Peru: Tambopata Lodge

Peru

Tambopata Lodge

Founded back in 1991, the Libertador Tambopata Lodge is one of the most established eco-tourism lodges on the banks of the Tambopata River. There are now a total of nine rainforest lodges in the Puerto Maldonado area, reinforcing the status of the region as one of the major rainforest eco-tourism destinations in South America.

With a capacity of 59 it is also one of the smallest lodges, which is how we intend to keep it. Smaller groups, we believe, contribute to a more fulfilling visit and reduce the impact on the many species of fauna that abound in the surrounding forest.

The lodge employs around twenty Peruvian staff, the majority of whom are resident in Puerto Maldonado. In addition, there are a number of naturalist guides, both from Peru and abroad, who are at your service throughout your stay. As well as guiding and introducing visitors to the many marvels of the forest, a number are undertaking research projects, thereby contributing to a greater ecological understanding of the area.

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The lodge

The buildings or cabins have been designed to exist in complete harmony with this exotic environment. They are made from wood and thatched with woven leaves and screened to protect their occupants from insects.

There is no electricity at present, and we use lamps and candles at night which create a pleasant atmosphere at the lodge. We have, however, some buildings with solar energy to provide lighting and we are in the process of introducing solar energy to all rooms.

Each bed is protected by a mosquito net and the cabins all have a private bathroom with running water.

The dining room serves food, as well as drinks and snacks 24 hours. The dining room is where meals are served. Beverages and snacks are available 24 hours a day. Next door to the dining room is the bar and a small supplies shop. We also have a library, a conference centre, a small museum and a map library. All food is prepared by our own specialized professional staff, which uses a blend of forest products and more traditional recipes. Some of the dishes are typically Peruvian and international food is also served.

Energy:
The lodge compound and buildings are lit at night with flame lanterns and candles. We are at present experimenting with the use of solar energy. The solar panels in place are used to supply power for radio communication with Puerto Maldonado and Cusco, as well as illuminate the kitchen work area.

We have some buildings with solar energy to provide lighting and we are in the process of introducing solar energy to all rooms.

Water:
Tap water in the rooms comes from the clear Gallocunca stream found towards the rear of the lodge. The water is chlorinated and fit for showers, and bathing, though we recommend you drink the purified water supplied in pitchers. The pitcher can be refilled from the drinking water container situated in the dining room.

Night:
Naked flame lamps line the pathways around the lodge to help illuminate the way. However we still recommend you carry a flashlight with you at all times after dark.

Swimming:
Swimming is recommended in the Gallocunca stream. A pathway down to the stream can be found towards the rear of the cabins clearing. The lakes are also good places to swim, take bathing costumes with you on your morning walks to the lake(s).

Trails:
The lodge maintains several trails on both sides of the river totaling approximately 25 km. Most are circular trails beginning and ending at the lodge, which are well marked and the guests are welcome to explore them during their leisure time. The trails on the other side of the Tambopata River can only be reached by boat.

Library:
A selection of rain forest literature and magazines is available for your reading at the lodge throughout your stay. These include guide books to the mammals, birds, and plants of the area. Selection of novels, which can be freely swapped, are also available.

Games:
Games available at the lodge are; Chess, Backgammon, Playing cards. Games are restricted to the bar only.

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Rainforest Expedition itinerary: 5 days

Day 1 By river to the Ecolodge
Day 2 River, forest trails, camping
Day 3 Birdlife, monkeys and other forest fauna
Day 4 Clay lick, forest trails and wetlands
Day 5 Early morning river journey

Rainforest Encounter itinerary: 4 days

Day 1 River journey to lodge
Day 2 Bird and mammal clay licks
Day 3 Hike to Lake Sachavacayoc
Day 4 Return flight
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Rainforest Expedition Itinerary: 5 days

 

Day 1: By river to the Ecolodge

Your rainforest expedition begins with a 72-kilometer river journey to the lodge. As we leave the town, the vegetation changes from colonized deforested areas to virgin rainforest. On arrival you’ll have time to settle into the lodge and meet the staff before setting off for an introductory walk in the surrounding forest, accompanied by one of our naturalist guides. Species here include saddle-back tamarins, brown capuchins, agoutis, blue-morpho butterflies and many bird species (read more about Tambopata’s birds here).

Day 2: River, forest trails, camping

Today’s 4-hour boat ride upriver will take us deep into the National Reserve to an isolated clay lick where macaws, parrots and other fauna tend to gather in huge numbers. After arrival at our camp and a good lunch, you will have the afternoon free to explore the area’s forest trail system, spotting wildlife in the company of your naturalist guide. We will spend the night at our riverside campsite.

Day 3: Birdlife, monkeys and other forest fauna

Today will begin before dawn for us, as we need to get into position before the birds arrive at the clay lick. Several hundred macaws and parrots visit the clay-lick daily. This is indisputably one of the greatest spectacles the Amazon basin offers visitors. Following a late morning forest hike in search of some of the nine species of monkeys present in the area, after lunch we will explore a clear forest stream where it is safe to bathe, before spending another relaxing evening and night at our campsite. (Read more about clay licks here).

Day 4: Clay lick, forest trails and wetlands

After a second opportunity to witness the spectacle at the lick, we will hike to an oxbow lake. These wetland ecosystems are among the best places in the Amazon basin to spot wildlife. A family of giant otters lives in the vicinity of the lake and is often observed. Birds abound here, especially rufescent tiger-herons, great egrets, wattled jacanas and hoatzins (read more about hoatzins here). Later, our final evening at the Ecolodge will be spent enjoying a fine meal, followed by a return to the river, in search of nocturnal species, including caimans (read more about caimans here).

Day 5: Early morning river journey

An early start is required for the boat trip back to the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado. Riverside wildlife is particularly active at this time of day. Howler monkeys are frequently seen and heard, staking out their territory.

Rainforest Encounter Itinerary: 4 days

 

Day 1: River journey to lodge

Once we leave behind the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado, the vegetation will change from colonized deforested areas to virgin rainforest. After time to settle in at the lodge, in the afternoon one of our naturalist guides will invite you to explore the trails in the surrounding forest. Frequently seen fauna on these trails includes saddle-back tamarinds, brown capuchins, agoutis, blue-morpho butterflies, trogons, toucans and many other bird species. After dinner we will take a night walk in search of nocturnal rainforest species.

Day 2: Bird and mammal clay licks

After an early breakfast, we will board our launch for the 9-kilometer ride upriver to the trailhead. We will spend an hour walking this trail, with plenty of time to observe Amazon flora and fauna along the way. At the clay lick, we will await the arrival of the white-lipped peccaries that tend to gather here to feed on mineral deposits. Moving on through the forest, we will continue to the macaw lick, where in the early morning groups of scarlet and red-and-green macaws often gather to feed on clay deposits. After plenty of time to observe birds, we will return to the river via another forest trail and take the launch back to the lodge in time for lunch. On the trails it is possible to see howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys and squirrel monkeys. After lunch, guests can choose from a number of options, including:

Exploring the trails around the Ecolodge.

Visiting a nearby forest farm.

Swimming in a stream that flows close to the lodge.

Relaxing and enjoying the facilities of the Ecolodge.

In the evening, we will return to the river in search of nocturnal fauna, including caiman, after meeting in the bar for a brief talk given by our guides about this fascinating nocturnal creature. We will search for caiman using flashlights to pick out their “eye shine” as they hunt along the river banks (read more about caimans here).

Day 3: Hike to Lake Sachavacayoc

After a short boat ride downriver, we will hike a forest trail to a spectacular lake. During the walk you will be introduced by your guide to more aspects of the forest and its fauna. At the lake it is possible to spot black caimans and giant otters (read more about giant river otters here). We will return to the Ecolodge for lunch, and you will have the afternoon free for relaxation and swimming.

Day 4: Return flight

Your stay in the Amazon basin ends on the fourth day with a magical early morning return by river for the flight from Puerto Maldonado. This is an excellent time of day for wildlife observation, as the forest awakens.