One of the most frequently asked questions by people who are planning a trip to Peru is when they should visit Tambopata. They wonder if weather and/or animal sightings vary by time of year or if there are other factors to take into consideration. Although it would be easy to say that it’s worth it to experience the exciting Amazonian rainforests of Tambopata at any time of the year, most visitors do prefer to stay at Posada Amazonas, Refugio Amazonas, and the Tambopata Research Center during the dry season. Nevertheless, there are advantages to visiting Tambopata during the wet season too so the best time to go depends more on what you hope to see and how you would like to experience the Amazon rainforest. The following questions and their respective answers will help you decide when to visit Tambopata:
- When is the dry season?: Although it can rain at any time of the year, the Tambopata region tends to be drier from May until October. The rains start up in earnest in November and continue until April with therainiest months usually being November and December. Upsides to visiting during the dry season are trails that aren’t as muddy, little chance of activities being affected by rain, and more macaws and parrots on the clay licks. Downsides to visiting during the dry season are hotter weather, less bird activity on sunny days, more difficulty in finding amphibians, and more travel time on rivers due to low water levels.
- Why visit Tambopata eco-lodges during the wet season?: Although you can expect a lot of rain, there will probably be fewer fellow ecotourists (if you like a lot of extra elbow room), it usually rains in the afternoon, it tends to be a bit cooler, and there may be higher bird activity on account of the cloudy weather. The ponds and temporal wetlands that form at this time of the year in the rainforest can also make it easier to find reptiles and amphibians.
- When will I see the most animals?: In all honesty, no month is particularly better to see animals than any other. While more parrots and macaws tend to visit the clay lick during the dry season, other animals are encountered with the same frequency no matter what the time of the year. A much bigger factor that comes into play for seeing Amazonian wildlife is the guide’s level of experience and training.
- When is the best time to see monkeys?: If you visit lodges such as the Tambopata Research Center, Refugio Amazonas, or Posada Amazonas, you have a very good chance of seeing several monkey species throughout the year. The rollicking calls of Dusky Titis echo from vine tangles, Red Howler Monkeys call from the canopy, and troops of Squirrel Monkeys roam through second growth near oxbow lakes. Black Spider Monkeys may be a bit easier to find during the wet season because it’s usually easier to locate the fruiting trees they feed on but a good guide will increase your chances of seeing them no matter what the time of the year.
Basically everything once you arrive in Puerto Maldonado is included, such as:
- All meals
- Tours, Services, Guides
- Transfer from and to the airport of Puerto Maldonado
- All river transportation
- International or domestic airfares,
- Airport departure taxes or visa fees,
- Excess baggage charges,
- Additional nights during the trip due to flight cancellations,
- Alcoholic beverages or bottled water, snacks,
- Insurance of any kind,
- Phone calls or messages, reconfirmation of flights and items of personal nature.
Your luggage is hand-carried at various stages in the trip for a long distance. We strongly recommend you limit your weight to 10 kilos (22 pounds a piece). You can leave your large duffle bags in our office at Puerto Maldonado. If you are visiting other destinations in Peru or South America that require different kinds of clothing, you can always pack separate bags and safely leave them at our offices in Puerto Maldonado on the first day so we won’t be carrying them around uselessly. Your bag will be waiting for you at the airport the day you leave.
Here are some suggestions:
- Camera gear, bring your long lens!
- Tight-weave, light colored, long cotton pants
- Long sleeved, tight-weave, light colored cotton shirts
- Ankle-high hiking boots and sneakers
- Flashlight (headlamp) with batteries
- Sunblock lotion
- Broad-brimmed hat
- Rain suit or poncho
- Insect repellent
- Small denomination bills
- Small daypack
- Slippers or sandals for walking around the lodge
Around the lobby you will find racks with rubber boots arranged by size. The largest size we carry is 11. You can use these boots for our walks or outings into the forest. Please remember that when walking inside the lodge facilities and in order to prevent bringing mud inside, you must take out your boots or muddy shoes. We suggest to use sandals, clean sneakers, slippers or socks. During rainy season the corridors to your rooms get wet, so we recommend to bring light anti-slip slippers to avoid getting your socks wet.
The lodge is run mainly on propane. You can charge batteries a few hours a day in the dining room area. Communications are powered by solar energy and there is wireless internet available at night. We use electric bulbs in public areas at night.
We provide natural spring water 24 hours per day. Please use the water wisely. We advise you not to drink the water from the river, lake or any of the taps. Consumable water can be found throughout the lodge from many dispensers and pitchers as well as a variety of other beverages available. All the water that the lodge provides is purified with an ozone treatment. We also suggest that you use this water to brush your teeth. Please turn off the water flow while lathering and soaping up to reduce unnecessary water usage.
Our open and spacious rooms offer lots of natural light and fresh air while providing a safe but close contact with the forest environment. Each room is also equipped with private bathrooms (except at TRC) for your convenience. Use of the mosquito netting on each bed is strongly recommended to ensure your comfort and safety. We try to be as eco-friendly as possible so we request that you only change towels when really needed. After 9:30pm we kindly ask that you lower your voices to allow all guests to enjoy the sounds of the forest at night.
According to our environmental policies, we only use Brazil nut biodegradable soap and shampoo which you will find in the bathroom If you are allergic to nuts, please let us know and we will provide you with a lemongrass soap. We wash the towels and bed sheets using biodegradable detergent and we clean the bathrooms with biodegradable products as well.
Thank God we do not have a telephone available in our lodge! In case of emergency, we could get cell phone signal, only at Posada Amazonas and Refugio Amazonas.
While the Peruvian Amazon is an incredible place to visit, make sure you prepare well for your travel to Peru by packing efficiently and getting the recommended vaccinations. Before you travel to Puerto Maldonado or other places in the Peruvian Amazon, visit a health care provider specializing in Travel Medicine who can tell you which vaccinations are recommended due to your health and vaccination history. It is best to see this physician 4-6 week prior to your travel to allow time for vaccinations to take effect. You should mention each country you are visiting on your trip in order to receive appropriate advice for all of your travel destinations. While there are no required vaccinations for travel to Peru, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has the following recommendations:
- Hepatitus A:Vaccination is recommended to all travelers to Peru.
- Hepatitus B: Vaccination recommended to all travelers to Peru, especially those who may have exposure to blood or body fluids through the giving or receiving of medical care, drug injections, tattooing, or sexual contact with the local population.
- Typhoid Fever: Vaccination is recommended to all travelers to tropical South America especially those who may be staying in rural areas where exposure through food or water could occur.
- Yellow Fever: Vaccination is highly recommended for travel to Amazonia and the Southern Amazon basin. The shot should be given at least 10 days before your arrival and at 10 year intervals if you decide to stay.
- Rabies: Vaccination is ONLY recommended to travelers with an increased risk of exposure including: long-term travelers living in an area that poses a high-risk of exposure, travelers working in occupations who will have direct contact with bats, stray dogs and cats, or other mammal such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals or researchers.
This service is only available on sunny days. Please ask for the rate at the lodge. Clothes are hand-washed using White Swipe biodegradable soap and are sun dried in order to protect the environment.
Smoking is allowed in the lobby and bar except at meal times. Please do not smoke in your room, the dining rooms, boats or during activities.
Breakfast time depends on your scheduled activity but starts from 4:30am onwards. Lunch is served at 1:00pm and dinner is served at 7:00pm. Please let us know if you are vegetarian or have any special dietary needs. We do offer a special menu for children.
In case of emergencies we have a first aid kit that is equipped to deal with most cases that may reasonably arise in the area. Our guides are all certified by the Red Cross, which means they are prepared to deal with foreseeable emergencies (broken bones or snake bites, for example) but not complex emergencies (such as an appendicitis). For snake bites, unheard of at Tambopata so far, we have extractors and an anti-venom at the lodges. In case of evacuation, we need to travel by boat by to Puerto Maldonado. During the day, evacuations take about 20% less time than our regular boats. During the night, evacuations take about 30% more. In Puerto Maldonado there is access to a state clinic.
Leishmaniasis Leishmaniasis is present throughout the rain forests of southeastern Peru. It is a skin lesion caused by a protozoan transmitted by a certain kind of small biting fly. There is no vaccination against it but it is curable in every case. The selected cure, injections of pentavalent antimony (Glucantime), is uncomfortable. Leishmaniasis is also very easy to prevent by wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and repellent on exposed skin at all times, and sleeping under mosquito nets. If you are interested in receiving complete information on leishmaniasis contact us before your trip. Malaria Malaria is present but extremely rare. If you wish to take medical precautions against malaria consult your physician or a specialist in tropical medicine.
We ask you to keep your valuable belongings and documents in the safe. Do not leave them valuables in plane view. Equally if you have food or candies please keep them in the safe. Do not leave them outside. This way you will avoid attracting insects and other animals. Ask the lodge manager or guide to inform you about the proper use of the safety box.
The lowland rainforests of Tambopata lie far enough south of the Equator to provide a cooler, drier winter season between May and October. The general weather conditions, are warm and humid. In Tambopata the average daytime high temperature is between 78F and 93F (24C and 31C) The average nighttime low is between 66F and 78 F (20C and 24C). Cold Fronts - May through September Cold fronts from Argentina can sweep into southwestern Amazonia and push daytime highs down to 50° F (9° C) and the nighttime lows to 43° F (5° C). Thus, during that season always be potentially prepared for cold and drizzle. Rainy Months - November through April Be prepared for heavy rain that can continue for hours or days. Around 80% of the annual average 3000 mm rainfall occurs during this season.
You will find tip boxes at each of the lodges. These are for staff tips. We suggest 3$ per person per day. To tip your guide, wait until the end of the trip, and do so personally. We suggest 10$ per person per day.