but fortunately recovered during the boat trip downriver the next morning.
Our guide was named Lesten, a native of the Puerto Maldonado area, and he was very knowledgable and personable. A very good guide.
The TRC consists of a lodge in the jungle surrounded by many trails. As is typical of the jungle, though, there is little to see down at ground level since most creatures are invisible up in the canopy.
Along the river and at both lodges, we saw 5 kinds of monkeys, a porcupine, capybaras, lesser anteaters, caimans, agoutis, wild peccaries, tarantulas, army ants, leaf cutter ants, plus dozens of bird species, including Hoatzins, Greater Anis, Scarlet and Blue and Yellow Macaws, several kinds of parrots and parakeets, nest-building Plumbeous Kites, Piping Guans, Capped Herons, Snowy Egrets, Large-billed Terns, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Great Black-Hawk, several kinds of Tanagers, and a number of other songbirds.
The highlight of the trip was certainly the dawn trip at TRC to the Colorado Clay Lick, where hundreds of Macaws, Parrots, Parakeets, and a few other birds were present in an awesome spectacle of constant flight and noise.
The trip was certainly an adventure, and it is imperative to know beforehand the level of comfort, disease prevention measures that need to be taken, and realization that these are jungle lodges, not a 5-star resort. Those with any squeamishness about such things should not go on this trip.
The trip was very enjoyable, and I’d certainly go on another such trip should I venture that way again.
This trip was fascinating from the moment we stepped onto the boat and went up river through 10 minutes of pouring rain and several miles of animal sightings to stop first at Refugio Lodge in the pitch black of night. Being woken up in the morning to howler monkeys instead of an alarm clock was amazing and a bit scary! We then got to see where we were in the light of day and it was breathtaking. Went for an awesome walk in the jungle and were introduced to several monkeys. We were then off on our long journey to Tambopata Lodge for the next 4 days. This lodge was so welcoming and quiet and serene. We saw all species of monkeys available and the clay lick was a lovely sight. The hand raised macaws were a real treat to feed and have sit on our shoulders. We also went on a night walk and turned out our flashlights to ‘just listen’ and it was very cool to hear the night sounds of the jungle. The guides were all very friendly and extremely knowledgeable. This was a trip we will not soon forget.
The Tambopata Research Center is a fantastic place to visit the Amazon Basin! It is a long boat ride to the lodge, but the ride itself is a great wildlife viewing experience. We saw giant river otters, cabybara, taypirs, lots of birds, and even a jaguar from the boat!
The lodge is pretty basic, but it feels just right for its location deep in the jungle. The guided walks are great— one morning we saw five monkey species in an hour. And of course the macaw clay lick is the reason to go — truly one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles!
Keith Findley –
The Tambopata Research Center is a magical place. My group visited at the end of nearly a week rafting the Tambopata River, so by the time we got to the Research Center the rustic accommodations seemed downright plush. The lodge is indeed rustic, with open air hallways and open air rooms, in which you sleep in comfortable beds under mosquito netting. But it is well-kept and the feel and atmosphere are wonderful. Any fancier and it would lose its natural outpost appeal. Showers are down a wooden walkway and are cold water only, but in the heat of the rainforest, that’s all you need. The guides were all very friendly and knowledgeable, and showed us amazing wildlife and vegetation, from many species of exotic birds to several varieties of monkeys, tarantulas, leaf-cutter ants, etc. Sunrise at the claylick (a very short boat ride away) was spectucular–with literally thousands of macaws and parrots descending on the cliffs above for a colorful and noisy show every morning. A large group of macaws also regularly visit the lodge, giving guests an opportunity to feed them bananas as they perch on your shoulder. This trip is a really unique and memorable experience.