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“Amazing experience”

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Tambopata Research Center
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed February 9, 2014

our family of 4 and my aunt/nephew had the best experience at TRC. We booked our trip with Ecologistica Peru. TRC was a natural wonderland. The sounds were incredible! a testament to the incredible biodiversity. We saw so many animals, the macaws are so beautiful and they come right to the lodge, a treat to watch so up close! the monkeys are incredible to watch. We lucked out and saw a Harpy Eagle on her nest. We were fortunate to observe the researchers doing their work and got to see baby macaws. The accommodations were perfect! The food YUMM! I would recommend it to anyone up for an adventure, our group range in ages from 11 years old to 70 years old! Everyone enjoyed it!The tree climb was pretty challenging but totally worth it. The trip to the macaw lick was magical, to see the macaws arrive and fly with the gorgeous early morning sun, perfect to photograph. TRC was a cozy perfect spot! and the hammocks are a great place to relax after our morning walks.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank cloudsToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 10, 2014

I think this place is 5 star in every way and our experience with Rainforest Expeditions, both in booking the trip and in their logistical ability was flawless. They are the best, hands down, if you want to go to the Tambopata Reserve.

We booked to go during the rainy season but got very lucky and didn't have to cancel any of our activities during our 5 night stay due to rain. It was hot and humid but it added to the experience and we got to see such diversity that would be a wildlife photographers dream.

My only negative comment did not detract from my rating but somewhat tainted how good the experience could have been. The research that is being done in Tambopata is what started the center but now it seems a little unnecessary. Macaws are thriving in Tambopata so I don't understand the justification for handling them so roughly and disturbing them. They take the chicks out of their nests daily to measure, weigh, and photograph them (I was shocked at how rough these small blind helpless birds were handled). Their idea of "sterile" technique is in no way sterile and if one nest developed a dangerous infection I'm certain all chicks in Tambopata would be exposed.

Beyond the basics of the research we took issue with some of the researchers themselves. There were actual scientists there studying intently but a lot of their volunteers are like kids at summer camp (I assume they are undergrads) that seem to be there to play with pretty birds and hang out. The lodge at Tambopata is small and it can't be expanded since the surrounding area is protected so I understand some overlap in tourists and the volunteers but many times they took over the entire lodge despite having their own quarters. There are effectively 4 relaxing areas in TRC, two with couches/padded chairs that each seat about 4 people, one group of 5 hammocks, and the bar area. It was rare that the volunteers didn't completely occupy at least half of the seating, we didn't have as much interaction with other guests because many time we had to go back to our rooms when the common areas were full of entitled obnoxious children. One seating area was effectively "off limits" to guests because the research crew camped out there. The head honcho researcher was also there with his family and gave some perspective on why the crew was so obnoxious. He would occupy an entire guest table for himself, spread out his child's dishes and make an event of feeding her. When he would find time to "work" he had someone (I assume the childs aunt) drive her around in a stroller that played lullaby music for a couple hours. Everyday during the typical siesta time we;d try to take a nap and everyday this woman with a stroller playing music would trapse up and down the guest hall playing intermittent music. Every time you'd almost get to sleep the music would be back and wake you up.

The negatives are largely out of the control of Rainforest Expeditions. The researchers are there but I think there should be some more boundaries to keep paying customers happy. The food was excellent, we got to sample a lot of traditional food we may not have been exposed to, the guides were amazing and made the experience something we'll remember for the rest of our lives. They never stop working when you're there and go out of their way to make sure everything runs smoothly. If you have the time go to TRC, the entire package is so much better than staying down at Refugio (also nice, just not the real amazon experience). I desperately want to go back.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank slc-john
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2014

Just back from a trip organized by Adventure Life and Rainforest Expeditions--the latter of which handled the logistics pretty much perfectly. The trip had us fly into Puerto Maldonado, where we met our guide for the week. We were lucky to get Saay, a quiet young man with excellent English and great skill at spotting wildlife and explaining to us the life in the jungle. Then we took a bus to the aptly known port of Inferno, then a boat to Refugio Amazonas for a day, then the next four days at the Tambopata Research Center. TRC's primary mission is to study Macaws, particularly their reproductive cycles, and the researchers, mostly faculty and students from Texas A&M Veterinary School, do their work and kindly share a great deal of it with the tourists. They were a great bunch! Their secondary purpose is to promote ecotourism, and they are succeeding at both.
Let's get the bad out of the way first. It was hot and humid (yes, it's the bloody Amazon jungle, so that shouldn't be a surprise). There's not much escape, and it's compounded by the need to wear long sleeves and pants and socks whenever you were outside of the compound, or when sleeping (under mosquito netting). It was pretty oppressive, but it worked--I went a week there with no bug bites at all, and my wife only had one. So whatever parasitic diseases one can get, we avoided neatly.
The forest has two seasons, rainy and dry. The dry, though technically winter, is actually hotter. We were at the rainy season, but were lucky to only have two rains, neither of which was during an activity time. They don't hike in the rain, for good reason...we were passing one spot, and Saay pointed to a large tree that had fallen during the last hour's rain. You don't want to be under that when it falls. There's always the possibility of lots of rain, and lots of abandoned hikes, but we were lucky.
Rooms were pleasant with three walls and one open to the forest. Baths were shared, but there was never a problem with access or privacy. For what little down time there was, you had a small collection of books, a few hours electricity/internet access available, even a range of massages (which I don't recommend in the sweltering heat).
The food? Nothing short of incredible! They publish their weekly menu on the net, with pictures that are quite accurate. Food is traditional Peruvian, expertly prepared in beautifully balanced meals. A small but luscious dessert with every lunch and dinner, and a bewildering variety of fruit juices, each more delicious than all the others. And the bar is well stocked and affordable...the only thing that really cooled me down was a nice large Cusqueña beer before dinner! The director, Eric, was filling in for the bartender, who was having medical treatment in Puerto Maldonado--he could whip up an impressive range of cocktails.
The real draw here is the Clay Lick, a wall of clay that attracts hundreds and hundreds of Macaws and parrots every day. We viewed from about 300 meters (bring a superzoom camera), with amazing views. We went several times, and each was dramatically different. Even one day, an eagle scared all the parrots off...but that was brilliantly sunny, and the sight of the Macaws flying across at dawn with the sun catching them from below was amazingly beautiful. Sometimes there would be only Macaws, sometimes only a mix of Mealy Amazons and other smaller parrots. Even the Peccary, the wild boar of the Amazon comes for the clay.
The other highlight was watching the researchers do an inventory on the Macaw chicks. Some poor person (they actually fight for the "privilege") gets to climb up about 100 feet to the nest, take the chicks out over the objections of their parents (who have very strong and sharp beaks), and lower then to the floor, where they are measured, checked for parasites, checked to make sure they're being fed well, and generally keep tabs on their development. They do this every day, and others watch on a closed-circuit security camera 24/7 to monitor what goes on in the nest. They're a delightful and charming bunch, and we were happy to meet them and the two featherless chicks, Franz 1 and Franz 2.
On the other walks, we encountered all but one of the local monkey species (the
Red Howler greeted us from the forest when we arrived, with a terrifying roar like some huge Cthonic beast from nether regions...they're actually only about 2 feet tall), capybara, agouti, bats, more peccaries, innumerable non-parrot birds, exotic insects, frogs, plants, millepedes, and an 8-inch tarantula. The hikes, at least those we went on, were not at all strenuous, except for the heat. And the mud. Lots of mud. But they provide knee-length rubber Wellington boots for all, so it's never an issue.
I can't say enough positive about the people running this center, and the amazing experience we got to enjoy. Thanks Saay, Eric, Annie, Erin, Cameron, and all the rest of you, and best wishes for your work!

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank KentheEnchanter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2014

TLC was fabulous! Having done several safaris in Africa, we wanted to be sure of seeing animals and birds, and to be truly "in nature" - not so easy to achieve in the Amazon - particularly if you stay too near to Puerto Maldonado. At 6-7 hours from PM, the TLC was a perfect destination - the 2 mornings that we rose early to visit the Colpa (the nearby clay cliffs which are visited by the macaws, parrots and other birds) gave us an outstanding experience and our excellent guide (Nilton) introduced us to many other species (Howler, Squirrel and Brown Capucine Monkeys; Cayman, Peccari....), trees and plants in beautiful walks around the reserve. The lodge was delightful - excellent rooms, facilities and food - and very welcoming staff. We were a bit nervous about the 7 hour boat ride and mosquitos / creepy crawlies, but in fact, the transfer from the airport and the boat ride was very efficient and interesting, the overnight stay at Refugio enabled us to visit the Canopy, and walk some other trails - and the mosquito netting over the beds was really effective. And we hardly saw any creepy crawlies - except the ones we wanted to see on the trail! We would thoroughly recommend TLC.

Room Tip: Not sure you have a choice - all rooms are identical. NB The bathrooms are communal - but there are...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
2  Thank gill-in-france
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 7, 2013

When you glance at the reviews for this place, there's a reason why everyone raves about their experience...it is simply that perfect! My friend and I initially heard about the TRC through mutual friends who had come to Peru for a couple of weeks. When they came back to work raving about their experience, my friend and I knew that if we could experience even half of what they spoke of, then it would be well worth the trip! I came to Peru looking to escape life for a bit and I tell you, I received so much more than I bargained for! From the initial pick up at the Puerto Maldonado airport to the boat trips up the rivers to the final journey back, we were greeted with nothing but kindness each step of the way. There aren't words in the English language to encapsulate the kindness that is exhibited from the staff here at TRC...it is something that can only be felt by the heart. I came to TRC expecting to have a guide teach me about the rainforest, the Tambopata River, and the macaws. In turn, I left with a life-long friend and lessons on life and everything in between! Each guide is beyond knowledgeable and willing to share their knowledge of the Rainforest. Each guide is fluent in both English and Spanish and sometimes even, you'll find a couple who speak German and various other languages as well. Our guide Frank, in particular, was exceptional! From the get-go Frank always had the best interests of our group at heart. Although we were a fairly smaller group of 6, the personality differences packed within our group upon first glance seemed worrisome to me. Frank, being the patient person he is, quickly learned how to read us all and found a way to understand each of us. Despite our different backgrounds, personalities and goals for the trip, Frank somehow tailored the trip in a way that fit each of our personal desires. Being one of the guides there with the most experience, I felt like our group had won the lottery when we learned he was our guide. He never put his binoculars down simply because he was always on the lookout for something new to teach us about. I assure you that if you have Frank as your guide, he will take an already wonderful experience and turn it into something that touches your life in a way that you will never forget! This place is beyond wonderful and this will definitely go down as one of my favorite memories in this life! I count myself lucky to have had this experience! To Frank and to all of the team members at TRC: thank you will never be enough! Keep up the great job and touching the lives that come from all over the world to experience your slice of heaven! You will never be forgotten! Best wishes until we meet again my friend!

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank turnerss0324
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 22, 2013

Tambopata Research Centre was the most expensive part of my trip to Peru, but I'm SO glad I experienced the rainforest! Tambopata was top-notch right from the airport, the guides, transportation, meals, accommodations, and adventure! Highly recommend! We were lucky enough to have good weather for the most part. The lodge could consider putting a bit more into encouraging socializing, activities at the lodge, especially when the weather isn't ideal. The guides were great on the jungle trecking, but not interested in any activity with the tourists when it rained and hiking wasn't an option. Also disappointed that for what I spent on the rainforest trip that I wasn't given a keepsake such as a t-shirt or hat like I was on less expensive tours (ie: InkaJingleTreck). I'm sure they could use the publicity! Found that most young people couldn't afford the price and that the tourists were almost too old to manage the hikes.

  • Stayed: November 2013
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1  Thank Vcmischkolz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 21, 2013

We spent 4 nights at TRC after one night at Refugio and really enjoyed the time at TRC. Refugio was nice but TRC is what we really wanted. We appreciated the more intimate atmosphere, remote location and friendliness of staff and other guests. If we had only stayed at Refugio, I would have only felt that it was "OK", but being at TRC made our trip wonderful. Our kids (ages 8 & 10) were enthralled by Delford, our guide, who helped us see many animals and insects that we would have missed without his spotting ability. Going to the clay lick early in the mornings was a highlight as was climbing up in to the canopy. All-in-all it was a wonderful time.

Stayed: October 2013, traveled with family
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank CAFAM
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 21 Specialty Lodging in Tambopata National Reserve
Price Range: $374 - $763 (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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