A lodge-based exploration of Peru's Amazonian rainforest
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|Trip Length||10 days/9 nights|
|Arrive/Depart||Lima, Peru / Puerto Maldonado, Peru|
|Price||From $3,995 to $4,395|
|If you have questions about this journey or would like to receive a detailed trip brochure, call 800-445-2995 or click here.|
Day 1 (Lima) A driver meets you at the airport and transfers you to your hotel. We can recommend nearby restaurants for dinner on your own.
Day 2 (Lima) We gather up this morning with our Peruvian guide and head to Lima’s historic San Martin Square to see the Government Palace, Archbishop’s Palace, Cathedral, and Town Hall. We also visit the San Francisco Church, a masterpiece of Colonial architecture. After a wonderful lunch we visit the exceptional Larco Herrera Museum to browse one of the world’s finest collections of pre Columbian art. Dinner on your own this evening.
Day 3 (Reserva Amazónica) The group catches a morning flight to Puerto Maldonado, embarking from there on a 45-minute motorized canoe ride along the Madre de Dios River to the fabulous Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica Lodge. We have time for lunch and a rest before our first guided rainforest walk, with great opportunities for observing birds and exotic insects. Later we venture out on a twilight motorized canoe excursion to witness the emergence of nocturnal species like nightjars, owls, capybaras, and caiman.
Day 4 (Reserva Amazónica) We greet the Amazon morning with an excursion to Lake Sandoval in the Tambopata National Reserve, gliding in a dugout canoe across a calm lake that is home to the endangered giant river otter as well as red howler monkeys, red bellied macaws, anacondas, side-neck turtles, and black caimans. Following lunch back at the lodge, we ascend the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway, a quarter-mile-long suspension bridge linking 8 observation platforms. Be on the lookout for colorful toucans, woodpeckers, trogons, monkeys, and sloths.
Day 5 (Reserva Amazónica) A half-hour motorized canoe ride takes us up to Gamitana Creek to look for piranha, caiman, turtles, and birds. We also visit Gamitana Farm for a short guided tour to see how local farmers raise food. This afternoon’s excursion is to Hacienda Concepción, to learn about the uses of traditional plants. From there we enjoy a 30-minute dugout canoe trip to look for turtles, sun grebes, nightjars and exotic herons. Tonight following dinner is our very special 2-hour “Rainforest by Night” experience.
Day 6 (Refugio Amazonas) After breakfast we take the canoe back to Puerto Maldonado and make the short drive to the Tambopata River Port. The 2.5-hour boat ride to Refugio Amazonas lodge takes us past the indigenous community of Infierno and into the buffer zone of the 1.3-million-hectare Tambopata Reserve. After dinner we’ll walk down to the river’s edge to scan with headlamps and flashlights for the red eyeshine of caimans.
Day 7 (Tambopata Research Center) A 30-minute walk from the lodge this morning leads us to a 82-foot canopy tower. Built on high ground, the tower provides stunning morning views out over the Tambopata National Reserve. Up in the tower we’re likely to see mixed-species canopy flocks as well as toucans, macaws and raptors. Back down from the tower we paddle around Oxbow Lake watching the trees, skies, and shoreline for such species as hoatzin, horned screamers, macaws, and caiman. If we’re very lucky, we might catch sight of an otter. Heading deeper into our Amazon adventure, we board a boat for the 4.5-hour trip into the pristine heart of the reserve to the Tambopata Research Center, leaving the last traces of human habitation behind. Within the uninhabited 700,000-hectare nucleus of the reserve, sightings of capybara, caiman, geese, macaws and other large species become more frequent. The Research Center lodge manager greets us with a short orientation, then we’re off on a 2- to 3-mile walk on the Overlook Trail that leads us to commanding views of the Tambopata River winding its way into the lowlands. Listen and watch for howler and dusky titi monkeys.
Day 8 ( Tambopata Research Center) We are in position at dawn to observe the most active time of day on the largest-known macaw clay-lick in the Amazon. 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 that inspired a National Geographic cover story. From a spot discreetly located about 55 yards away, we will likely observe green-winged, scarlet and blue-and-gold macaws and several species of smaller parrots descend to nibble up clay. Back at the lodge, we share our impressions and excitement over breakfast, then head out for a 3-mile walk on the Floodplain Trail through classic Amazonian rainforest with immense trees, creeks, and ponds. Among the figs, ceibas, and shihuahuacos our guide helps us spot squirrel, brown capuchin, and spider monkeys as well as peccaries. After lunch we boat ten minutes upriver to a tiny pond where we might spot a variety of bird species including Muscovy duck, sun bittern, hoatzin, woodpeckers, oropendolas, flycatchers, and parakeets. Tonight after dinner there is an optional guided night walk. Mammals are active but rarely seen, but it’s relatively easy to find frogs—with shapes and sounds as unusual as their natural histories.
Day 9 (Tambopata Research Center) We begin the day again at the colorful, phenomenal clay lick, followed by breakfast and a 3-mile walk on the Terra Firme Trail. The habitat is entirely different than what we explored yesterday, characterized by smaller, thinner trees atop hills and slopes. Saddleback tamarins are frequently found here, and as we walk near the limits of the swamp we also keep our eyes open for rare tapir tracks. After lunch we walk the Palm Swamp Trail. Growing on the remains of an oxbow lake and providing both arboreal as well as terrestrial mammals with fruits throughout the year, the aguaje palms are one of the most important food sources in the rainforest. Demand for these fruits and development of rice paddies makes the palm swamp also one of the most threatened habitats. At dinner we compare notes, share more stories, and celebrate this incredible Amazon adventure.
Day 10 (Departures home) After an early breakfast we capture our last impressions of Peru’s incredible Amazonas and retrace our river and road journey back to Puerto Maldonado. Plan flights out anytime after 1 p.m.