Day 1: Arrival in Puerto Maldonado
Upon your arrival at the airport in the city of Puerto Maldonado, you will be greeted by a representative of the lodge, who will welcome you and accompany you to the offices of Rainforest Expeditions. As you enjoy a first taste of the rainforest in the office’s gardens, we ask that you go through your belongings and select only the essential items for the next few days. You will be able to leave behind everything else in our secure lockers. This will help to keep our boats light. You will travel along the edge of Puerto Maldonado on a journey of about 12 miles (20 km) to reach Tambopata’s port of embarkation in the Native Community of Infierno. You will then take a two-and-a-half-hour boat trip through this Native Community and will go through the entrance checkpoint to the Reserva Nacional de Tambopata (Tambopata National Reserve), moving directly to the buffer zone of this protected area of over two and a half million acres. A box lunch will be provided. Upon your arrival at Refugio Amazonas, the lodge’s manager will welcome you and give you important recommendations for your stay. That night, you will set out by boat on an exciting adventure in search of caimans on the banks of the Tambopata River. With the help of your lanterns, we will be on the lookout for the red reflections from their eyes.You will have dinner and spend the night in Refugio Amazonas.
Day 2: Puerto Maldonado
Very early in the morning, you will set out on a thirty-minute hike to an 80-foot (25 m) canopy tower where you will be able to observe various species of birds and enjoy incredibleviews of the skyline of the primitive forest that reaches into the interior of the Tambopata National Reserve. You will return to the lodge for breakfast. Before heading to the Tambopata Research Center, you will take a brief walk through a gorgeous forest of old chestnut trees that have been harvested for decades. Here, you will see slight remains of the camp that is used two months out of every year by the chestnut merchants. At the scheduled time, you will set out by boat on a four-and-a-half-hour trip into the heart of the reserve, where the Tambopata Research Center is located, surrounded by wildlife and far from any human presence. A box lunch will be provided. Upon arriving, the lodge’s manager will welcome you and give you important recommendations for your stay. After getting a chance to settle in, you will set out on a hike along the Tambopata River, a journey of around two to three miles (3 to 5 km). From natural lookout points, enjoy amazing views of the meandering river, and prepare yourself to explore the remnants of an old bamboo forest which is home to Rio Mayo titis and howler monkeys. After dinner, you will be given an interesting presentation on the Proyecto Guacamayo (Macaw Project). In the presentation, resident scientists will give a complete biological description of these wonderful birds–their eating habits, the theories surrounding their use of the collpas, and their biological ecology, among other interesting points. You will spend the night at the Tambopata Research Center.
Day 3: Puerto Maldonado
After daybreak, you will set out on an excursion to the Collpa de Guacamayos. The collpa is a large clay wall where dozens of macaws and hundreds of parrots congregate almost every clear weather day of the year to nourish themselves with the mineral salts found in the soil here. Discretely positioned about 300 feet from the cliff, you will enjoy a display of bright colors and frenetic movement in a spectacular show as these birds enjoy a boisterous feast. After visiting the collpa, you will return to the lodge. After breakfast, you will go on a hike of about 3 miles through the floodplain forest, a place criss-crossed by creeks and full of enormous trees and small ponds. Prepare yourself to see squirrel monkeys, tufted capuchins, spider monkeys, collared peccaries and white-lipped peccaries (types of wild boar) hidden among the rubber trees and Shihuahuaco trees. You will return to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, you will travel upstream about 10 minutes to a small platform that sits in the middle ofa pond. This is a wonderful place to see water fowl like ducks, herons, and hoatzin, as well as woodpeckers, oropendolas, flycatchers and parakeets that have made their homes around this pond. After dinner, you will be able to take advantage of the darkness to go on a nighttime walk and try to catch glimpses of some of the rainforest’s mammals, which are more active at night. Be forewarned, they are difficult to spot! Much easier to find are frogs with appearances and sounds as exotic as their names. You will spend the night at the Tambopata Research Center.
Day 4: Return to Refugio Amazonas
You will have some time before breakfast to relax and enjoy the surroundings of the lodge, go on a new excursion, or repeat your favorite outing, as you see fit. At the scheduled departure time, you will set out by boat on a three-and-a-half-hour trip back to Refugio Amazonas. A box lunch will be provided. In the afternoon, you will travel to a lake where you will take a canoe or catamaran trip in search of different species of local wildlife, such as the hoatzin, the horned screamery, and the caiman. With a little luck, you might also see river otters in the area. Out on the lake; enjoy a great sense of freedom, as well as great views of macaws and parrots flying overhead. After dinner on your last night, you will attend a presentation on the Tambopata National Reserve. Prepared by the staff of Refugio Amazonas, the presentation will shed light on some of the challenges of the conservation process and on the current opportunities and projects in the Reserve. You will spend the night at Refugio Amazonas.
Day 5: Puerto Maldonado departure
Enjoy a delicious breakfast before you leave. You will journey by boat to Puerto Tambopata; upon arriving you will travel to the offices of Rainforest Expeditions in Puerto Maldonado to wrap up your travels. You will be met by the transport service and escorted to the airport.