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“An excellent base from which to explore the rainforest” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tambopata Research Center

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Tambopata Research Center
3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Collpa Colorado, Tambopata National Reserve 084, Peru   |  
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Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Athens, Greece
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“An excellent base from which to explore the rainforest”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013

The TRC combines environmental responsibility with comfort and a warm, friendly atmosphere. Apart from a couple of unusual cold nights when the blankets were barely sufficient to keep us warm (but they brought hot water bottles to keep us cosy) the open rooms were a great way to get the most out of your visit to the wilderness. Having no door keys and waking to the foraging birds and monkeys was liberating. The lodge staff are friendly and helpful and the guides sociable and knowledgeable. In my opinion, the TRC was the best place to stay at Tambopata Reserve. I would highly recommend the activities - tree climbing, paddle-boarding, camping; you feel safe and completely cared for throughout and the exhilaration is unbeatable.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

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317 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (68)
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English first
La Jolla, California
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2013

My husband and I only had time for a 4 day/3 night trip. People have mentioned that it is not worth the long travel time to stay only a few days. I have to disagree. The boat ride itself was worth the long hours on the water because of all the wildlife that we spotted on the boat ride, as well as the fun (very small) rapids that we encountered. Because of the dry season, the water level in some parts of the river was low and the boatman required a navigator to help maneuver through some sketchy patches.

From beginning to end, Tambopata Research Center did a fantastic job making us comfortable. They picked us up from the tiny Puerto Maldonado Airport and took us to their PM location where we met our guide Ruben who explained exactly what we could expect for the next 4 days. Our guide was responsible for us and two other travelers for the entire time. Some guides have specialties like birding, botany, biology, and so on, and all have excellent vision. They can point out even the most hidden creatures.

The first night was spent in Refugio Amazonas, which was a luxury accommodation (bathroom in each bedroom) compared to the more rustic Tampotata Research Center. TRC prides itself on maintaining a low environmental footprint, so bathrooms are shared. Bath towels and linens are taken by boat to PM for laundering and, unless requested, towels are reused for the entire stay. Four bathrooms for the women and four for the men, all located separately from the sleeping quarters. Hot water runs out fast. The bedrooms are basic, with beds and mosquito nets, and a hammock. There are no screens on the windows, so you are one with the rainforest. Lighting consists of natural light, kerosene lamps and candles. Walls are paper thin, so we could hear our neighbors giggling all night until I yelled at them. Guests must remind themselves that this is basically luxury camping in the middle of a rainforest, and that everything must be brought in by boat. There is electricity in the communal areas, but only for a few hours a day. Despite its location, TRC has INTERNET SERVICE! It did not always work, but it was enough to catch up on some email.

A previous poster complained that the dinner was not as good as the one in Refugio Amazonas or on the Inca Trail, and that there was nothing available for vegetarians. As a strict vegan I respectfully disagree. The kitchen always had something for us vegans and vegetarians to eat. I did (half) jokingly suggest that I could teach them how to cook some really tasty vegan foods with just the local ingredients available at TRC in exchange for a few weeks at the lodge.

They always had several kinds of vegetables and fruits for the buffet-style dinner, as well as a pasta dish or a rice dish that was specially made for the vegan and vegetarian crowd. Granted, they could have used more spices in their cooking, but I have found that to be true for much of Peru (and the rest of South America). For that very reason I always carry a shaker with a variety of ground-up hot peppers. After asking for some hot sauce I got some really nice spicy homemade chili sauce. They had a good variety of food, so it was not just chicken every night, as the previous poster complained. TRC is a lot farther up the river than Refugio Amazonas, and it is not really fair to compare the two. If you have special food needs, consider bringing some snacks and dried foods to supplement.

But, oh, the animals! I have a long list of creatures that I saw, not the least of which were two jaguars. We also saw cayman, giant river otters, numerous capybaras and different kinds of monkeys, very smelly javalinas, and of course amazing birds birds birds. There were even some resident macaws who had to be shooed away from the sitting area in the lodge. There were rumors of an ocelot roaming the lodge at night, and a few days ago I saw a picture that TRC posted of the very same ocelot walking through the kitchen in the dark. Our guide Ruben was a master at detecting the tiniest insects, spiders, and snakes. One of the highlights was climbing the 50 (?) meter high platform above the canopy early in the morning to view the rainforest in the mist.

Tampobata Research Center is a treasure!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RainforestExp, Manager at Tambopata Research Center, responded to this review, September 15, 2013
Thank you for your review about TRC. As you mentioned we do take more attention to provide a variety of vegetarian meal. Hot water should not run out as it works with a demand water heater with a central gas tank. Please if you notice any lack of hot water always report to the staff so we can detect the error quickly. Now we also have a more stable internet connection so you can communicate with your family and friends directly from the rainforest.
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Wellington, New Zealand
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2013

We stayed one night at Refugio Amazonas and three nights here and this was the highlight of 4 weeks in Peru (walking Inca Trail for 4 nights a close second). The food was great, loads of wildlife (and of course birds and Macaws), the best guide you could hope for (Cesar), friendly staff and comfortable accommodation with a strong eco-friendly orientation. I could have stayed here forever and thought myself lucky. Definitely worth a minimum of three nights-heard people who were here only two nights say they wished they were staying longer.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

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RainforestExp, Manager at Tambopata Research Center, responded to this review, September 15, 2013
If you wish to stay longer in TRC there is also an option to participate in our long term Tambopata Macaw Project as a volunteer field assistant. You can read more about this opportunity at www.macawproject.org
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Long Island
Top Contributor
114 reviews 114 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 70 cities Reviews in 70 cities
116 helpful votes 116 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

We stayed at the Refugio Amazonas the first and 4th night and at Tambopata research center the middle two nights. Our family highly recommends this. You see more monkeys at TRC than the Refugio. Also, the macaws are amazing. The food is the same and usually very good Peruvian style. (although I have to think the chef is off the night they make for some reason Lasagna night!) Seriously, it is a little more rustic at TRC. You can read my travel log at tabhauser.com and click Peru. Bring bug spray and thin long sleeve shirts. Bring old clothes you can leave with the staff when you are done with. This will give you less to take home and you are donating the clothes to a good place. We donated a few shirts and a pair of older teva hiking sneakers

Room Tip: Get a room in the front you don't have to hear the kitchen if you are light sleeper
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RainforestExp, Manager at Tambopata Research Center, responded to this review, September 15, 2013
Thank you for reviewing our lodge. Yes, you are right there is more chance to see wildlife at TRC as it is situated deep into the Tambopata National Reserve surrounded by pristine rainforest. It is recommended to bring repellent and long sleeve shirts. Thanks for your recommendation for bringing old clothes and donate to the staff at the end of your trip. Our staff is always very happy to get these donations at the end of each month. If you are a light sleeper it is also recommended to bring earplugs as jungle noises at night might disturb you.
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London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

We travelled here as a family of four with our two boys aged 11 and 14 and we had a fantastic time. We stayed 3 nigths here and 3 nights at The Refugio Amazonas and this was definitley our favourite, although the Refugio is lovely too..... just not as deep into the jungle and so less wildlife.... and much busier.
The boat ride is part of the experience. I had read a lot about it before hand but it was even more excting than I expected! We encountered some white water, (not very scary) and for some of the river we needed a naviagor at the front of the boat to make sure we did not hit any of the trees that had naturally fallen into the river.
We went primarily for the wildlife and were not disapointed. Our guide Johan was amazing- he knew so much about the jungle and cared about it passionately.He was great with us and the boys. We saw 6 of the 7 kinds of monkies in the area and saw all 6 varities of macaw at the clay lick. I think we counted over 100 hundred different species of bird by the end of our stay at both lodges!A great sighting was a harpie eagle.
For me the most amazing wildlife experience was seeing a tapir on the early morning boat ride leaving the centre and heading back to Refugio. I was a little digruntled that the boat left so early ( about 5.15 am ) but it was so worthwhile! We got an amazing sighting of a tapir just standing in the water and totally unconcerned by us, then we saw a tamadua ( small type of anteater swimming in the water ) and an ocelot ( my 11 year olds favourite).
From talking to other visitors the best combination of lodges, to maximise seeing animals, may be Posada and the Research Centre rather than Refugio as at Posada you have the opportunity to see giant river otters. We did not stay there however so that bit is not first hand.
If you love wildlife and don't mind living in relatively basic, but very clean, and more than adequate accommodation ( with wonderful food) then this is for you.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2013

I loved it here. The ride on the bus and boat took awhile, but it's worth it. A secluded resort with simple rooms - electricity is on just for a little while.

Rooms are three walls, comfy beds with mosquito nets, good showers, and a hammock. If your roommate wants to hog it, you can always use a hammock in the general area. I did, and ended up watching a large group of tiny, black monkeys make their way quietly through the area.

Food was good, our guide was great. I'd go back again! FYI: One couple was here for only 2 nights and regretted being here so little time (1/2 of each of those days is travel); I suggest the 3 night, at least.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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RainforestExp, Manager at Tambopata Research Center, responded to this review, September 6, 2013
Thank you for your review, it´s right that sometimes a few days are not enough to see all the wonders of TRC. Here are some recommended tours for your next visit:
Tambopata Research Center - 5D/4N
Tambopata Research Center Tour - 6D/5N
Tambopata Research Center - Parrot Lovers Program - 7D/6N

You can find more details in our webpage: www.perunature.com
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Los Angeles, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

Wow. The TRC is a place I dont' want to write a review about, because I don't want to share! We had the best experience there!

Let me explain the trip a bit and the place so you understand how it works. They pick you up from the airport in PM and take you on a 1 hr bus ride to the river. Sometimes you have to wait around the area for your boat, but it's not long and there is shade.

Then you get on a 2+ hr canoe ride to the Refugio Amazonas. We had an amazing night there, but most of our time was at the TRC.

The next day you get to go on another 4 hour boat ride up the Tambopata with your fellow adventurers to the TRC. The river can be low and at times appear kinda scary, but we got there safe and sound. Be advised you do have to climb a few sets of steep stairs up the rivers to go through various check points on the river, but it's doable and the guides are always there to help. The sand flies are killer though. I wouldn't absolutely suggest using bug spray before you get off the boat or make sure your pants are long and tucked into your socks.

It's about a 10 minute walk to the TRC from the river and from there you end up in this magical fairy land called the jungle. It is awesome. The staff and the researchers at TRC are amazing, always willing to help and teach.

Magical tidbits:

The food was the best we had in Peru.
The magical cup of coffee they give you when you get up at the crack of dawn to see the Macaws is just pure genius.
The resident macaws stealing food is amazing.
Macaws on the railing in your room, life changing.
Howler monkeys in the forest at the crack on dawn... surreal and haunting.
Anaconda and jaguar tracks, amazing!
The smell of wild boar, unforgetable.
Sunset and sunrise on the tambopata, breath taking.

The place is just amazing. I really did leave a bit of my heart there. I want to go back.

Be advised, you def need clothes, if you do a lot of hiking, you are going to be really sweaty and gross. The cool thing is, everyone else is just the same. Take a pair of comfy breezy clothes for the lodge as the bugs aren't as crazy and much more managable.

The bathrooms are shared, but I never had an issue. And you can hear everything your neighbors do, but it's worth it! Plus you're so tired, you usually don't care!

The hammocks are genius!

Let me just end with Juan Carlos. He is a just a freaking gem. If you get far enough into this review to read this and you reqest him as your guide, you're doing the right thing. He got so excited when we saw cool animals. He has a great sense of humor and is super knowledgable. He has a freaking eagle eye. We constantly felt like we were playing where's waldo with him. On top of it, he's just a great person.

Loved, loved, loved the TRC.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RainforestExp, Manager at Tambopata Research Center, responded to this review, September 6, 2013
If you left a piece of your heart in TRC you should come back to find it :)
Thank you for your detailed review, I am sure that it will be very useful for further visitors.
We already sent your review to your guide Juan Carlos.
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Additional Information about Tambopata Research Center

Address: Collpa Colorado, Tambopata National Reserve 084, Peru
Phone Number:
Location: Peru > Madre de Dios Region > Tambopata National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 16 Specialty Lodging in Tambopata National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Tambopata Research Center 3*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Tambopata Research Center (TRC) is a spartan yet comfortable 18 bedroom lodge with 8 shared bathrooms. Because of its remote location in uninhabited wilderness, housing stable populations of endangered wildlife, the small scale of its infrastructure and operations and the presence of researchers and naturalist guides, Tambopata Research Center is an excellent headquarters for in depth explorations of Amazonian nature and wildlife. It is located in a half hectare clearing in the middle of the uninhabited portion of the Tambopata National Reserve, less than a kilometer from the world's largest and most diverse macaw claylick. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tambopata Research Hotel Tambopata National Reserve
Tambopata Research Center Peru/Tambopata National Reserve

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