Tambopata Research Center
The Tambopata Research Center is a comfortable 18bedroom lodge situated by one of the world’s largest Macaw Claylicks on the uninhabited frontier of the Tambopata National Reserve and the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park.
Indeed as the founding venture of Rainforest Expeditions, it was established to aid the protection of these magnificent birds and has a long-term research project to ensure the survival of their populations. It is unrivalled in its access to pristine Amazonian forests, having no neighbours, and due to its distance from human populations requires a stopover in Refugio Amazonas.
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The Tambopata Research Center (TRC) is one of the most remote rainforest lodges in Peru, offering adventurous travelers an outstanding chance to engage with the natural wonders of the Amazon.
Quick facts about our lodge:
- One wing of 18 rooms connected by raised boardwalk
- 8 shared bathrooms
- Research quarters
- Dining room
- The dining room is an open building that doubles as a bar
- The research quarters is a two story building usually full of scientists and their assistants from the macaw project.
- Room Amenities
Our rooms are unique due to the fact that one side of the room open out onto the surrounding rainforest acting as a window into the forest allowing guests to enjoy this unique ecosystem even from the comfort of their hammocks and enabling you to view animals, including monkeys, often visible from the lodge. The reason we have been able to incorporate this “luxurious” design into our lodge is because mosquitoes are not really a problem around the lodge clearing and the open section allows for an intimate contact with the rain forest.
Other room amenities include:
- Natural Construction – A simple, airy lodge built from traditional materials such as wood, palm fronds and clay.
- Rooms – Eighteen bedrooms, eight shared bathrooms and a common area including for dining.
- Electricity – No mains electricity. Lighting is by candle and kerosene lamp.
- Generators – Guests can recharge camera batteries, cellphones and other devices using our generator.
- Water – No hot water (its not as bad as you think)
- Internet – Guests have access to wireless internet connections throughout the lodge. We also have radios and satellite telephones in case of emergencies.
- Private Rooms- Bedrooms are separated from one another by light cane fencing, with drapes instead of doors. Rooms are private but not soundproof.
- Mosquito Nets – All have mosquito nets and hammocks, bedside tables and a rack of clothes hangers.
- Jungle Views – Bedrooms open out onto the surrounding rainforest, allowing guests to enjoy this unique ecosystem even on their downtime, with wild animals, including monkeys, often visible from the lodge.
The TRC’s greatest attraction is the rainforest – and creatures – that surround it. Species you have a strong chance of spotting during your stay include:
- Macaws – The largest known macaw clay-lick in the Amazon is 500 yards from the lodge.
- Dusky headed titi monkeys
- Squirrel monkeys
- Brown capuchin monkeys
- Howler monkeys
- Spider monkeys
Although very difficult to see, jaguars, tapirs and herds of peccary are also occasionally glimpsed by guests
|Example itinerary: 6 days|
Day 1: Arrival & Reception by Guide. Our guides are biologists, tourism professionals, or community members. Unless noted otherwise, our guides speak English. We assign guides at 6:1 ratio in 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 Airport to 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 to Tambopata River Port. Skirting Puerto Maldonado, we drive 20 kilometers to the Tambopata River Port, entering the Native Community of Infierno. The port is a communal business.
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 checkpoint and into the buffer zone of this 1.3 million hectare conservation unit. Boxed Lunch.
Orientation. Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and brief you with important navigation and security tips. Dinner.
Caiman searches. We will be out at the river’s edge at night, scanning the shores with headlamps and flashlights to catch the red gleams of reflection from caiman eyes.
Day 2: Canopy tower: A thirty minute walk from Refugio Amazonas leads to the 25 meter scaffolding canopy tower. A bannistered staircase running through the middle provides safe access to the platforms above. The tower has been built upon high ground, therefore increasing your horizon of the continuous primary forest extending out towards the Tambopata National Reserve. From here views of mixed species canopy flocks as well as toucans, macaws and raptors are likely. Breakfast.
Brazil nut trail and camp: A few minutes hike from the lodge is a beautiful old growth patch of Brazil Nut forest that has been harvested for decades (if not centuries) where the precarious remains of a camp used two months a year by Brazil Nut gatherers can still be experienced. We will be demonstrating the whole process of the rain forest’s only sustainably harvested product from collection through transportation to drying.
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 capybara, caiman, geese, macaws and other large species will become more frequent. Boxed Lunch.
Orientation. Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and brief you with important navigation and security tips.
Overlook Trail: A three to five kilometer hike will lead us to overlooks commanding magnificent views of the Tambopata 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. Dinner.
Macaw Project Lectures: 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.
Day 3: 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 colorful 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 and several species of smaller parrots descend to ingest clay. Outings are at dawn when the lick is most active. Breakfast.
Floodplain Trail: This five kilometer 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. TRC is located within this habitat. Lunch.
Pond Platform: Ten minutes upriver from the lodge is a tiny pond with a platform in the middle. It is a great place to spot waterfowl such as Muscovy duck, sunbittern and hoatzin along with the woodpeckers, oropendolas, flycatchers and parakeets that call this pond their home. Dinner.
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.
Day 4: Time- off. Time off to relax and enjoy the lodge surroundings, wander off on your own, try out a new trail, or repeat your favorite activity. Breakfast.
Terra Firme Trail: An entirely different habitat characterized by smaller, thinner trees atop hills and slopes is covered by this five kilometer 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. Lunch.
Palm Swamp: A thirty minute hike from TRC brings us to the palm swamp. Dead aguaje palms serve as nests to Red-bellied and Blue-and-gold macaws. An elevated boardwalk and scaffolding tower allow for eye level observation of the macaws as they fly in and out of their nests. Dinner.
Day 5: Breakfast. Tambopata Research Center to Refugio Amazonas. A three and a half hour boat ride brings us to Refugio Amazonas. Boxed Lunch.
Condenado Oxbow Lake – CONDEL: A forty minute hike takes you Condenado Lake. You paddle canoes around the lake looking for lakeside wildlife such as hoatzin and caiman, hoping to see the otters which are infrequently seen here. You will also be rewarded with overhead sightings of macaws. Dinner.
Tambopata National Reserve Lecture. Nightly lectures prepared by the staff of Refugio Amazonas cover conservation threats, opportunities and projects in the Tambopata National Reserve.
Day 6: Breakfast. Transfer Boat – Refugio Amazonas to Tambopata River Port.
Transfer Tambopata River Port to Pto Maldonado Headquarters.
Transfer Pto Maldonado Headquarters – Airport. We retrace our river and road journey back to Puerto Maldonado, our office and the airport. Depending on airline schedules, this may require dawn departures.
Boat Transportation. All our boats are 20 foot long, roofed canoes with 55 hp outboard motors. Daily arrivals and departures from every port are scheduled to meet every airlines arrival and departure with a maximum two hour wait.