Tambopata National Reserve is a huge reserve of rainforest located in Peru’s southeastern region of Madre de Dios. It is characterized by outstanding biodiversity and one of Peru’s best spots for wildlife watching.
We spent 4 days exploring Tambopata and discovering its amazing flora and fauna. If you wonder what happens during a typical day traveling in the rainforest below you can read in detail what we experienced during one of our days in Tambopata.
Time to get up! It is still dark outside but from my room that opens up to the jungle, I can already hear the loud sounds of some howler monkey who apparently woke up long before me.
The adventures ahead of us today are enough motivation to get out of bed quickly. Our plan is to start the day watching the sun rise over the rainforest. Starting at our lodge we take a 15 minutes walk until we reach a 30 meter high canopy tower. It takes us a while to climb the numerous stairs of the tower but the effort is worth while as the view from the top is breathtaking! We are surrounded by the endless immensity of the jungle and can feel how the jungle wakes up slowly. The sun rising over the horizon is painting the sky in different shades of orange. Simply magical!
Breakfast time. After the morning walk everybody is hungry and the rich and plentiful breakfast buffet is just what everybody needs to regain our energy. There are alternatives both for those who prefer a more traditional “bread and scrambled eggs breakfast” as for those who fancy trying something more exotic.
My personal favorite: fried plantains with Peruvian cheese.
Embarking again! Yesterday afternoon we arrived at our first lodge that is located in the buffer zone near Tambopata National Reserve and today we will head even further into the jungle, and stay inside the reserve. We have a 4-5 hours boat ride ahead of us and this is the perfect moment to have a chat with our lovely guide Lucy who answers all my questions about the lodges commitment to sustainability and community support.
On yesterday’s boat ride we saw occasional signs of human habitation but as we head deeper into the jungle it is just flora and fauna we can see from our boat: capybaras resting on the river banks, caimans and several birds.
Wow! I can’t believe it! As we were traveling on our boat watching trees and animals go by, suddenly we we came right upon a jaguar, sitting on the shores of Tambopata River.
Obviously one of our guides with his trained eye was the first one to spot a movement in the river banks and made the boat driver slow down and reposition the boat to get a better view. Of all big cats I have seen so far on other trips the elusive jaguar truly is the most impressive and beautiful one. We are lucky and spend around an hour watching this majestic animal moving along the river bank and have plenty of chances to capture great pictures and memories. The most amazing moment of the trip so far!
Quick stop at the Chuncho clay lick, one of Tambopata’s largest clay licks.
We disembark our boat and walk towards the clay lick that attracts dozens of species of birds, among them some flagship species like the Scarlett Macaws and Red and Green Macaws. These birds use the clay lick to supplement the sodium in their diets by licking the clay. An extraordinary and colorful wildlife spectacle!
Arrival at our lodge. Once we enter the lodge’s common area we are greeted by a macaw couple flying around in the lodge. Everything in this lodge is about macaws and the origin of the lodge is a macaw research project. If it wasn’t about macaws the lodge wouldn’t even exist and these semi-wild and rescued macaws certainly know!
Before we head into our rooms we enjoy a tasty dinner. We arrived a little later than scheduled but traveling in the Amazon rainforest requires some degree of flexibility and nobody could have anticipated our jaguar spotting today. During lunch I especially appreciate the several vegetarian options.
After lunch it is time to head to our rooms before our next excursion begins. Considering that we are so deep in the jungle the comfort level the lodge offers is impressive. They have found just the perfect way enabling their guest to immerse into nature but offer all kinds of comfort such as electricity, hot water showers, spa treatment and even some (slow) wifi, to mention just a view.
This afternoon we will explore the surrounding of the lodge on foot. As several trails are muddy, the lodge provides us with some rubber boots.
While walking through the thick green forest we see several monkey species, a huge tarantula and other interesting animals.
Our guide Lucy is fantastic with explaining us the different wildlife and plants of the rainforest and answering all our questions.
After our excursion I enjoy a refreshing shower and some downtime relaxing in the hammock on my room’s terrace.
Then it is time for a tasty dinner. After another delicious meal I stay in the lounge for a while chatting with my other group members about the amazing day we had and then it is about bedtime. Days in the jungle start early and finish early and pretty much follow the rhythm of sunlight.
Lying in my bed I can hear again the sounds of the intense jungle surrounding me and while I fall asleep I feel grateful for the wonderful experiences of the day.