Tambopata Research Centre Parrot Lovers Program

The rainforest of Tambopata has gained a reputation of being a hotspot for parrot and macaw lovers due to its healthy population of parrots and macaws and due to an ongoing research project at the Tambopata Research Center. Parrot Lovers and birders in general can see the amazing results of biologists working with local macaws for over 20 years. A huge claylick lays less than a kilometer from TRC and up to 17 species of parrots have been observed at this claylick.

NOTE: This trip is only available December to March

DAY 1 Arrival & Reception by Parrot Guide

All parrot lover guides have worked in the Macaw Research Project for at least one season. In this manner they are not only familiar with the different species of psittascines, but are also well acquainted with macaw biology and conservation. They also have plenty of anecdotes of life as a macaw researcher.
Transfer Airport to Puerto Maldonado Headquarters
Upon arrival from Lima or Cusco, we will welcome you at the airport and drive you ten minutes to our Puerto Maldonado headquarters. While enjoying your first taste of the forest in our gardens we will ask you to pack only the necessary gear for your next few days, and leave the rest at our safe deposit. This helps us keep the boats and cargo light.
Transfer Tambopata River Port to Pto Maldonado Headquarters
Transfer Boat – Tambopata River Port to Refugio Amazonas
The two and a half hour boat ride from the Tambopata Port to Refugio Amazonas will take us past the Community of Infierno and the Tambopata National Reserve´s checkpoint and into the buffer zone of this 1.3 million hectare conservation unit.
Boxed Lunch
Orientation
Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and brief you with important navigation and security tips.
Dinner
Nightwalk
Refugio Amazonas – Overnight

DAY 2 Transfer Boat – Refugio Amazonas – Chuncho Clay Lick

Snack Chuncho Clay Lick
Chuncho Clay Lick
Two hours from Refugio Amazonas, deep in the Tambopata National Reserve we will stop at the Chuncho claylick. After a brief walk (~5 minutes) we will have the chance to see dozens of large macaws feeding on the special sodium rich clays of the riverbank. The Chuncho claylick probably attracts more large macaws than any other claylick in the world and the sight of dozens of macaws taking flight is truly unforgettable. The details of our stopover will depend on the weather and the amount of macaw activity, as the birds don’t visit the clay lick when it is raining.
Transfer Boat – Chuncho Clay Lick – Refugio Amazonas

Lunch
Oxbow Lake Visit
We will paddle around the lake on a canoe or a catamaran, looking for lakeside wildlife such as hoatzin, caiman and hornerd screamers, hoping to see the otters which are infrequently seen here. You will also be rewarded with overhead sightings of macaws.
Dinner Refugio Amazonas – Overnight

DAY 3 Refugio Amazonas Canopy Tower

We will visit a 135 ft scaffolding tower a 15 minute walk from the lodge. From the top you will see spectacular views of the river and the surrounding forest and watch as Mealy and Yellow-crowned Amazons, Blue-headed Pionus, and White-bellied Caiques stream by at eye level as they head towards the nearby clay lick.
Transfer Boat – Refugio Amazonas to TRC
Four and half hours by boat from Refugio Amazonas, in the pristine heart of the reserve, lies the Tambopata Research Center. One and half hours into our boat journey, as we cross the confluence with the Malinowski River, we will leave the final traces of human habitation behind. Within the 700,000 hectare uninhabited nucleus of the reserve, sightings of capybara, caiman, geese, macaws and other large species will become more frequent.
Chuncho Clay Lick
Two hours from Refugio Amazonas, deep in the Tambopata National Reserve we will stop at the Chuncho claylick. After a brief walk (~5 minutes) we will have the chance to see dozens of large macaws feeding on the special sodium rich clays of the riverbank. The Chuncho claylick probably attracts more large macaws than any other claylick in the world and the sight of dozens of macaws taking flight is truly unforgettable. The details of our stopover will depend on the weather and the amount of macaw activity, as the birds don’t visit the clay lick when it is raining.
Lunch
Orientation
Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and brief you with important navigation and security tips.
Overlooks
We will head out along the “bamboo trail” for up close looks at Scarlet, Blue-and-gold and Green-winged Macaws as they loaf in the trees. This will give us wonderful opportunities to watch the social behavior of these birds as pairs fight, preen and feed. At the end of the trail we will visit an isolated area of clay lick rarely used by Cobalt-winged Parakeets and the rare Dusky-billed and Amazonian Parrotlets.
Dinner
Macaw Project Lectures
After dinner scientists will provide an in depth look at the biology of macaws, their feeding habits, the theories for clay lick use, their breeding and feeding ecology, population fluctuations and the threats to their conservation.
Tambopata Research Center – Overnight

DAY 4 Macaw Clay Lick

At dawn we will cross the river and enjoy the largest clay lick where hundreds of parrots and macaws of up to 17 different species have been seen. Here we will watch as the parrots fly in from all directions and land in the trees above the clay lick. When a few hundred have gathered and the noise builds to a crescendo a small group of Severe and Red-bellied Macaws will break free from the loafers in the trees and make long slow circles in front of the lick. Once these first brave pioneers land on the lick the parrots will rain down by the dozens to join them. Mealy Amazons, Blue-headed Caiques, conures and macaws will mix in a noisy blur of colorful wings as they rush in to get their fill of the precious clay. Then about one hour after it began, the birds will drift away and leave the area in an eerie silence. Once this early morning rush of activity ends we will head back to the lodge for breakfast.
Breakfast
Floodplain Trail
This five kilometer trail covers the prototypical rain forest with immense trees criss-crossed by creeks and ponds. Amongst the figs, ceibas and shihuahuacos we will look for Squirrel, Brown Capuchin, and Spider Monkeys as well as peccaries. TRC is located within this habitat.
Lunch
Macaw project nest visit
A short hike from the lodge, we will stop and observe macaw project researchers at work as they climb trees to monitor natural and articifical nests. From thirty meters above, researchers will descend macaw chicks on plastic buckets strung down by a pulley. At ground level, they weigh and measure the chicks to monitor growth.
Dinner
Night walk
You will have the option of hiking out at night, when most of the mammals are active but rarely seen. Much easier to find are frogs with shapes and sounds as bizarre as their natural histories.
Tambopata Research Center – Overnight

DAY 5 Midmorning Macaw Clay Lick Visit and Palm Swamp Trail

Breakfast
We will head out to the clay lick at 8 AM and wait for the arrival of the large macaws. By 9 or 10 AM over 100 Scarlet, Blue-and-gold and Green-winged Macaws should gather in the trees. Before descending to eat the clay the entire group usually flies en masse across the front of the lick. When the late morning sun lights up the birds, it is one of the most spectacular sights in the Amazon. Once the birds choose a safe spot, they will descend by the dozens to the lick. The Blue-and-golds grab bites of clay and fly back to the safety of the trees while the Scarlets and Green-wings sit on the lick and squabble over the best bits of clay. When the birds finish their visit to the lick we will return to the lodge.
Lunch
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 great conditions for planting rice, makes the palm swamp also one of the most threatened habitats.
Dinner
Tambopata Research Center – Overnight

DAY 6 Transfer Boat – TRC to Refugio Amazonas

Breakfast

A three and a half hour boat ride brings us to Refugio Amazonas.
Brazil Nut Trail and Camp
A few minutes hike from the lodge is a beautiful old growth patch of Brazil Nut forest that has been harvested for decades (if not centuries) where the precarious remains of a camp used two months a year by Brazil Nut gatherers can still be experienced. We will be demonstrating the whole process of the rain forest’s only sustainably harvested product from collection through transportation to drying.
Lunch
Farm Visit
Five minutes downriver from the lodge lies a farm owned and managed by charismatic Don Manuel from the neighbouring community of Condenado. He grows a variety of popular and unknown Amazon crops – just about every plant and tree you see serves a purpose.
Ethnobotanical Tour
Along this trail we will find a variety of plants and trees that are used by the local population with at least the same variety of purposes. We will learn about the medicinal (and other) uses of Ajo-Sacha, Yuca de Venado, Uña de Gato, Charcot-Sacha, Para-Para, among several others.
Dinner
Tambopata National Reserve Lectures
Nightly lectures prepared by the staff of Refugio Amazonas cover conservation threats, opportunities and projects in the Tambopata National Reserve.
Refugio Amazonas – Overnight

DAY 7 Return to Puerto Maldonado

Breakfast
Transfer Boat – Refugio Amazonas to Tambopata River Port
Transfer Tambopata River Port to Pto Maldonado Headquarters
Transfer Puerto Maldonado Headquarters to Airport
Additional notes:

We retrace our river and road journey back to Puerto Maldonado, our office and the airport. Depending on airline schedules, this may require dawn departures.
SENARNP Entrance Fee – Tambopata National Reserve: The Tambopata Research Center is located within the Tambopata National Reserve. For its location, it is subject to strict regulations and entrance fee payments for its guests.

The Park Entrance fee of $ 75 per person comprises three different payments made to the SERNANP (Servicio Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas por el Estado – the Peruvian authority in charge of the administration of the protected areas). Its regulation also states that guests staying longer than 5 nights at the Tambopata Research Center need to pay $ 60 for every additional block of 1 to up to 4 nights staying at the lodge. This entrance fee is included on your reservation.

The Tambopata region is in a remote, but accessible, area of Peru. Travel here can involve many unforeseen events and there are several restrictions and so it is wise to engage a travel logistics service with regional experience in getting you to the right place and back. For this reason, we do not recommend using an online booker like Booking until you Contact us for more complete information.

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