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“Fabulous rainforest wildlife experience”

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Tambopata Research Center
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed July 28, 2013

We did the 6 day trip to Tambopata Research Center. It's a long boat ride up there, but well worth it. Our guides, Jose Antonio and Mari Carmen, were extremely knowledgable about the flora and fauna, and they had amazing eyesight, spotting birds sitting on remote branches in the dark tree canopy. And the accommodations were far better than I expected from a remote rainforest lodge: comfortable rooms with mosquito nest, tasty - and plentiful - food (even for us vegetarians), and who would have expected WiFi in the rainforest?

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Dennis S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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351 - 357 of 539 reviews

Reviewed July 27, 2013

We did a 5 day/4night package. We were met at Puerto Maldonado airport by our guide Uriel. He was an awesome guide who made sure we had everything we needed. Uriel was very knowledgeable on the flora and fauna and could spot the wildlife sitting quietly in the trees.
We spent our first night at Posada Amazonas before moving on to TRC. The accommodation at both places was amazing. Don't let the idea of 3-walled rooms put you off. It is great to be in your bed under the mosquito net listening to the sounds in the jungle only a matter of 10 metres or so away. The mosquitos don't venture into the lodges and a good insect repellent keeps them at bay in the jungle so we did not bother with any malaria tablets. Our choice and would do again so something to consider. The food was great and the fresh fruit so nice. A previous post commented on bedding smelling of mildew, we didn't have any issue at all and sleeping in a single bed for a few nights isn't such a hardship. What was more of an issue was the ignorant guests who sat at the bar till late drinking and getting louder and louder. Not a problem at Amazonas but at TRC the bar is not too far away from the closest rooms.
The experience was truly awesome and a highlight of our time in Peru

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Kath K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2013

We stayed two nights at Refugio Amazonas and three nights at TRC. I'll start out with the positives- we had an amazing guide named Naun. He was very knowledgeable about the plants and the wildlife. He is a birder himself. He always carried around his scope and bird encyclopedia which added a lot to the trip. I did not see any of the other guides carrying their scope around. Actually lots of other groups would ask to look through his scope since their guides didn't have one with them. Naun was fun and also spoke perfect English. I highly recommend him as a guide. We were quite lucky with the wildlife- we saw lots of macaws, parrots, capybaras, monkeys, wild pigs, caimans, and weird insects. There were monkeys, wild pigs, and macaws visible from the lodge property. Another positive- the bar was well stocked and reasonably priced.

Now the negatives- I suppose the thing that bothered me the most was that the pillows and sheets smelled like mildew. This was not a problem at Refugio Amazonas, so I don't see why it was so problematic at TRC. Also, the food was not very good. Dinner was delayed by over 30 minutes one night. It seems like they do not have enough people working in the kitchen. If you are a vegetarian, the food is particularly challenging. We had just come from hiking the Inca Trail and the food there was amazing (and prepared without electricity), so we felt like TRC should be better since they do have access to kitchen equipment as well as electricity. The food is just bland and very repetitive- we had chicken for lunch and chicken for dinner. For someone who doesn't eat chicken, I had rice for lunch and rice for dinner. (The food at Refugio Amazonas is much better, perhaps because they have a bigger kitchen staff.) Also, they only have a few rooms with double beds at TRC. My last complaint is that some of the trail bridges were broken and nearly all of them were missing pieces/had holes in them. It is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt on them.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank NYC_angus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2013

We had a wonderful time on our 4 day/ 3 night trip to the rainforest. Staying at TRC was so much fun, with the open air design and camp-like atmosphere. Jaime was an incredible guide and we enjoyed following him through the jungle as he helped us spot wildlife and learn about this amazing habitat. I think the lodge should let people know that it's getting difficult to see macaws at the clay lick, and we didn't see this phenomena, but there was so much else to see that it wasn't as disappointing as I would have thought. If you go to Peru, I totally recommend that you make TRC part of your experiences, as it is wonderful! There are pet macaws living right around the lodge, so you can see them close-up even if they don't come to the clay lick.

Room Tip: The rooms away from the entrance are quieter, so that would be the larger numbers. Our rooms was #13...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank annlemery
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

This a great place for nature lovers. It does take quite some time to get there, but it is completely worth it. We chose 5D/4N option and I would recommend it. It did rain one whole day and we did not go that day to the clay lick so it's good to have a day in reserve. We were positively surprised how delicious the food was. The organisation of our stay was perfect: everyday was very well planned from beginning to the end, and the fact that you eat the meals with your guide helps to keep up with the schedule. I particularly enjoyed that there are researchers on the spot and you get some nice lectures on macaws. The lodge is very comfortable and the shared bathrooms did not bother us much (we never had to wait, though we had only cold water once). We didn't find the mosquito problem to be such an issue, we just had to use a good repellent. Remember to take binoculars with you and a good camera, ideally with a good zoom. Going back by boat early the morning is really chilly - take some warm cover.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Little_Splendid_Miss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2013

We took a 5day/4night package in mid-May with Rainforest Expeditions. We were looking for a remote location more likely to have good wildlife sightings and we chose Tambopata, partly for its reputation/reviews but particularly for the nearby macaw clay lick. The trip involved 3 hours by bus and boat on Day 1, a night in Refugio Amazonas, some good activities around this lodge next morning followed by another 4 hours by boat on Day 2, then 3 nights at the Tambopata Research Centre, before returning by boat (quicker trip going downstream) to Puerto Maldonado on Day 5 in time to catch early afternoon planes out.
Rainforest Expeditions is very professional in its logistics – the lodges are beautiful (lovely design, lots of natural wood) and very well set up (Amazonas is larger and newer, and rooms have private bathrooms, TRC is smaller and more intimate) and they take pains to have as little environmental impact as possible. Food is great, transport arrived as required and there is good attention to safety travelling in relatively small boats on what can be quite wild rivers.
The general experience lived up to expectations – flying into Puerto Maldonado over an endless expanse of deep green rainforest laced by winding brown rivers, forging upstream on the narrow covered boats typical of the Amazon, staying in lovely lodges completely open to the forest (no exterior walls) and the excitement when you spot wildlife close up.
But one of the primary reasons for visiting is the wildlife, and we had unfortunately chosen the worst month for macaws (May) – over two mornings of early rising to get to the hide, not a single macaw appeared at the lick. Fortunately there are two hand-reared macaws associated with the Centre – they live wild but often fly into the lodge for food etc, providing great close-up experiences. But we were also unlucky in that the evening we arrived at Tambopata, an Amazon cold front came through, bringing a significant drop in temperatures and rain – and the animals disappeared. So we spent much of our two days there tramping around dark wet rainforest, trying to spot almost completely elusive animals. We think our guide tried hard to find them, but have no comparison point to know if another guide would have done better. Most of the wildlife we saw was in the first two days and in total for the trip perhaps a dozen species of birds (no other parrots or macaws apart from the resident pair at the lodge), some caiman, caypabara, peccaries, small bats, large tarantula and several other spider species, one group of ants, a crested toad and about 4 species of monkeys but some so high in the canopy they were barely visible.
While the lodge and the company cannot be responsible for the season or the weather, we felt let down by things they could have controlled, particularly contingency activities for poor weather. And being in this remote place should be an opportunity to learn about, not just observe, animals. Yet, not only did our group not receive the promised normal briefing about the work of the research centre when we arrived, there was very little offered to fill the gaps while it was raining. This was disappointing and surprising. I believe there is a lot of video material around that could be used to enhance understanding of rainforest ecosystems, the local wildlife, native Indian peoples and their lifestyles, conservation issues and pressures on the forest etc, though TRC does need a suitable space/equipment to show them. I suspect it would not take too much effort to create such a space and it would certainly provide a more value-added experience.
This is an expensive trip, including the airfares to to get to Puerto Maldonado (total over US$2000 for 2 people) and I am not convinced of overall value if you don’t see a reasonable proportion of the wildlife you have come to see. This gets 4 stars due to weighting it as a review of a place to stay – and the lodges are very good, but I would only give 2-3 stars to the activities as we experienced them at TRC itself.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank BonniesGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2013

As students, my husband and I are on a strict budget and only had a limited time in Peru. We decided to make the space in our schedule and in our budget to stay at the TRC and tour with Rainforest Expeditions. It was so worth it. The service was amazing from beginning to end; we loved our guide Daniel. He was the guide none other in Peru could measure up to. The lodges were very comfortable, the food delicious, and our guide knowledgeable. It is definitely remote - with electricity only a few hours a day with walls open to the rainforest. The only thing I can think is that these negative reviews come from people who are used to really being pampered. Because I can't see any other reason why they would have a negative experience . I would highly recommend it!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Travel L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 20 Specialty Lodging in Tambopata National Reserve
Price Range: $595 - $695 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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