Puerto Maldonado Amazon Tours take you on a tour of a fantastically diverse tropical paradise. Dotted with more clay licks than anywhere else in the Amazon Rainforest, Puerto Maldonado is gifted with almost guaranteed wildlife sightings to show off the rainforest’s wildlife – from large and brightly colored macaw parrots to the mysterious tapir, the largest land mammal in South America. Other animals enjoy these licks as well, such as monkeys, parakeets and capybara.
Clay licks are areas of exposed clay that are usually found along the banks of rivers. Also known as colpas due to their salt content, the licks are where many different animals feed on medicinal clay, which helps neutralise toxic chemicals found in a diet of diverse fruits and seeds. Not only eaten for medicinal properties, the clays are also great places to replenish much needed salts.
Many animals are known to visit clay licks and the most famous in the Amazon are the flocks of parrots and parakeets. After noticing the animals that visit the different areas of exposed clay, tour lodges have been quick to show off the best ones for iconic Amazon animals, such as the large macaws and other parrots, parakeets, and tapir.
Not only a great place to see clay licks, Puerto Maldonado’s Amazon is also home to fantastic lakes, such as Sandoval Lake near the Sandoval Lake Lodge where you can see many different Amazon Rainforest animals. Oxbow lakes are where the tributaries of the Amazon once flowed but changed direction. Sometimes this leaves a fantastic arc-shaped lake that draws an abundance of forest life to the fresh water and fruit trees. The lake areas are usually home to abundant animals, such as monkeys, water birds, hoatzins, caiman, arapaima, and you can sometimes find resident, highly social giant otters. The closest, most attractive and wildlife-rich lake to Puerto Maldonado is Sandoval located inside the Tambopata National Reserve. The best way to visit this lake is to enjoy a short stay at the wonderful Sandoval Lake Lodge to make the most of your visit.
One of the special features of Puerto Maldonado over other Amazon areas is that fantastic wildlife sightings are found only 20 minutes from Puerto Maldonado itself. Usually in the Amazon, you will need a 3 or 4 hour boat ride before reaching your base lodge, but here you can be at Sandoval Lake Lodge or Posada Amazonas after a 20 to 40 minute boat ride. These are two of the top Amazon lodges for short tours and offer fantastic lake tours for sightings of lake birds, caiman, macaws, several different monkeys and giant amazon otters.
The Amazon Rainforest around Puerto Maldonado is protected by the Tambopata National Reserve, which is part of one of the world’s largest tracts of intact and protected tropical forest. Here you can find an inexhaustible treasure trove of wildlife sightings with the forests containing one of the highest levels of animals and plants on Earth. Because of the clay licks, magnificent lakes and protected areas, sightings of big cats increases, as well as sightings of macaw parrots, different monkeys, giant river otters, and a multitude of other tropical life.
The Tambopata section of this incredible forest contains around 1500,000 hectares of tropical forest protecting a great number of animals, including many species hard to spot in other Amazon areas due to hunting. Explore deep rainforest areas of Puerto Maldonado’s rainforest from excellent lodges such as Tambopata Research Center or Heath River Wildlife Center, which are both located near to large macaw clay licks and home to many rainforest trails to see an abundance of Amazon Rainforest life.
Although located a little further from Puerto Maldonado, this is also the base destination to visit the lowland rainforest of the famous and UNESCO recognized Manu National Park.
Manu and its surrounding rainforest contains a very high diversity of wildlife and is one of Peru’s largest protected areas. You can enjoy visiting Manu’s cloud forest at the Cock of the Rock Lodge (from Cusco), tour from Andes to the Amazon of Puerto Maldonado on South America’s Bio Trip, one of the continent’s most incredible nature experiences, and enjoy stays at the Manu Wildlife Center to see giant amazon otters, a large macaw clay lick, and a tapir lick for these rarely sighted amazon animals.
The Manu Wildlife Center provides one of the best experiences of the rainforest as few if any other Amazon lodges provide good opportunities to see giant amazon otters, tapir and colorful macaw parrots. Along with these three famous Amazon Rainforest animals, guests at the Manu Wildlife Center also stand a 10% chance of spotting wild jaguar on their stay, which helps explain why many nature lovers regard this as one of the best Amazon wildlife tours. For a similar experience in Tambopata, you can also combine the Sandoval Lake Lodge and Heath River Wildlife Center to see the giant otters at Sandoval Lake and the tapir and macaw clay licks at Heath River Wildlife Center.
The Manu region is a beautiful section of Amazon Rainforest and this isn’t necessarily the forest within the park boundaries, as larger wildlife, such as tapir, jaguar, and many others are actually easier to see outside the park, such as at Manu Wildlife Center. The surrounding area of Manu also contains some of the most attractive lakes and clay licks.
In short, the Puerto Maldonado Amazon is a fantastic section of Amazon Rainforest to visit and will provide a lifetimes of memories. Enjoy a great taste of the Amazon Rainforest while staying at some the Amazon’s best rainforest lodges. For those of you looking for a little more privacy and comfort in the Amazon, or simply wanting a rainforest experience while still staying connected, you can now enjoy the Amazon Villa located near the Refugio Amazonas Lodge.