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Tambopata National Reserve

  • Madre de Dios, Peru

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 31 March, 2024

Protecting a huge swathe of the Peruvian Amazon, this landscape of meandering waterways – cutting through cloud-forest-covered mountains and spreading over a vast area of lowland jungle has one of the greatest biodiversity levels on Earth.

There are eight different life zones with more than 150 species of tree, 100 species of mammal and 1,300 species of butterfly. Many endangered animals hunted to the brink of extinction elsewhere in the Amazon are still found here, including jaguar, Brazilian tapir, giant river otter and the Harpy Eagle – the largest eagle in the world.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Most visitors reach the area via the jungle city of Puerto Maldonado, which has a small domestic airport with regular flights from Cusco and Lima. From here, the many lodges strung along the main rivers – the Madre de Dios and Tambopata offer accommodation and excursions into and around the reserve. These organised outings are the only way to access Tambopata.

Many excursions are by boat, but some trips require a few kilometres of jungle hiking. The further you are from Puerto Maldonado, the wilder the forest and rivers are, with the best lodges near the Scientific Research Centre on the Upper Tambopata, some five hours from town.

Dress in your jungle explorer finest: light poncho, mosquito repellent with DEET and light clothes you don’t mind getting mucky. A waterproof camera bag is helpful too, as are binoculars and a good torch with spare batteries.

Where to stay

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is a renowned luxury lodge, right across the river from the reserve, that organises hikes, paddles, birding walks, fishing trips and visits to a botanical garden chock full of medicinal plants.

The Tambopata Eco Lodge, on the banks of the Tambopata River within the Tambopata Reserve, is a comfortable lodge that organises hikes, quiet paddles on oxbow lakes and visits to a clay lick that attracts colourful macaws.

When to do it

The Park is accessible via official lodge tours, which take place year-round.

The rainy season (January to April) in the southern Amazon is intense and it becomes almost impossible to see wildlife. The best season to visit is between May and September.

Dawn and dusk are the best times to see wildlife, including monkeys (keep an ear peeled for bellowing howlers) and more than 650 species of bird. Early morning canoe trips to Lago Sandoval, an oxbow lake inside the reserve, offer a prime opportunity to spot giant river otters, giant river turtles and the occasional anaconda.

At night, a whole host of other animals come to life in the forest. Night-time tours offer the chance to spy caiman, tarantulas and saucer-eyed night monkeys.

Who to go with: organised tours

3

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Tambopata All In One

  • Puerto Maldonado

Tambopata All In One

Viator

The Tambopata All in One tour is a high end and the only tour in southeast Peru that gives you everything in a single trip, it covers all of the Tambopata National Reserve, the most important locations for wildlife, a full river journey along the Tambopata River, and the best and most pristine lakes of the region, with full activities like optional piranha fishing, jungle walks, paddleboats around lakes, Chuncho macaws clay lick and Sandoval Lake at the lake itself, this tour combines locations where you can easily and leisurely see: monkeys, Giant otters, lots of macaws, sloth, Capibaras, toucans, Caimans and much more. our leisure tours and accommodation enhances the experience.

Price $630

Min age 2

Rating 4.92 / 5 [68 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Tambopata Jungle Adventure Tour 4 Days

  • Puerto Maldonado

Tambopata Jungle Adventure Tour 4 Days

Viator

On this tour we will take our motorized boat that will take us to our lodge for about 40 minutes down river, arriving at our lodge, our guide will give us an introduction to the tour and will see this place of the amazonia, we will have activities like visit to the island of monkeys canopy walk zip line and visit to Sandoval lake. piraña fishing, cayack visit the parrot clay lick , night walk and walking in the forest chance to see animals, birds, insects, reptiles, also we will visit the native family. After 4 days in the Amazon, we will be back to the city of Puerto Maldonado in our own transport.

Price $449

Min age 1

Rating 4.82 / 5 [56 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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3 Day Tambopata Amazon Jungle Tour at Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica

  • Puerto Maldonado

3 Day Tambopata Amazon Jungle Tour at Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica

Viator

Find yourself surrounded by the Peruvian Amazon on a captivating 3-day tour, with luxury accommodation at the 4-star Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica, including full board and elegant, private cabanas. This exclusive eco-lodge, accessed by motorized canoe over the Madre de Dios River, boasts a canopy walkway through the treetops and a wooden bridge walk over the wetlands. You’ll be captivated by the exuberant wildlife of the Amazon Basin—including river otters, caiman and capybaras—as you explore the Tambopata National Reserve and Lake Sandoval, with your choice of 13 excursions led by expert guides. Numbers are limited to 8 people, ensuring an intimate experience with a small group.

Price $582

Min age 3

Rating 4.85 / 5 [7 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

1

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Peru

  • Peru

Peru

Destination guide

A land of spectacular deserts, high mountains and rainforests that teem with wildlife, Peru is also home to an array of dramatically situated pre-Colombian ruins, including Machu Picchu.