It was my dream for a long time to visit the Amazon Rainforest. Amazonia’s biggest part is belonging to Brazil. However, you have the possibility to visit it in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador or Venezuela too.
Because of time management and huge distances, our optimal way to visit the Jungle, was flying to Puerto Maldonado from Cusco. And in Puerto Maldonado there are a couple of tour operators, who organize trips to the Peruvian Amazonas, to Tambopata National Reserve.
We booked a 4-day tour with Tambopata Jungle Tours. Which would originally include 2 nights in a lodge, and one night sleeping in a tent in the middle of the rainforest. But as because those days it was too rainy, the tent-sleeping had to be canceled.
The rainy season runs roughly between mid-December and mid-May. → So we were there during that season.
In the beginning, when we got the info I was a bit disappointed because I really wanted to sleep in the middle of the jungle in a way that I hear every single amazing sound.
But the tour operator handled the change very well, because we got one night (instead of the tent night) in the most amazing lodge that I could wish for.
It was far away from the city, in an untouched area, and we had to take both a jeep and a boat to reach it. When we got out of the boat, I had the feeling, that I was in the middle of a documentary film. Huge blue and colorful butterflies were flying around, and birds were chirping with such special sounds that I have never heard before.
My favorite bird sound was the one from the bird Oropendola. Oropendola is a black bird with yellow tail, it has drop-shaped nests hanging down from the tree branches. And its sound reminds me of dropping water with echoing.
The lodge only had 5 bungalows, a main building with a kitchen, and a view-tower.
Our bungalow did not have windows, only net → so there was definitely no place for disappointment, because this way, we could hear the rainforest sounds during the night as we would have been sleeping in a tent.
After lunch, we immediately headed to our daylight jungle discovery tour with our tour guide. We got wellingtons (fortunately), so we could easily walk in the forest. - Sometimes we were walking in places, where the water almost reached the top of our wellingtons.
It was amazing, we saw so many unique trees, plants, birds and insects. In the middle of our circuit there was a clay area where mammals, like pumas, boars often go and eat from the clay because it is full of essential nutrients that they need.
Then we headed back to have lunch. The food here was so delicious, these meals were my favorite during the whole South American road trip.
We got a local special kind of potato, steamed veggies, rice, chicken and fish. So nothing that extraordinary, but still the overall flavor was just perfect.
After dinner, we went for a night walk around the lodge in the jungle. The rainforest sounds became much louder compared to the daylight tour sounds, because all the insects and some birds are starting to be active in the darkness. We saw frogs, insects and almost a tarantula (almost, because we saw its hole, but it didn’t come out while we were standing there). Once we switched off our torches, we saw hundreds of fireflies flying around. It was really a magical experience.
We met the group at 4.30 am, because our morning program was visiting the area’s biggest macaw clay lick - where macaws go every morning to get the nutrients. It was 1,5 hour boat ride from the lodge. But unfortunately we were quite unlucky with the weather, because it was a very rainy day, so the macaws didn’t come at all. But our tour guide showed his photos from the previous days, and normally there are hundreds of beautiful, colorful macaws.
The rest of the day was unfortunately also very rainy. In the afternoon we moved to our 2nd accommodation, which was much closer to the city. It was a bigger lodge with more people, and the area was not that untouched as it was in the 1st night lodge.
In the afternoon we had a walk on the monkey forest - another jungle experience.
On the way there, from the boat, we saw monkeys jumping around the trees and also a sloth. In the evening, when it became dark, we had the cayman tour - where we could actually see caymans from a distance.
This morning was not the best start for me, because I got diarrhea (probably because of the dinner of the 2nd accommodation), so I had to skip the early morning program - another clay lick for green parrots.
At 9 am the day tour to Lake Sandoval started. Lake Sandoval is in the natural reserve part of Amazonia. I really wanted to do this tour, so I decided to go, even if I was quite weak at that time. It was the best decision because in the end, it was a really amazing day.
We took the boat for a 30 min ride. (It was not easy, because of yesterday’s huge storm and rain, there were a lot of giant trees “swimming around” the river, and they were sometimes barriers for our boat.) After finally managing to park the boat, we started our 1-hour long walk in the forest.
It was a beautiful path, again with hundreds of exotic butterflies, plants and we even saw a capybara. At the end of the path, there was a tiny harbor, where we embarked on a paddleboat. The weather was so nice, it was kind of unbelievable, that after yesterday’s huge storm, how can it be so sunny and nice the next day.
We went through a small channel surrounded by the trees - it was like a tunnel in the rainforest. Then we arrived at Lake Sandoval.
We couldn’t get enough from the breathtaking view, it was so much to admire, and then our tour guide pointed out a big (~3m long) black cayman. We went close, so we could really see it, much better than the others on the cayman tour last evening.
Then we continued paddling to the other side of the lake, and all around was something to admire. Butterflies, dragonflies, birds flying around, then closer to the shore: turtles, and also the rare and protected animal species, like the giant otter. And at the end of the lake boating, just before entering the channel again, we spotted a big group of monkeys jumping around and playing on the trees.
It was truly an amazing day, at one of the calmest places I have ever been in my life.
The last day morning, we had two additional chosen activities:
Piranha fishing and treetop walking.
On the treetop walking we had the opportunity to examine the rainforest from 30 m height on the canopy level. And again seeing so many unique and beautiful plants, trees (including cacao trees), insects, and hearing rare bird sounds.
Then we headed to our last destination, piranha fishing. We were actually fishing with a bamboo + fishing line, and tiny chicken meat as bait. And funny enough that in the end, I did not catch a piranha but a catfish. :)
This was unfortunately the last activity of our amazing Amazonia trip.
These 4 days were truly a unique experience, and one of the main highlights (besides Patagonia and Machu Picchu) in our South American road trip. It actually made me put more rainforest destinations on my bucket list… :)
I hope that you were enjoying the reading of my blog as much as I enjoyed writing it, and remembering these nice memories.
Have a nice day,