Photography Expedition – 5D/4N Refugio Amazonas & Tambopata Research Center
Overview:
Photograph Tambopata’s abundant wildlife from the amazons premier ecolodges with this Rainforest Wildlife Photography
Highlights include photographing Howler monkeys, Scarlet macaws, Hoatzin birds, capybara and leafcutter ants.
Highlights:
  • Three nights at the Tambopata Research Center
  • Visit Macaw clay licks and a jungle tower
  • Visit 2 lodges for great photography opportunities
 
 
DAY 1
Arrival & Reception by Photography Guide
Because, photography in the rainforest requires a lot of patience and luck, our photography guides help with your equipment, provide subtle tips for improved use of blinds and maximize breaks with the weather and wildlife.
Transfer Airport to Puerto Maldonado Headquarters
Upon arrival from Lima or Cusco, we will welcome you at the airport and  drive you ten minutes to our Puerto Maldonado headquarters.  While enjoying your first taste of the forest in our gardens we will ask you to pack only the necessary gear for your next few days, and leave the rest at our safe deposit. This helps us keep the boats and cargo light.
Transfer Pto Maldonado Headquarters to Tambopata River Port
Skirting Puerto Maldonado, we drive 20 kilometers to the Tambopata River Port, entering the Native Community of Infierno.  The port is a communal business.
Transfer Boat – Tambopata River Port to Refugio Amazonas
The two and a half hour boat ride from the Tambopata Port to Refugio Amazonas will take us past the Community of Infierno and the Tambopata National Reserve´s checkpoint and into the buffer zone of this 1.3 million hectare conservation unit.
Boxed Lunch
Orientation
Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and brief you with important navigation and security tips.
Dinner
Night Photography
Night walks are great for photographing insects and frogs. We may be able to find praying mantis, cicadas, leaf mimicking grasshoppers as well as huge toads, shiny green tree frogs and bizarre horned frogs.
Room at Refugio Amazonas – Overnight
DAY 2
Breakfast
Photography from the Tower
A thirty minute walk takes us to this 30 meter tall scaffolding tower, which will add a whole new dimension to our Amazon photography experience: the forest canopy. From this vantage point, it is all about landscapes and mainly birds. We will wait for a canopy mixed flock to appear. The mixed flock is mostly all about tanagers: Paradise Tanager, Green-and-gold Tanager, Flame-crested Tanager, Turqoise Tanager, Opal- rumped Tanager and others. The tower also offers good opportunity for Cream- colored Woodpecker, Gilded Barbet, Plum-throated Cotinga and Striolated Puffbird. Macaws and toucans are seen flying against the horizon, including the Chestnut-eared, Lettered, Emerald, Curl-crested, and Brown-mandibled Aracaries. We will see lonely raptors riding the thermals. This is your best chance for hawk-eagles and even harpy!
Chuncho Clay Lick
Two hours from Refugio Amazonas, deep in the Tambopata National Reserve we will stop at the Chuncho claylick. After a brief walk (~5 minutes) we will have the chance to see dozens of large macaws feeding on the special sodium rich clays of the riverbank. The Chuncho claylick probably attracts more large macaws than any other claylick in the world and the sight of dozens of macaws taking flight is truly unforgettable. The details of our stopover will depend on the weather and the amount of macaw activity, as the birds don’t visit the clay lick when it is raining.
Transfer Boat – Refugio Amazonas to TRC
Four and half hours by boat from Refugio Amazonas, in the pristine heart of the reserve, lies the Tambopata Research Center.  One and half hours into our boat journey, as we cross the confluence with the Malinowski River, we will leave the final traces of human habitation behind. Within the 700,000 hectare uninhabited nucleus of the reserve, sightings of capybara, caiman, geese, macaws and other large species will become more frequent.
Orientation
Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and brief you with important navigation and security tips.
Lunch
Photography from Overlooks
A three to five kilometer hike will lead us to overlooks commanding magnificent views of the Tambopata winding its way into the lowlands. The forest on this trail, regenerating on old bamboo forest, is good for Howler Monkey and Dusky Titi Monkey.  The overlooks provide excellent panoramic photo opportunities of the Tambopata winding its way down from the highlands. On a clear day, it will even be possible to view and photograph the snow capped Andean peaks in the distance.  At each overlook we will have good chances of encounters at eyelevel at 30-50 yards with large turkey-like birds called guans and chachalacas, or toucans, or macaws roosting on the trees.
Dinner
Room at Tambopata Research Center – Overnight
DAY 3
Macaw Clay Lick Photography from the Beach
On most clear mornings of the year dozens of large macaws and hundreds of parrots congregate on this large river bank in a raucous and colorful spectacle which inspired a National Geographic cover story. Discretely located fifty meters from the cliff, we will observe Green-winged, Scarlet and Blue-and-gold Macaws and several species of smaller parrots descend to ingest clay. Outings are at dawn when the lick is most active. If the river is not swollen, thereby reducing the effective beach area, photographers should have plenty of opportunities to shoot the typical clay lick photographs from distances of 50-100 meters.
Breakfast
Photography in the floodplain forest
This five kilometer trail covers the prototypical rain forest with immense  trees criss-crossed by creeks and ponds. Amongst the figs, ceibas and shihuahuacos we will look for Squirrel, Brown Capuchin, and Spider Monkeys as well as peccaries. TRC is located within this habitat. Photo opportunities for all mammals and birds on this trail will be scant as visibility and lighting are poor and animals timid. Our principal focus will be general rain forest shots as well as portraits of the huge trees that are scattered throughout this forest.
Lunch
Photography on the Pond Platform
Ten minutes upriver from the lodge is a tiny pond with a platform in the middle. It is a great place for the late afternoon where we whiddle away the remains of the day as we spot waterfowl such as Muscovy duck, sunbittern and hoatzin along with the woodpeckers, oropendolas, flycatchers and parakeets that call this pond their home. Opportunities to photograph these beautiful birds will abound, as the lighting and visibility of the pond is excellent and these birds´ habits are predictable over short periods of time.
Dinner
Night Photography
Night walks are great for photographing insects and frogs. We may be able to find praying mantis, cicadas, leaf mimicking grasshoppers as well huge toads, shiny green tree frogs and bizarre horned frogs.
Room at Tambopata Research Center – Overnight
DAY 4
Breakfast
Photography around the TRC clearing
We will photograph herps around the TRC clearing: frogs, snakes and lizards.  TRC specialists will have spent the past few days screening the vicinity for encounters with the most photogenic herp species and will have prepared appropriate scenarios. The chicos, our flock of semi-wild, hand reared macaws will provide additional photographic opportunities as they  fly about around the lodge.
Lunch
Palm Swamp Trail
Growing on the remains of an oxbow lake and providing both arboreal as well as terrestrial mammals with fruits throughout the year, the aguaje palms are one of the most important food sources in the rainforest. Demand for these fruits and great conditions for planting rice, makes the palm swamp also one of the most threatened habitats.
Dinner
Room at Tambopata Research Center – Overnight
DAY 5
Breakfast
Transfer Puerto Maldonado Headquarters to Airport
We retrace our river and road journey back to Puerto Maldonado, our office and the airport. Depending on airline schedules, this may require dawn departures.