We caught a plane from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, where Rainforest Expeditions picked us up for a ride to their headquarters. Skirting Puerto Maldonado, we drive 20 kilometers to the Tambopata River Port, entering the Native Community of Infierno. The port is a communal business. Then transfer to a boat for two and a half hour boat ride from the Tambopata Port to Refugio Amazonas. This trip took us past the Community of Infierno and the Tambopata National Reserve´s checkpoint and into the buffer zone of this 1.3 million hectare conservation unit. To our surprise, Phil and I were assigned to Fernando as our guide for the week...just the two of us.
I was quite surprised by how wide these tributaries to the Amazon Basin were, with lots of rapids and log jams. Spotting various animals and birds, we checked in at the Tambopata Ranger station and continued to the lodge. After docking the boat, we walked a short distance to the lodge. The lodge was beautiful, apparently designed by a Peruvian architect back in 1989, and certainly not what we expected in the jungle. Upon arrival, I was quite impressed with the lodge manager's welcome and gave a briefing
on amenities and various procedural issues...let him know if we need anything. Dinner was amazingly first class. We took a night hike searching for spiders frogs etc. We would overnight at Refugio Amazonas . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGfsDg705MI&noredirect=1
The next morning, after breakfast, we put on our muddy boots and head out on a hike. We found a Harpy Eagle nest with a chick very close to leaving the nest. never saw the parents, who had apparently just dropped off some kind of small animal that the chick was ripping apart. We did another hike to an observation tower to look out over the rainforest canopy, while Fernando continued to point out various birds.
Then we head to the river for our ride to the Tambopata Research Center lodge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwgh3TYpKwo
Along the way we stop at the ranger station to check in. They had some interesting displays of the butterflies, insects, birds, animals, etc that we should expect to see. It was interesting to see how the butterflies consumed the salts and minerals left behind by sweaty bodies and where mammals had urinated.
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