This foray into the Peruvian Amazon basin offers a wide variety of activities over five days. In addition to exploration of the jungle and its extraordinary plant and animal life, you'll encounter local communities and farms, learning the traditional ways of the indigenous people who call this land their home.

Highlights

  • Travel by riverboat from the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado
  • View local wildlife from lookout towers and canopy walks
  • Visit a Brazil nut camp and watch a harvest
  • Spend time with an ethnic Machiguenga family and experience their habitat
  • Discover an animal research center project

Overview

This trip to the Tambopata National Reserve, part of the Amazon jungle, is perfect for travelers looking to a spend a few days getting to know the rainforest and the local communities that live there. From your base at an affordable jungle lodge, you'll set off on daily excursions up and down the Madre de Dios River. The experience includes visits to indigenous encampments, nut farms, animal protection reserves and numerous jungle trails.

Along the way, you can travel by riverboat and encounter the natural environment of the jungle while basking in the heat of the tropical weather. In addition to your time spent at the lodge, you'll also visit Puerto Maldonado, where you can stay right on the edge of the river and enjoy numerous activities, including a visit to a local market.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Transfer to the lodge and make a foray into the jungle 

Boardwalk to the Madre de Dios River.
On arrival at Puerto Maldonado, you'll board a riverboat and travel for 40 minutes along the Madre de Dios River to your lodge. After settling in, you can hike to the Shiringuero Camp. From here you'll be accompanied by a guide into the jungle where you'll experience tropical trees, medicinal plants, and wildlife. You'll also visit a forest camp where you'll see the harvesting of natural rubber, an important part of the local economy. 
 
After returning to the lodge, you can relax by the pool or in the hammocks on the terrace of your bungalow, savor an exotic cocktail at the bar,  or head to the riverside to view the inspiring sunset. Before dinner, you'll leave for a night-time boat trip to observe caimans and, with a bit of luck, other animals which populate the riverbank at night.

Day 2: Visit Tambopata Nature Reserve, Monkey Island, and a Brazil nut farm

A trip into the canopy of the forest offers excellent chances to spot birdlife and animals. 

Wake up early for some coffee or tea before leaving for Lake Sandoval. After approximately 20 minutes of travel on the river Madre de Dios, you'll reach the trailhead for the 3 km hike to the Tambopata National Reserve.

In the reserve, you'll have a chance to admire a wide variety of flora and fauna, including giant trees, snakes, and monkeys (squirrel, howler and capuchin monkeys). Bird watchers will be able to spot kingfishers and hoatzin (also known as the stink bird), among other birds. Once on the lake, you'll embark in small rowboats to search for giant river otters.

An optional trip will take you to Monkey Island. This trip depends on the season of your visit, as flooding can make a visit to the island impossible during certain periods. We also avoid the island during the mating period for the monkeys. 

After lunch, we make a visit to the canopy tower, where you'll observe birds and other wildlife living in the tops of the trees.  There will also be a visit to a Brazil nut camp, where harvesters stay for the duration of the season. The Brazil nut (also known as castaña) makes up an important part of the local economy in the Madre de Dios region.

Day 3: Visits to a local farm and an indigenous community

The day starts off with a 20-minute boat trip downriver to a chacra, a farm owned by a local family. Here you can see and taste different seasonal tropical fruits, including cacao, banana, cocona, bread-fruit, noni, yucca, lime, and others. We make another boat trip today to visit an indigenous family belonging to the Machiguenga tribe.

The Machiguenga are one of the many ethnic groups that exist in the Peruvian Amazon. They'll show you the cultural values of their ancestors, as well as language and customs, including traditional clothes, hunting gear, handicrafts and the music they play during ayahuasca (traditional spiritual medicine) ceremonies. They will teach you how to use natural products to make tools, and they will show you what they use to make their houses, clothing, and ornaments. You'll share lunch with the Machiguenga family and enjoy the native cuisine.

Day 4: Visit an animal rescue shelter and canopy walk

Lodge in Tambopata

Early in the morning, you'll travel by boat (45 minutes) to the Animal Rescue Center Taricaya. This project collaborates with universities from all over the world who send their students to help as volunteers to take care of injured and rescued animals. The goal of the center is to reintroduce the animals back into their natural habitat.

At the center, you'll encounter jaguar, different types of monkeys, tapirs, peccaries and some exotic birds, including the trumpeter bird. The project has a Canopy-Walk along an open path into primary forest. Here you can admire extraordinary views over the tops of the highest trees in the forest. Following this excursion, there is a return boat trip back to the Lodge, and a free afternoon to enjoy recreational activities.

Day 5: Visit a clay lick to observe parrots and return to Puerto Maldanado

Wildlife in the lodge.

Today we rise early for a hot beverage before departing for a 20-minute walk to the clay lick, where you'll observe three to five types of parrot. These birds come to the lick to ingest a particular kind of clay, only found in specific areas of this region. The clay is vital for the metabolic regulation of the birds and the sight of dozens of parrots gathered in one spot presents a colorful and exciting event.

After breakfast, you'll return to the city of Puerto Maldonado by boat. Private transport will receive you at the port, then drive you to the local market. You'll be able to appreciate the different typical products of the area during this brief visit. Shortly afterward you'll head to the airport to check-in for your respective flights after a great 5-day adventure in the jungle.

Map

Map of Peruvian Amazon Jungle - On a Budget - 5 Days
Map of Peruvian Amazon Jungle - On a Budget - 5 Days