P revious Visits. My first visit to the Tarnbopata Research Center (TRC) in southeast Peru was in October 1996 and the second was in March 1998. Each visit entailed a morning flight to Puerto Maldonado, considered a frontier city by many Peruvians, and a looong 8-hour journey by motorized canoe up the Tambopata River. We arrived at dusk, tired and hungry, and unpacked by candlelight, dazed and confused. When departing, we faced a shorter (about 6 hours) downstream boat ride back to Puerto Maldonado where we spent the night in a noisy hotel prior to a morning departure (there are no afternoon flights) back to Lima. But, each visit was a marvelous experience.
This was my seventh visit to the rainforests of Peru. My passion and quest were to observe parrots and other critters in the wild. The macaw clay licks, revealed by Dr. Charles Munn in his National Geographic Qan. 94) article, were a major draw and I've see the "coll-
pas" at Manu (see AFA \Vatcbhird Vol XXVII), Tirnpia (twice), Heath River and Tarnbopata. My wife, Rita, had accompanied me on four of these adventures. Since TRC was one of her favorites, it became the destination to scratch my most
Manu is the most wildlife-rich destination reasonably accessible to the average tourist but involves either an arduous two-clay overland journey or charter flight from Cuzco. Timpia (Machiguenga Center for Tropical Studies), with its three clay licks, also requires an air charter. Tambopata (second, only to Marni, in overall
wildlife) is much more reasonable in cost and has a premier clay lick as well. Also, I wanted to see a new lodge, Posada Amazonas, which now provides a welcome and pleasant break in the long journey to the TRC.
(www.perunature.com) owns both the Tambopata Research Center and the newer Posada Amazonas (in partnership with the Ese'eja Native Community). This environmentally sensitive organization has won both the Conservation International Ecotourism Excellence and Conde Nast Traveller Ecotourism Awards. For questions or further info about Rainforest Expeditions email coowner Kurt Holle at:
Parrot fanatics should check out: www.perunature.com/ parrotlovers.htm
This 24-bedroom lodge has been open since 1998 and consists of several thatched roof buildings used for bedrooms, a library and exhibit building, a meeting center, and a large bar-dining room-kitchen facility. Each bedroom has its own bathroom and shower and the rooms are open to the jungle. Candles and oil lamps provide soothing light after dark. The food is Peruvian-style and very tasty. The lodge is close enough (two hours) to Puerto Maldonado that blocks of ice can be brought in so that blended drinks can be made with a generator-powered blender!
Our guide for the entire visit was Silverio Duri, an Ese'eja Indian, and one of the best I have encountered in all my visits. Rita and I were accompanied by a client, Rita Blakeslee. Our trip was structured so that we spent two nights at Posada Amazonas, four nights at the TRC and then two more nights at Posada Amazonas on the way out. This arrangement really simplified the long journey to the TRC and allowed us to catch a morning flight from Puerto Maldonado without the noisy hotel experience.