Introduction to the Amazon
The Amazon rainforest is legendary throughout the world as an ecosystem rich in vegetation, wildlife and indigenous culture, and one which is currently under constant threat from mankind.
• It extends into 9 South American countries and covers almost half of Peru
• The Amazon River’s source is actually in Peru
• The distance from the river’s source to its mouth is over 6200km
• Its flow is 12 times that of the Mississippi
• The Amazon carries twenty percent of the world’s fresh water
• Its discharge into the Atlantic every 24 hours equals that of the Thames in a year
• The Amazon Basin drains an area of about 7 million square km, extending 3000km from the eastern slopes of the Andes to the Atlantic
The Amazon rainforest contains approximately 50,000 species of higher plants - a staggering twenty percent of the world’s total. The tree canopy is so dense that almost no sunlight penetrates to the forest floor and there is very little undergrowth. Animal and bird life is incredibly rich. The Peruvian Amazon is home to approx 1700 bird species, including colourful macaws and toucans. Mammals include 13 species of monkey, and the much rarer tapir, jaguar and Andean spectacled bear. Giant otters, caimans, capybara and piranha live in the many waterways.
Minimum number of people required for the extension: 2
Your Amazon Adventure
This is your chance to experience the amazing diversity of flora and fauna set in part of the most famous and awe-inspiring rainforest in the world!
We travel by plane and then river boat to the Tambopata-Candamo Reserve Zone, on the banks of the Tambopata River. The reserve zone is a protected 6,000 square km area in the South-Eastern state of Madre de Dios. Our accommodation is set on the very edge of the Reserve.You will be accompanied by local naturalist guides as you explore the rainforest on foot and by boat. You will be able to learn a great deal about the flora and fauna here in the jungle, as well as gaining an insight into the ecological and conservation issues of the Peruvian Amazon.
The Tambopata Lodge is constructed from local materials and blends into its forest setting. Cabins are of wood with palm thatch; in the evening candles and lamps are used for lighting. Bedrooms are mostly twin share and have a private bathroom with cool running water. The main building has solar energy lighting, and solar power is used for catering and emergency communications. Meals (Peruvian and international in style) are served in the screened dining room and are prepared from a mixture of local rainforest produce and more traditional foods. There is a bar attached. There is also a map room, a small museum and a lecture and conference building.
Please note that while the Lodge is comfortable and atmospheric, it is located in a very remote area and as such cannot always guarantee levels of comfort. Its location amongst virgin rainforest more than makes up for the occasional lack of hot water or other comforts. Please also note that there are no telephones or internet facilities. Your rainforest experience not only allows you to understand Amazon life, but offers a real break from the modern world!
The Itinerary (adds 4 extra days)
Day 1: (Day 9 of main itinerary; rest of group departs for Lima)
Leave Cuzco on the short, early morning flight to Puerto Maldonado. Founded at the turn of the century, Puerto Maldonado is known for its logging, rubber, coffee and brazil nut industries, and also as a centre for gold and oil prospectors. You will be met at the airport by one of the Lodge guides, and transported upriver by motorised dugout canoe. Lunch is provided on-board and you can sit back on cushioned seats and relax, watching the vegetation change from colonised deforested areas to virgin rainforest. On arrival there will be a chance to meet the staff at the Lodge, have a drink and settle in. In the late afternoon you set off for a short walk into the forest behind the Lodge, dominated by giant brazil nut and dipteryx trees. Though close to the Lodge, a variety of wildlife has been seen on this trail. Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.
Day 2: (Day 10 of main itinerary)
Boarding the motorised canoe, you begin a morning’s exploration on foot and by paddle canoe of the lake system of Condenado. Rich in bird and aquatic life, a family of giant otters have been seen in the vicinity, and birds abound. There is no shade out on the water so bring hat, sunglasses and suntan cream. Return to the Lodge for lunch. The afternoon is free for exploring the forest around the Lodge, or relaxing and bathing in the cool stream beside the Lodge. In the evening we go searching for Cayman and other nocturnal animals by canoe along the Tambopata River. Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.
Day 3: (Day 11)
After an early breakfast we take a short boat ride downriver to the head of the trail to Lake Sachavacayoc (Tapir Lake.) The trail crosses streams and swampy ground and passes giant Lapuna trees on its way to the spectacular hidden lake. At the lake itself the elusive Black Cayman and giant otters are occasionally spotted. You return to the Lodge for lunch and again are free to relax and bathe in the afternoon. Breakfast, lunch and dinner provided.
Day 4: (Day 12)
A dawn start is usually required (depending on flight times) for the canoe trip back to Puerto Maldonado; the views of the sunrise over the river make it well worth the early start on clear mornings. Wildlife is particularly active at this time, and you are quite likely to hear howler monkeys as they stake out their territories. Back at the airport, you fly back to Cuzco. The rest of the day is free in Cuzco. Breakfast and night’s accommodation in Cuzco hotel provided. Lunch and dinner not provided.Days Five - Six: (Days 13 - 14)
After continental breakfast, transfer to airport, fly Cuzco – Lima. Connect to London flight, arriving in UK the next day.
Cost per person: £650.00 (2015 prices subject to change)
• Flights Cuzco – Puerto Maldonado – Cuzco
• Locally-paid airport tax on internal flights
• Transfer from Hotel to Cuzco airport for flight to rainforest
• Transfers between airport in Puerto Maldonado and Lodge
• Meals and activities as detailed above
• English-speaking rainforest guides
• Accommodation: rainforest bungalows with private facilities, twin or occasionally triple share
• Accommodation: final night in Cuzco Hotel, twin or occasionally triple share
What’s Excluded: (Please keep money aside for these expenses)
• Transfer between Cuzco airport and Hotel on return from rainforest (allow approx 10 soles for a taxi)
• Transfer between Hotel and Cuzco airport for flight to Lima (allow approx 10 soles for a taxi)
• Entrance fee to rainforest Reserve (allow approx 30 soles or $12 US)
• Personal expenses, drinks etc at rainforest
• Lunch and dinner on free day in Cuzco
Please note that a Discover Adventure leader will not always accompany the group. The rainforest guides and other staff at the Lodge look after you very well! A representative of the Lodge will meet you in Cuzco after your main Trek for a short pre-trip briefing and to give you your flight tickets. He will also accompany you to Cuzco airport and assist you with checking in. You will be met on arrival in Puerto Maldonado and taken back to the airport at the end of your stay. On arrival back in Cuzco, it’s very easy to share taxis with your group to the Hotel.
You must have a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate in order to visit the rainforest. You may be asked to produce it in Puerto Maldonado. Anti-malarials are also strongly advised; please see your GP or local health clinic for current advice on the correct prophylactics. Cover up with long, loose shirts and trousers at dawn and dusk in particular and use plenty of insect repellent. Your accommodation is fitted with mosquito screens so you do not need to bring nets.
The driest season is from June - October, when it rains on average 7 days per month. Annual precipitation averages 2,500mm (7 feet). When it rains it can be very heavy. Many animals can be seen in the drier months venturing down to the Tambopata River and Gallocunca to drink.
Note on Wildlife Viewing:
It is important to note that, while the rainforest is home to a great deal of wildlife, you are more likely to see the smaller species than large land mammals. The vegetation is very dense in most places and not conducive to viewing wildlife, though the chance of seeing different species in or beside water is good. It is important that you understand that this is not a wildlife viewing opportunity comparable with the African plains!
However, experiencing the atmosphere of this rich, ancient ecosystem more than makes up for it! The sounds and smells themselves are incredible, especially after rain. Smaller species such as butterflies and other insects, treefrogs and birds are common – and tend to be more exciting in such surroundings than seeing their UK counterparts!
We are frequently asked how likely you are to see snakes, spiders and other ‘creepy-crawlies’, and we know that not all of you appreciate seeing these close up! However, they do live in the rainforest, and you may see them as you walk around. Snakes usually avoid you well before you are aware of them, and any potentially harmful spiders and other insects are even less likely to bother you. Do exercise caution, but please don’t let a fear of these creatures put you off experiencing one of the most unique and incredible ecosystems in the world. Please note that circumstances can occur where we are unable to operate this extension exactly as described above. We reserve the right to change the itinerary or use alternative accommodation when conditions dictate. Alternative accommodation is of a very similar standard, offering similar facilities and activities as described in the itinerary, in the same area of the Peruvian Amazon. You will be notified of any changes in advance where possible, but we ask you to understand that, due to the remote location and the logistics involved, this is not always possible
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