One of the highlights of this introduction to the Peruvian rainforest environment is the trip to Collpa El Gato. What makes this excursion unique is the opportunity it offers our guests to experience both a mammal clay lick and a macaw clay lick.
Many forest animals gather at these sites in search of the minerals essential to their diets, and during the walk through the forest we will have the chance to observe troops of monkeys and many species of birds.
The mammal clay lick is often visited by White-lipped Peccaries, which are renowned for forming large groups, sometimes ranging from fifty to more than a hundred individuals.
This trip also enables our guests to explore the forest around the Lodge, observe the rich aquatic and avian life around an oxbow lake, search for nocturnal fauna such as caimans on the river, and relax and enjoy the facilities of our comfortable Lodge, located in the heart of the forest.
Day 1 - Flight to Puerto Maldonado, and journey to the lodge.
Following your morning flight to Puerto Maldonado from Lima or Cusco, you will be met at the airport by your naturalist guide and transferred to a dugout canoe for the trip up the Tambopata River to the lodge. On the journey, the vegetation changes from colonized deforested areas to virgin rainforest. A box-lunch is provided on board. On arrival, you'll have a welcome drink and meet the rest of the staff. In the late afternoon you set off for an introductory walk into the "terra firma" forest behind the lodge (Trail 2), dominated by giant Brazil-nut and Dipteryx trees. Frequently seen mammals on this trail are Saddle-back Tamarinds, Brown Capuchins, Agoutis, Pacas, Blue-Morpho butterflies, Trogons, Toucans and many other species of birds. After dinner, a night walks to find nocturnal animals or insects by their eye-shine, a specialization for increasing light and seeing better. About 50% of the animals are nocturnal in the rainforest.
Night in the Tambopata Ecolodge. (L and D)
Day 2 - Collpa El Gato Bird and Mammal Clay Licks
After a six ‘o clock breakfast at the Lodge, we will board our launch for the 9-kilometer ride upriver to the trailhead. From the banks of the Tambopata, it is a 1.7-kilometer hike to our destination.
We will spend an hour walking this trail, with plenty of time to observe Amazon flora and fauna along the way. After about 800 meters, we will leave this trail and walk 300 meters through the forest to the mammal clay lick, or Collpa. Close to the wall of clay, we will await the arrival of the White-lipped Peccaries which tend to congregate in large groups to feed on the mineral deposits found here.
After about 45 minutes, we will continue our walk to the nearby macaw clay lick, arriving at around 8:30 am. It is in the early morning that groups of Scarlet and Red-and-Green
Macaws often gather to feed on the clay deposits essential to their diet, creating a colorful and noisy show.
After having had plenty of time to observe the birds, we will take a light snack before returning to the river via another trail and taking the boat back to the Lodge, arriving before lunch. On the forest trails it is possible to see Howler Monkeys, Capuchin Monkeys, and Squirrel Monkeys, as well as several species of birds. After lunch, guests can choose from a number of options, including:
Exploring the trails around the Lodge (See Lodge Trails)
Ascending the 25-meter high tree platform to observe the forest canopy (This implies an additional cost)
Visiting the nearby typical forest farm
Bathing in Gallocunca stream, which flows past the Lodge
Relaxing and enjoying the facilities in the Lodge
In the evening, we will venture out onto the river in search of nocturnal caiman, after meeting in the bar for a brief talk given by our guides about this fascinating nocturnal creature. We will search for the caiman using flashlights to pick out their “eye shine” as they hunt along the river banks.
Night in the Tambopata Ecolodge. (B, L, and D)
Day 3 - Hike to Lake Sachavacayoc (Tapir Lake).
After an early breakfas, you will take a short boat ride down river to the trail head. Here you embark on a longer trail which leads to a spectacular hidden lake, requiring the crossing of streams and swampy ground, past the giant Lupuna trees (kings of the jungle) which abound in this part of the forest. On the walk you are introduced to more aspects of the forest and its animals. At the lake itself it is possible to spot the elusive Black Caiman and Giant Otters. We return for lunch. The afternoon is free for relaxation and bathing
Night in the Tambopata Ecolodge. (B, L, and D)
Day 4 - Departure.
A dawn start is required for the canoe trip back to Puerto Maldonado giving memorable views of the sun rise over the river. Lookout for the early morning wildlife which is particularly active at this time. Howler monkeys are frequently heard, as they stakeout their territories. Your guide will take care of you on arrival in Puerto Maldonado and will deal with all the necessities at the airport prior to you departure.
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