Tambopata Macaw Project

Exploring Amazonian wildlife is a must on a trip to Peru. The Peruvian government founded the Tambopata National Reserve in 1990, creating a safe-haven for some of the Amazon’s most colorful residents. The Tambopata National Reserve occupies an otherwise untouched tract of the southern Amazon basin, in the Peruvian region of Madre de Dios. This reserve offers a safe, environmentally friendly way to experience the Amazon.

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Many of the nearby locals make their living through slash-and-burn agriculture. By attracting tourism, the Tambopata Reserve creates a sustainable local economy that doesn’t diminish the non-renewable Amazon.

Adjacent to the Bahuaja National Park, this reserve sits between two rivers, the Río Tambopata and the smaller Río Malinowski. You can drive to the reserve on the Puerto Maldonado-Cuzco Road. Alternatively, get in some adventurous Amazon sightseeing on the way, and take a boat to the reserve down the Tambopata River.

Macaw parrots are some of the most highly sought-after sightseeing in the Amazon. At the Tambopata Research Center, founded specifically to help research this stunning population of birds, you’ll get to witness one the largest gathering of macaws in the world. Brightly-colored birds flock to the Colpa Colorado, a clay lick at the reserve. Six species of bird native to Amazon, including three species of the rare macaw, choose this particular clay lick because of its high levels of sodium. They nibble the clay to get some of the essential, salty nutrients in their diet. Listen to them chatter and watch their tree-top stunts, performed using their three flexible toes to cling to branches.

Aside from the incredible number of birds, this spot also offers a level of biodiversity unique to the Amazon rainforest. Hundreds of species of plants and animals call this reserve home. You’ll also have the chance to admire various species of monkey, amphibian, and insect, including a whopping 1300 species of butterfly.

At Tambopata, you can go on guided hikes of the jungle or take advantage of a view of the canopy at one of the many platforms built among the trees. Set aside some time to explore the Inkaterra Butterfly House or visit Monkey Island, a rescue center that helps reintroduce monkeys born in urban environments back into the wild.

Tambopata offers a rare opportunity to travelers—a spot to enjoy increasingly rare Amazon species. Don’t forget your camera! These are sights you’ll want to remember.