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Admiring the size of the tree in the Amazon

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Heath River Wildlife Center is the gateway to the largest uninhabited rainforest in the Amazon. Visit a macaw clay lick, admire the giant otters playing in nearby oxbow lakes, and explore dozens of trails in search of spider, squirrel and capuchin monkeys, capybaras, tapir, and even the elusive jaguar. The Heath River Wildlife Center, located in the Tambopata wilderness, shares a portion of its profits with the Ese Eja indigenous communities. Guides share their knowledge of the medicinal uses of rainforest plants and their adept wildlife spotting abilities, while community hosts teach visitors about unique tribal traditions and handicrafts, creating the perfect mix of natural and cultural experiences. Enjoy Amazon travel!

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive Lima
Day 2 : Fly Puerto Maldonado | Heath River Wildlife Center
Day 3 : Explore the Wild Amazon
Day 4 : Heath River Wildlife Center
Day 5 : Sandoval Lake
Day 6 : Fly Lima | Return Home

Highlights

  • Search for hundreds of bird and mammal species
  • Visit the most photogenic macaw clay lick in the Amazon
  • Hike through the rainforest to the grassland plains of Pampas del Heath
  • Take a night walk in search of caimans and nocturnal wildlife

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Independent

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Admiring the size of the tree in the Amazon The hoatzin bird Together on the river As loud as they are beautiful Keep your binocs handy...you never know what youll see! Ivan and Lee at the top of the canopy tower at Refugio. Little pink slippers.  Must be a female. Just hangin around

Day 1 Arrive Lima

Overnight.

Day 2 Fly Puerto Maldonado | Heath River Wildlife Center

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A morning flight takes you to the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado where you meet your guide and transfer to the boat dock on the Tambopata River. There, guests will board motorized canoes and head down the Madre de Dios River for approximately five hours. Admire the stunning virgin rainforest along the way to the Heath River, which forms the wilderness border between Peru and Bolivia. Along the way, you may see native children splashing along the banks, hawks, orinoco, cliffs of red earth, thick banks of Cercopia trees, and perhaps even a family of Capybaras.

Arrive at the Heath River Wildlife Center where guests enjoy spacious double-occupancy bungalows with electric fans, private bathrooms, and hot showers. You will be welcomed to your accommodation just in time for dinner.

*Note that the lodge is located on the Bolivian side of the Heath River so passports are required to clear Bolivian passport control.

Day 3 Explore the Wild Amazon

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Rise early for a visit to the most photogenic macaw clay lick in the Amazon. Brightly-colored parrots and macaws arrive by the hundreds to feast on the clay! These colorgul birds gather to eat the clay in order to neutralize certain toxins in the daily diet (poisonous berries, for example). The extraordinary and noisy show can go on for two to three hours and can include varieties of parrots, parakeets, Chestnut Fronted Macaws, and Red & Green Macaws. Enjoy breakfast on your specially-designed floating blind while admiring these creatures.

When you return to the lodge, your guide leads you on a cultural trek through the forest, pointing out which plants are used for medicinal or healing purposes, which ones can be made into the best bows and arrows, and how to select trees and leaves for home construction.

After lunch and a short rest, hike through the rainforest to the Pampas of Heath, the largest remaining undisturbed savanna in the Amazon. This grassland plain is home to such endemic species as the maned wolf and marsh deer. The contrast is striking as you emerge from the mature rainforest onto the grassland plains of the Pampas. We aim to arrive around sunset when the parrots are returning from their daily search for food to gather in this place. There is an elevated platform allowing great views of this vast expanse of grasslands and shrubs.

Return to the lodge at night with the help of headlamps and flashlights, hearing the ever-changing sounds of the jungle along the way.  Frogs, insects, monkeys, and nocturnal creatures could be encountered. After dinner, you can choose to visit the mammal lick in hopes of seeing the Lowland Tapir.

Day 4 Heath River Wildlife Center

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Choose from a wide range of activities available in your diverse, tropical environment. Many people return to the macaw lick for a second look at these magnificent birds or spend more time on the trails. 

Later in the day, take a canoe tour around the Cocha Guacamayo, an oxbow lake that a family of giant otters calls home. The lake is located inside the Bahuaja Sonene National Park just a short distance by boat from your lodge. Return after dusk looking for caimans during the ride. This region is home to the Black Caiman, which is endangered and distinguishable along the river's edge by glowing orange eyes.  

Share the day's excitement with other guests over dinner back at the lodge.

Day 5 Sandoval Lake

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
We leave at dawn for the return journey downstream. The mornings are the peak of wildlife activity, so keep a sharp eye on the banks of the river where we may see families of Capybaras and maybe be rewarded with a rare glimpse of Jaguar or Tapir swimming through the stream.

We arrive at Port Sandoval where we will walk to Sandoval Lake, which is protected by Tambopata National Reserve. Along the trail there are birds and butterflies; and after 3km (2 mi) the trail leads to a narrow canal lined boats. This flooded forest leads to the open waters of Sandoval Lake. In the golden light of afternoon our crew will row the boats across to the lodge (motors are banned here). We can see the appearance of turbid lake while a huge Paichebreaks the surface - an Amazonian fish that can weigh up to 100Kg (220 lbs.). Or you may hear strange and unsettling screams and see heads peering from the surface of the lake, which will mark our encounter with Pteronura brasiliensis, the Giant Otter of the Amazon. After dinner we can finish the day with a short night walk, spotting some nocturnal creatures along one of the trails near the lodge.

Day 6 Fly Lima | Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Enjoy an early breakfast before returning to Puerto Maldonado for the flight back to Lima and connecting flights home.

Heath River Wildlife Center

Lima - Hotels

Sandoval Lake Lodge

Per person starting at
$1,724

Notes

Select a Date

Included

  • 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • 5 Nights Accommodations
    • 1 Night Hotel
    • 4 Nights Lodge
  • 4 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service

Excluded

  • Internal Flights
    • $425 Lima-Puerto Maldonado-Lima
    • Flight cost is subject to change
  • Both International Arrival and Departure Transfers are excluded.
  • International Flights
  • Bolivia Visa
    • Must be obtained prior to trip.

Budgeting

  • $40 Meals not Included
  • $33 Airport Departure Tax
  • $160 Bolivia Visa Fee
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Kevin M

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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
Nancy Sin

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.

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