Accessed from the sleepy town of Puerto Maldonado in Peru, Tambopata is one of the world’s most wildlife-rich places with a fantastic diversity of species. You can find many different rainforest monkeys, a fantastic assemblage of different colorful birds, and much more.
The Tambopata region is home to the highest concentration of clay licks in the Amazon Rainforest. This is where large and colorful macaw parrots come to feed on the medicinal and salt rich clays, along with different monkeys, tapir, and capybara. This means lodges in the Tambopata region are very fortunate and some of the lodges, such as the first two in this list, are located near Tambopata’s largest licks for almost guaranteed wildlife sightings. There are also many different wildlife-filled oxbow lakes that draw abundant wildlife from deep in the rainforest to one place. This makes it a lot easier to see many animals over a short time.
Here, we provide our selection of the top 6 lodges in Tambopata for wildlife sightings:
The Tambopata Research Center
Located in the middle of Tambopata National Reserve, Tambopata Research Center is positioned near one of Amazonia’s largest macaw clay licks. You can see hundreds of brightly colored macaw parrots visiting the clay for its high salt and medicinal properties.
In addition to the macaw parrots and other animals visiting the nearby clays, enjoy treks through the rainforest to spot several different monkeys, including howler monkeys, capuchins, titi monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and a high diversity of birds.
The rooms at Tambopata Research Center are comfortable and open onto the rainforest to provide a connection with this incredible environment. Enjoy small group guided tours to explore five different habitats, including bamboo, flood plain, terra firma, palm and riverine rainforest.
The lodge houses both wildlife researchers and tourists, which means you can interact with researchers and learn about the magnificent macaws.
As this is one of the most remote lodges in the Amazon Rainforest, you will travel up the Tambopata River and deep into the reserve where the wildlife is at carrying capacity. This means you will maximize your opportunities for wildlife experiences, including occasional sightings of jaguar sunning themselves on the river bank.
Heath River Wildlife Center
Located at the border of the Tambopata National Reserve and the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, Heath River Wildlife Center is the only lodge on the highly diverse Heath River deep within the Amazon Rainforest.
Here, you will enjoy one of the Amazon’s largest clay licks to see hundreds of brightly colored macaw parrots, which you will observe from a floating hide to get a little closer than other lodges. In addition to the macaw clay lick, you will also experience a clay lick frequently visited by tapir, South America’s largest land mammal.
From the Heath River Wildlife Center, enjoy guided small-group expeditions into the rainforest to spot different monkeys and other wildlife. We will experience two fantastic habitats of the rainforest and the Heath savannah where you can find a different landscape and other animals and plants. A fantastic animal found in the savanna environment is the elegant maned wolf.
The Heath River macaw clay lick is located just 30m (100ft) from the hide providing a base for some fantastic photographs of this incredible wildlife spectacle. Visitors to the Heath River have seen up to 260 different macaws visiting the lick at one time.
The Amazon Villa
Offering a little more luxury in the Amazon Rainforest, the Amazon Villa provides your own private rainforest lodge. The Amazon Villa is nestled at the edge of Tambopata National Reserve where you can relax and take things at your own pace and in a little more comfort.
Designed to increase your enjoyment of this incredible area, choose from a variety of activities in Tambopata and head out on forest walks and kayaking tours to enjoy rainforest wildlife.
You will even be able to see various birds or monkeys from the comfort of the lodge as the surrounding rainforest is full of different animals. To add a special touch, you will enjoy private romantic dinners of delicious Peruvian cuisine and private transfers between the lodge and Puerto Maldonado.
The villa features:
- A luxurious king-sized bed.
- 40 inch flat screen television to watch nature videos and documentaries.
- A place to use your laptop for writing or checking out the photos from every memorable day in the jungle.
- A satellite Internet connection.
- Electricity in the middle of the rainforest at all times of the day.
- A dining room where you can take fresh meals delivered to the bungalow.
- Dining table with 6 chairs.
- A refrigerator and microwave.
- A spacious bathroom equipped with hot water and a tub for soaking in comfort at the end of a long, incredible day in the Peruvian rainforest.
Posada Amazonas Lodge
The Posada Amazonas Lodge is a community-owned lodge just 45 minutes from the base town of Puerto Maldonado. Another great lodge for a short stay of 2 or 3 days, enjoy exploring the rainforest on small-group Amazon tours to find different monkeys, colorful birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
Enjoy the sounds of the rainforest from your comfortable room, which can be your choice of either classic, premium, or superior accommodation. Unlike most other lodges, the Posada Amazonas also offers wireless internet so you can share images and maintain contact with friends and family.
The nearby lake provides a great place to explore on small catamarans to find the resident family of giant otters, hoatzin birds, caiman crocodiles and horned screamers. In addition to wildlife, enjoy cultural activities like visiting a working community farm and touring the ethnobotanical trail. From Posada Amazonas Lodge, you can also visit a small clay lick to see parrots.
Providing a comfortable base for your rainforest adventures, head out with your professional jungle guide to enjoy the 30-meter canopy tower, rainforest walks, night hikes, and choose from a selection of add-on rainforest activities, such as mountain biking, canopy climbing, kayaking, and more.
Refugio Amazonas Lodge
The Refugio Amazonas Lodge is located right at the edge of Tambopata Reserve and offers excellent guided tours of the surrounding rainforest. The Refugio Amazonas provides a very similar experience to the Posada Amazonas Lodge mentioned above and these lodges are often offered interchangeably.
The Refugio Amazonas Lodge provides a fantastic base to see many different Amazon Rainforest animals and plants. Differing from the Posada Amazonas Lodge, the Refugio Amazonas Lodge is a great choice for a family adventure as the lodge provides the only children’s trail in Amazonia. This helps teach children about the rainforest in a relatable way.
At the edge of the Tambopata National Reserve, the Refugio Amazonas Lodge provides expert guides to explore the rainforest to find several different monkeys, including tamarins, squirrel monkeys, capuchins, howler monkeys, titi monkeys, parrots at the clay lick, tanagers, capybaras, and caiman crocodiles.
As an added bonus, the guides at the Refugio Amazonas Lodge have recently discovered nesting sites for harpy eagles close to the lodge. Harpy eagles are one of the world’s largest and most powerful birds of prey and frequently feed on monkeys and sloths. Make sure to send a message to the lodge to ask of any recent sightings.
Sandoval Lake Lodge
Nestled at the edge of Lake Sandoval, one of the most attractive lakes in the Amazon Rainforest, Sandoval Lake Lodge provides a fantastic short Amazon tour of 2 or 3 days. Because you can see so much on such a short experience, it’s also one of the best choices for a budget Amazon tour.
Animals are drawn to the lake from the surrounding rainforest for the abundance of fruiting trees, palms, and also the lake itself. Here, you can easily spot several different monkeys. As you scoot around the lake on a small catamaran, spot titi monkeys, howler monkeys, capuchins, squirrel monkeys, and tamarins.
The birds you can see here include strange prehistoric looking hoatzin by the lakeside that digest food in a similar way as cows, duelling toucans on the branches of tall trees, cormorants resting on logs, a variety of herons patrolling the banks, and different parrots. This is also one of the best places to see scarlet macaws due to the abundance of palm swamp habitat.
Living in the lake itself are the black caiman, one of the Amazon’s dominant predators, arapaima fish, which reach about 3 metres in length, and the giant otters. The giant otters are really the stars of the lake and you’re sure to see members of the resident family swimming, hunting, feeding, and playing in the water.