Here are some of the best wildlife lodges for the Tambopata National Reserve to see an incredible amount of animals and plants at a comfortable lodge with attentive and knowledge wildlife guides and staff. As for the best Tambopata wildlife center, to see the most wildlife we recommend choosing a Tambopata lodge with a responsible take on tourism, which is positioned in an area of high wildlife richness, and that offers comfortable lodging with great service and friendly staff. This will be our selection criteria for the four lodges listed below, which are all located in the Tambopata National Reserve or in the reserve’s buffer zone. A great example is the Tambopata Research Center mentioned further down where guests have around an 8% chance of spotting wild jaguar (the photo above was taken on tour from this lodge).
First of all, the Tambopata rainforest in and around the Tambopata National Reserve is an incredible section of tropical forest home to an impressive number of species. One of the main attractions is that the southwestern Amazon Rainforest is home to more clay licks than anywhere else in Amazonia making it a great place to see large and colorful macaw parrots feed from the clay. Not only visited by these magnificent birds, other animals that visit different clay licks include South America’s largest land mammal, the tapir, a variety of different monkeys, peccary, and capybara. The abundance of herbivores, oxbow lakes, and clay licks means the Tambopata rainforest is also a great place to see wild jaguar, which are seen by about 1 in 15 guests at the deeper rainforest lodges i.e. the Tambopata Research Center and Heath River Wildlife Center.
The Tambopata Reserve is part of one of the world’s largest tracts of protected tropical forest and covers an area the size of Belgium. Housed with in this steamy jungle are several different monkeys, jaguar prowling the forest floor, coatis and peccary scavenging for food, tapir moving their bulky bodies through the rainforest, and an incredible number of colorful birds like the scarlet macaws, vibrantly colored toucans, and much more. Here we will mention a few of the best lodges in Tambopata and summarize the experiences with a focus on the wildlife.
The Heath River Wildlife Center
Positioned on the Heath River between the Tambopata National Reserve and Madidi National Park in an area of continuous rainforest, the Heath River Wildlife Center provides an exceptional experience of the Amazon Rainforest. From a floating hide, enjoy getting closer than other lodges to a very active macaw clay lick where you can take some excellent photographs of these magnificent birds. In addition to the macaws, enjoy visiting an oxbow lake to see the resident family of giant river otters and see these Amazon icons swimming, playing, hunting, and feeding. The lodge is also positioned near a clay lick where visitors have a high chance of watching tapir, which is South America’s largest land mammal.
This is one of the only lodges in the Amazon Rainforest, aside from the Manu Wildlife Center, where you have such a good chance of seeing a large macaw clay lick, giant river otters, and tapir at the clay lick. In addition to these iconic Amazon animals, you will explore the surrounding rainforest on many different trails to spot colorful birds and several different primates, including howler monkeys, capuchins, squirrel monkeys, tamarins, marmosets, and titi monkeys.
As the lodge is positioned between two of the world’s most diverse protected areas, there is an astounding amount of animals to see. Not only this, but the Heath River Wildlife Center is the only tourist lodge positioned on the Heath River giving exclusive access to this section of rainforest. Deep rainforest lodges like the Heath River Wildlife Center are located in areas of rainforest where the wildlife is at carrying capacity and these lodges are a great place to maximize your chances of seeing wild jaguar in the Amazon Rainforest.
As well as visiting the rainforest, enjoy guided tours of the savannah environment where camera traps set up by the wildlife center have captured images of maned wolves and anteaters. On the way to this environment, enjoy visiting a macaw breeding area where you can see a different stage of a macaw’s life.
The Tambopata Research Center
The Tambopata Research Center is positioned in the heart of Tambopata National Reserve where the wildlife is at carrying capacity for the environment, which means you can spot many different animals and plants. The Tambopata Research Center is also located near one of the largest macaw clay licks in the Amazon Rainforest where researchers are using the lodge to study conservation, ecology, and macaw behavior.
You will also enjoy the huge network of trails winding their way around the rainforest where your Amazon guides from Tambopata Research Center will be showing you different animals and plants, including many different monkeys, fascinating birds, interesting reptiles, and small, delicate frogs.
At the Tambopata Research Center, you will also stay one night at the Refugio Amazonas, which is located in the buffer zone of Tambopata National Reserve. While at Refugio Amazonas, you can enjoy a range of add-on experiences such as kayaking, jungle mountain biking, canopy climbing, and standup paddleboarding.
You will enjoy exploring the forest of a day to find many different species and also experience the rainforest at night to see the rainforest come alive with an entirely new group of rainforest animals.
The Refugio Amazonas Lodge
The Refugio Amazonas is best suited to travelers wanting a shorter experience of the Amazon Rainforest because it’s located a little closer to the base town of Puerto Maldonado. The lodge is positioned in the buffer zone of Tambopata National Reserve and although not as deep at the Tambopata Research Center mentioned above, the wildlife you can see is still incredible. Visitors to the Tambopata Research Center also stop enroute to the lodge at the Refugio Amazonas to enjoy different rainforest add-on activities like canopy climbing, kayaking, jungle mountain biking, and standup paddleboarding. You can also enjoy the spa and massage room at the Refugio Amazonas.
Enjoy exploring the rainforest on different trails to find a variety of wildlife, including several different monkeys, colorful birds, and much more. Enjoy visiting the small mammal clay lick to spot peccary, capybara, and monkeys feeding from the clay and climb the tall canopy tower to spot parrots and toucans.
This is a fantastic option for visitors looking for a shorter experience of the Amazon Rainforest where you can see an abundance of wildlife. As a new add-ons experience, visitors to the Refugio Amazonas can also choose to visit the large Chuncho Claylick to see hundreds of macaws. There are also different harpy eagle nests that have been located nearby, so make sure to ask about recent sightings of the world’s most powerful bird of prey.
Not only offering a great but shorter rainforest experiences, the Refugio Amazonas also has one of the only known children’s trails in the Amazon making it a great option for families. There are a few other recommended Tambopata lodges, but the above options are located closer to the Tambopata National Reserve with a focus on wildlife walks and feature as some of the best Amazon Rainforest lodges in Peru.