If you’re interested in navigating through some of the rivers inside the Tambopata National Reserve, witnessing unique landscapes, being surrounded by the immensity of the rainforest, and having the chance to see the flora and fauna of the area, all while supporting a local conservation program near Puerto Maldonado… This experience is perfect for you!
Come and discover the ‘Colpa de guacamayos Chuncho’ (meeting point where macaws and other bird species feed from the clay of a ravine) and Lake Sandoval, two of the most wonderful sceneries in the area. This is an experience you’ll never forget!
If you want to discover other similar experiences in this part of Peru, we recommend having a look at our tours in the regions of Manu and Tambopata. Or, if you are unsure of where exactly you want to go yet, just have a look at all of our tours and activities in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest.
Getting to a jungle lodge is a wonderful experience in itself. It enables you to gaze at some of the treasures the jungle can offer you. Therefore, after leaving the airport or the bus station of Puerto Maldonado (make sure to arrive before to be able to take part in this tour), you’ll go straight to the beautiful ecolodge in the city and its surrounding nature.
First, it’s a 64 km (40 miles) car ride until you get to the local port. Here, the real adventure begins. Throughout 20 minutes you’ll navigate to the jungle lodge through the Tambopata River. Getting to know the Tambopata River is a unique experience made for those who want to discover Peru’s biodiversity. The water is home to capibaras, the largest rodents in the world, caimans, and other species.
Once arrived at the lodge, you will receive a trip’s brief explanation while enjoying delicious local fruits and beverages. And the adventure is not over yet. You will go on a night walk through the tropical forest. There you may hear and see different insects, bats, amphibians, and even some bigger mammals. Prepare to let yourself get involved in this atmosphere, and be surrounded by the darkness and different sounds of the Amazon.
Waking up to the sound of orioles will already make your day. We recommend you get up early and immerse yourself in one of the different paths near the lodge. You can go to the lookout point, where you can see the incredible landscape of the forest in front of you while having a cup of coffee or tea.
And this is just the beginning. Once again, you’ll cross the Tambopata River to another river bank and start trekking in a private conservation concession, where you can spot further wild animals. On the way back from our journey, you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the river and even go kayaking.
After lunch, you’ll go further up the Tambopata River and may have the chance to see animals like jaguars and taricayas (a fresh water turtle) enjoying their day at the edge of the river.
Sunset awaits you, and it’s quite a show. Different shades of orange and purple blend with the sounds of wildlife saying goodbye to the sunlight. A scene you will never forget.
Finally, instead of staying in the lodge, you will live a different experience: after arriving near the border between the Tambopata National Reserve and the Bahuaja Sonene National Park, you’ll settle in a camping area and finish your day immersed in the heart of the Amazon.
Each morning and before going out for their activities, monkeys start their day howling at each other. Their howls will wake you up this day.
At dawn, you will start a 25-minute journey upriver to the El Chuncho, where the Colpa de Guacamayos is located. While you have breakfast, and if the gods are on your side, you will witness the magical moment in which hundreds of birds arrive at the Colpa to feed on the clay of the ravine. A unique experience that only the Amazon can provide.
After that, you will start the return towards the lodge on the Tambopata River where you will take a short break before heading on to our afternoon adventure. Put your boots on and hold tight to the belt: zip lines and tightropes are the activities you can experience now.
After lunch, you will go on an ethnobotanical walk, where you will roam around the rainforest, learning about the medicinal plants of the area. You will see different species of giant trees. And the day is not over until you go looking for caimans along the banks of the Tambopata River.
After a long but satisfying day, you will sleep in the same lodge as on day 1 again.
On this day, you will start your return trip toward Puerto Maldonado. However, your jungle adventure is not over yet. In the afternoon you will navigate the Madre de Dios River for 30 minutes and then walk through the forest to Lake Sandoval, located at the opposite end of the Tambopata National Reserve.
Lake Sandoval was formed generations ago by the changing waters of the Madre de Dios River and is considered the most attractive lake in the Peruvian rainforest. The lake is home to the largest populations of endangered Giant Otters, massive 10-foot-long Black Caimans, and Paiche, one of the largest freshwater fish in the world. Here, you can also see some of the most colorful and odd-looking birds in the area, such as the Hoatzin and the Anhinga.
Before nightfall, you will embark on the boat back to the city and experience the river nightlife under a sky full of stars. Once we arrive at the ecolodge (this time located in the city of Puerto Maldonado), you’ll have a farewell meal.
After breakfast, you will participate in a 2-hour workshop in the Cocoa Center and become a master of chocolate making. Here, you’ll see different cocoa fruits and how they are processed, and you will have the opportunity to taste different types of cocoa-based products. Also, you’ll learn how to prepare chocolate and receive a handmade chocolate bar as a farewell gift.
At the end of your experience, you will go back to the airport or the bus station to make your way home or to your next destination. End of the “Navigate the Tambopata Rivers” experience.
Navigate the Tambopata Rivers is not a very demanding tour and can be considered a medium to low-difficulty experience. However, please keep in mind that the weather conditions in the jungle are not what most of us are used to: it gets hot and very humid and mosquitos love it here. So, don’t forget to stay hydrated, wear a hat or a cap and use insect repellent. Feel free to look at our general packing list for the jungle.
While you navigate the Tambopata rivers near the Natural Reserve you must be prepared for hot and humid conditions, which are more or less the rule. Still, rainy days can lower the temperatures quite a lot, or extraordinary events called “friaje” or Antarctic winds can occur.
Find more info about climates in Peru in our blog “Best Time to Travel to Peru“.
Passengers should carry preferably only a backpack for the first two days in the jungle lodge and the camping night. The rest will remain at the ecolodge in Puerto Maldonado, where you will stay on the fourth night and then be able to retrieve your luggage.
Visit a travel doctor who can give you professional advice on what vaccinations may be necessary. If you go into the Amazon jungle, a yellow fever injection is obligatory and malaria recommended as well as a shot for the common flu might be requested by the local authorities.
All the facilities you will use during the “Navigate the Tambopata Rivers” experience are an example of local architecture and were built with materials from the area. They are very well equipped and allow you to get a real jungle experience, which is highly interesting.
The “Navigate the Tambopata Rivers” tour operates all year round except for Christmas (24th and 25th December). Also, we recommend you avoid traveling during the rainy season (December to March) in the area.
The use of drones is possible but restricted. In the lodge, it is possible to fly drones, but with prior authorization from the administrator, analyzing case by case. During the visit to the Reserve, the use of drones is terminally prohibited.
Alvaro was born in Peru and studied Tourism and Business. His parents, Mario and Abigail founded the lodge around the time he was born and they made it their life project, putting in a lot of work and passion. Now, they are retiring and leaving it in the hands of the next generation. Alvaro is more than happy and proud to continue their work.
He left his town to go study in Lima when he was younger, but he always wanted to come back. Chiefly because he wanted to work in the jungle, and help with the conservation of this area. He says some of the most beautiful memories he has are the ones from the jungle during his childhood years. Consequently, he is always excited to show the area to more people so they create their memories too.
“…when you are visiting a place as pristine as the Amazon rainforest you have to do everything you can to lessen the impact of your visit and help conserve the forest.” – Alvaro Troncoso