- 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
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.
Day 1: Arrival in Lima
¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru's largest city and central metropolitan hub, and home to one-third of the country's population. Located at the site of a pre-Columbian indigenous Ychsma settlement, which was conquered by the Inca empire in the 15th century and later by the Spanish conquistadores, Lima has a fascinating history and a diverse mix of cultures. Amerindian, European, Afro-Peruvian, and Asian—especially Chinese and Japanese—influences make Lima a dynamic and exciting city to explore.
Lima's breezy location on the Pacific Ocean and mild desert climate make it the perfect city for exploring on foot. Head downtown to mingle with locals, stretch your legs, and grab a bite to eat in one of the many award-winning restaurants.
Suggested activities include:
Explore the historic center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site packed with fascinating Spanish architecture. Start with a scenic tour of the colonial downtown, which emanates from the main square. Stroll over to the 16th-century Cathedral, which took 80 years to construct and was built in the grandiose style of the Spanish Empire.
Visit the Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion granted by chief conquistador Francisco Pizarro to Jerónimo de Aliaga, one of his captains, in 1535. This is the only house from that era that still belongs to the same family.
Stroll around the Pueblo Libre district to the privately owned Larco Museum of pre-Columbian art, housed in a beautifully restored viceregal mansion built over a 7th-century pre-Columbian pyramid. The museum boasts a vast pre-Colonial collection of gold and silver artifacts.
- In the evening, head to the eclectic "Love Park" in the upscale coastal district of Miraflores, where you can admire a huge kissing statue and beautiful mosaic walls. The park is built on the cliffs of Chorrillos and is a perfect place to enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Pacific.
- Enjoy a nightcap at an open-air cafe or restaurant in the diverse Miraflores neighborhood.
Day 2: Transfer to the lodge and make a foray into the jungle
Day 3: Visit Tambopata Nature Reserve, Monkey Island, and a Brazil nut farm
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 4: 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 5: Visit an animal rescue shelter and canopy walk
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 6: Visit a clay lick to observe parrots and return to Puerto Maldanado
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 return flight to Lima after a great 5-day adventure in the jungle.
Day 7: Departing Lima
Today is your last day in Peru! You will be met at your hotel for a transfer to the Lima airport, where you will transfer to your homeward-bound flight. ¡Buen viaje!