Nature tours to Peru that visit the Tambopata Research Center (TRC) get the chance to experience one of the most remote and wildest areas in the country. The lodge itself is situated in beautiful, untouched floodplain rainforests that host healthy populations of Amazonian Tapirs, Jaguars, and seven species of monkeys. Six species of macaws abound, are often seen right around the lodge, and can show up in large numbers at a nearby clay lick that attracts thousands of parrots and parakeets and has been featured in National Geographic. Several kilometers of trails provide access to bamboo thickets, beautiful primary rainforest, and even a small oxbow lake frequented by piranhas and Spectacled Caimans.
Many of the trails at TRC lead to hidden gems of the rainforest and one such treasure is an old growth Aguaje palm swamp. Believed to be the remnants of an ancient oxbow lake, this natural wetland deep in the rainforest has become habitat for thousands of palm trees. Reaching 30 meters (90 feet) or more in height, the Aguaje palms act as nesting sites for Blue and Gold Macaws and their smaller Red-bellied cousins. Several other birds and animals that use this unique habitat also occur there including a wide variety of amphibians and make the palm swamp at TRC an exciting place to visit on Amazon tours. Monkeys and many of the animals that visit the swamp go there in search of one of the most nutritious and important fruits in the Amazon jungle, the fruit of the Aguaje palm.
Also known as the Moriche Palm, its fruit is eaten by monkeys, macaws, guans, and many other animals. This fruit is also a staple for people in many parts of the Amazon basin and acts as a source of vitamin C. Made into jam, ice cream, juice, and even fermented into palm wine, the Aguaje is one of the more widely used plant species in Amazonia. Nevertheless, wetland habitats for this important plant are threatened in many areas because they are commonly converted into rice paddies.
Access to the beautiful palm swamp on an Amazon jungle tour to TRC is made easy with a boardwalk. When you visit this important habitat, your guide will tell you about the importance of this tree while pointing out the animals that occur in the swamp.