The Tambopata National Reserve, TNR is part of a 3.7million acre Multi-Ecosystem Conservation Reserve in southeastern Perú, created in 1990 in partnership with local grassroots and international conservation groups by Perú’s government. This reserve protects the biodiversity of the watersheds of the Tavara and Candamo Rivers and most of the Tambopata River watershed. The declaration and design of the TNR include an underlying philosophy of sustainable development and conservation of forest resources. Part of this includes environmentally friendly Wildlife tours to help generate valuable profits for the reserve.
DAY 1 – Cusco to Puno: Andean Highland River Valleys, Mountians and Plateaus
Picking you up after your Hotel breakfasts, we leave Cusco to the Puno area travelling by car or bus about 8 hours, visiting several Andean villages along the way for pictures. We will stop at the archaeological site of Raqchi, “The Great temple of Wiracocha”, The great creator of the Universe in the Inca and Andean world where we tour the site. We cross the high pass of the Abra La Raya, viewing mountains and snowy peaks and grass land ecosystems. During this overland travel we follow the sacred Vilcanota River, called the Urubamba River for the first part of the trip, one of the main sources of the Amazon. Good opportunities to see some wildlife of the High Andes, Andean grass land and Andean scrub bush forest, in bodies of water found along the way we may see large birds like Andean gulls, Flamingoes and Andean Ibis, , maybe even Guanacos or Vicuna Camelids. Snacks and lunch along the route and independent dinner plans for our Groups’ Hotel in Puno to facilitate Island Tours tomorrow and for altitude.
DAY 2 – Lake Titicaca, Taquile and Amantani Islands
After an early breakfast we transfer to a Boat for our Lake Titicaca Tour at the lakeside port of Puno, bound for a presentation about the floating reed islands of the Uros people. The traditions of the Aymara and Inca peoples still survive here and around this part of the world, remnants of what were once very extensive civilizations. Sharing their pride from a 5,000yr old culture, like many native peoples they make part of their living with their own handicrafts, and other ‘sustainable projects’, like customary overnight stays when the weather imposes. We’ll travel by boat for 3 hours across this high mountain ocean, over to explore the Taquile and maybe Amantani Islands for gentle hiking over ancient trails and viewing the lake and sky effects, very refreshing. On Taquile Island we have lunch planned at the summit of the Island where most Groups allowed to visit Taquile are personally greeted by the traditional Leadership of this special Lake Titicaca community. By late afternoon we make it back to our Puno Hotel, maybe in time for Sunset. Breakfast and lunch included today, then independent dinner
DAY 3 – Puno-Putina Punku 1st camp Curva Alegre: Lower Cloud Forest
Driving 8 hours today, we leave early to see the sunrise in the high plateau of Lake Titicaca, we’ll see the cementeries and Archaeological remains of Tiahuanaco, Lupacas and Putina Cultures. Breakfast is along the road, here and there stopping for pictures, we’ll probably have picnic lunch close to or at the initial section of rich Cloud forest ecosystem in the afternoon. Around 7pm we arrive to 1,900m, a small village called Putina Punku and a landmark to the historic territories of the Putina ethnic inheritance. Depending on the water level, we may put in here depending the water levels. The Tambopata River is among the longest rivers of Madre de Dios.). For low water we drive another 45min, to our preferred camping spot and first expedition dinner close to the river at Curva Alegre. An Amazing day worth your trip all by itself.
DAY 4 – Curva Alegre – Don Vicente: Valley Hill Forest
For Rafting we have breakfast at 7am, to prepare our outfitting for 6 hours in the upper Tambopata, from 1,200m. We have a safety briefing today for conditions on this section expecting up to Class II rapids for the first 2 hours. Memorable lunch along the riverside with beautiful views of the Hill forest jungle, and depending some hiking for rainforest and wildlife experience. After lunch we brief and prepare for Class III rapids. Pulling off this section by mid afternoon to camp at Don Vicente, there is excellent forest of big trees with potential for lots of mammals, preceeding the growing sounds of the Jungle at night and after dinner.
DAY 5 – Don Vicente – Playa Caracol: Mixed Hill Forest
For about 6 hours today we run the main canyon, mostly granitic, created by volcanic activity millions of years ago during the formation of the Andes. There are fun rapids from easy to difficult, from Class III-IV rapids and flatter sections of Class I-II. There are 2 waterfalls along the way to hike around the scenery of the rainforest, filled with plant species and likely spotting of river birds and maybe caimans and capybaras. This habitat is very pristine with a full complement of Rainforest biodiversity. In addition there are Claylicks in the area used by different mammals for the clay that helps them treat protective chemicals from their rainforest diet of leaves, fruits and seeds. Deer, peccaries, tapirs and even different monkeys, are recorded eating at these Claylicks, never mind their predators. We’ll set camp and rest later in the afternoon, surveying the area before dinner and into the night.
DAY 6 – Playa Caracol – Playa Tapir: Fluvial Andes, Jungle Foothills
We continue running the same section with Class III-IV rafting. Around lunch we reach the end of this dramatic canyon and slowing down, the Tambopata flattens out and opens up to even more incredible panoramas of the Rainforest, the best for finding isolated wildlife. Quietly floating along, there are ever more chances to see emblematic primates, Howler monkeys, Brown Capuchins and Spider Monkeys. We’ll hike into the jungle a bit more as well, as the epiphytes and bromeliads of the Cloud forest follow the tops of the canopy ever higher. Coming out from under the Foothill forest, we camp after about 7 hours on the river under the southern stars with better Constellation spotting and more sounds of the jungle darkness.
DAY 7 – ‘Las Playas’~PlayaTapir-Playa Bambu:Amazon Watersheds & Beaches
Visibility is our ally now, in more gentle currents and “Playa” means beach, so we are into the sand in the middle of little impacted primal Rainforest, and we have a beautiful river to paddle. Southern River Otters paddle here too, so do Capybara tribes, peccaries take the bleachers and monkeys chatter from the galleries. Turning into little Tambopata tributaries around lunch we can hike some of their rippling creeks, carefully looking for animal prints and maybe stalking larger cats. Usually abundant and diverse bird life judges us too from their freedom. 7 hours of gentle currents up to Class II, and setting camp is easier too on ‘clean beaches’
DAYS 8 AND 9 – Playa Bambu – Candamo River – Playa Tavara: Rainforest Rivers
Pre Dawn wake up today and likely tomorrow, when especially the mammals are at their peak, and we are on the Tambopata river with its blanket of atmospheric effects, even dense fog to hide us before an Amazon sunrise. Sun burning open the clouds we watch for wildlife – close-up, across the sand canopied by flora, quietly paddling in the wild throat of the Rainforest. Breakfast is on the river and for lunch at the mouth of the confluence of the Candamo River, we have a hike to find even more jungle encounters. Rafting about 6 hours in Lowland Rainforest habitat and Playa Tavara is our Camp tonight.
Playa La Collpa Wake up Early – Pre-dawn to be On the River, for Wildlife, and on to Playa La Collpa another 6 hours or so today towards camping at La Collpa this evening, expecting a two hour hiking break in the afternoon. Endemic species, only found in certain limited ranges can be found in these sections, your guide will be on the look out for them in their highly specific habitats. Our camp at La Collpa, for years has been a very beautiful Rainforest beach open to refreshing breezes and richness of rainforest and stars.
DAY 10 – Playa Collpa to Macaw Clay lick: Early AM Wildlife Blind Reservations
Featured in National Geographic, very early we are reserved in the ‘Blinds’ at a Macaw Clay Lick. These pitted cliffs over the Tambopata river give us “The best photogenic viewing at a Collpa in South America”, for at least 3 Macaw Species, 5 larger Parrots and ‘Amazonian’ Parakeet Species, congregating for the clay deposits, only sometimes taking their turns. It is always surprising and Re-invigorating, sometimes Raucous for the natural – power, even for regular viewers. When these avian ringmasters and the spectacle, finally release us we start the last stretch of wildlife chances on the Tambopata river by motor boat another 7 hours. Stopping for lunch and facilities. tonight we have our last tour dinner and lodging at a small village having passed into the outskirts of human settlements again.
Airport Transfers depending on earliest Flights
Not included : Return flight Puerto Maldonado to Cusco or Lima depending on your itinerary, End of services.
We Provide and Include: Licensed, Bilingual, history, naturalist and Class V Rafting Tour Guides- Satellite phone- Rafting Expedition Equipment, Safety Procedures and Orientation, paddles, helmets, life jackets, windbreaker jackets, Cargo Cata-raft & Safety kayak- Motor Boat Transfers- First Aid kit-Expedition grade tents and sleeping bag air matrasses gear- All Itinerary Meals, including vegetarian & some snacks- Dining tent, Cook & Services- Ecological, portable toilets- TNR Entrance and Site Fees, IE Macaw Lick- Hotel/Airport Transfers in Cusco & Puerto Maldonado- Airline Reservation assistance and Confirmation- Additional Tour Arrangements.
For adjusting to tour altitude, we suggest one day tours like the Sacred Valley, River Rafting and the City Tour of Cusco. As Guides we offer 100% Gauranteed Information, for your sensibilities – about the best specific hotel rooms and services around Peru, like extra windows and other amenities.
The TNR protects habitats ranging from the Andean highlands around the rivers’ headwaters through some of the last remaining intact cloud forests to the lowland rainforests of the Amazon basin. Over 1,300 bird species (including 32 parrot species – 10% of the world’s total), 200 mammal species, 90 frog species, 1,200 butterfly species and 10,000 species of higher plants are protected within this reserve. Enjoy one of the most spectaculars Amazon Rivers with high biodiversity including a visit to the Macaw Lick to sight an enormous array of macaws, parrots and parakeets.