A protected zone in the Peruvian Amazon, the Tambopata Reserve is a thrilling immersion into nature.
There’s 1.5 million hectares of startling natural beauty in the Tambopata Candamo Reserved Zone, a slice of the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest to the far south-east of the country. Eco-lodges, wildlife safaris and river excursions are all part of the adventure, yet reaching Tambopata is surprisingly easy, what with direct 1-hour flights from Cusco into Puerto Maldonado; making an Amazon expedition impossible to resist.
Across the stunning Tambopata Reserve, there dwells around 100 species of mammals, 700 of birds and an amazing 1,300 of Butterflies, so wildlife safaris are definitely on the agenda here. Grab a pair of binoculars and see if you can spot Caiman, Monkeys, Giant Otters, perhaps a Jaguar if you’re lucky. It’s wonderfully scenic too, comprising the coruscating Tambopata River and its tributaries, glass-like lakes and clay licks, where birdlife flock to each morning to feed: Macaws, Parakeets and Parrots among them.
Since its establishment in 1990, the Tambopata Reserve has been protected by the Peruvian government in order to carefully preserve its fragile biodiversity. As such, there’s many an eco-friendly Amazon lodge in this corner of the rainforest, where guests can experience the Amazon and its many wonders while minimising their carbon footprint. Guided jungle hikes, canoe rides, birding tours and night-time safaris are just a few of the activities you can look forward to here, without disturbing the delicate balance of this mighty rainforest.
One utterly enchanting body of water in the Tambopata Reserve is Sandoval, an Oxbow lake inhabited by all manner of wildlife, from Monkeys swinging through the lakeside branches to Kingfishers swooping through the air and Caiman crocs lurking below.
Convenient, quick access
The gateway to Tambopata is Puerto Maldonado, a small jungle town with daily flights from Lima and Cusco, taking 1 hour 30 minutes or 1 hour respectively. This makes forays into the Peruvian Amazon utterly convenient, even if you only want to visit for a couple of nights – though we highly recommend you stay longer!
After touching down in Puerto Maldonado, it’s about 4 hours by boat to reach the reserve, but the journey is very special indeed: travelling along the Tambopata River! As you cruise through the waters, start your wildlife-watching immediately by keeping an eye out for the creatures that inhabit the river and shoreline – a fitting introduction.