River Excursion

Peru: Wilderness, Wildlife and Wildwater

Juliaca, Peru

Prices From: $2,968 per person

This expedition takes you into a rarely visited part of Peru, virtually from the shores of Lake Titicaca to the very heart of the Amazon Rainforest. Our journey to the river takes us high into the Andes with breathtaking views of the Apolobamba and Carabaya mountain ranges, before dropping down into the Amazon rainforest. From our put in on the banks of the Rio Tambopata, we soon bid farewell to all traces of civilization as we head into pristine jungle in search of wilderness, wildlife and wildwater.

The first few days we tackle grade III-IV rapids. The rapids become less technical and more high volume roller coaster as the river grows through the Amazon Basin foothills. As we reach the Amazon Basin the last few days are spent drifting silently, spotting rare wildlife and exploring tributaries.

A night in a comfortable jungle lodge beside the spectacular Macaw lick gives us time to explore jungle trails, before heading downriver past gold miners and so to Puerto Maldonado for a night.

The Bahuaja / Sonene national reserve is considered to be the world´s best-preserved tropical rainforest reserve and the last human-free jungle on the planet. It is home to jaguars, tapirs, giant otters and capybaras as well as over eight-hundred species of birds and twelve-hundred different species of butterflies. Rafting the Rio Tambopata, through the very heart of this National Park has recently been described by the scientific world as “The Ultimate Jungle Experience”.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Juliaca Arrival

On arrival in Juliaca airport (please book the early flight), you will be met by our local representatives to start the journey to the river. We drive overland, high into the Andes, passing llama herds, glaciers and spectacular mountain ranges. As we cut through the Andes, we begin to descend through Inca terraces and cloud forest. We descend as far as we can get into the cloud forest and camp overnight on the roadside (or stay in a local basic hostal) where the weather, road conditions and altitude dictates.

Day 2 - Rio Tambopata Rafting

From here to our launching site on the banks of the Rio Tambopata the road can be a real challenge. We drop deeper into the jungle and finally to Putina Punku.

Here we pass the permit office, pay the S/.150 entrance and depending on water levels / road conditions either start rafting here or continue on the road a little further to a small village called Curva Alegre. We inflate the rafts and securely pack all our gear and supplies. Following a full safety briefing and instruction in the art of white water rafting, we don our life jackets and helmets and head into the Amazon rainforest. Any excess gear can be sent back with our vehicle to await our arrival in Cusco.

Days 3 - 7 - Rio Tambopata Rafting

Leaving all traces of civilization behind, we raft exciting rapids by day and at night camp on pristine sandy beaches. The first days are full of class II-III rapids, starting small and technical, giving us plenty of time to practice the necessary skills required to negotiate the harder rapids to come. As tributary after tributary join the Tambopata the river increases in volume creating exciting and challenging class IV rapids.

Plenty of time is allowed for scouting and photographing the harder rapids. Eventually the river relaxes and for the last few days, our rafts float silently through the calmer stretches, giving us unequalled opportunities to observe and photograph wildlife. Here we hope to see families of capybaras - the world's largest rodent, herds of peccaries. Lone tapirs have also been known to walk through the campsite at night and monkeys watch us pass from their tree top hideaways. Jaguars, jaguarondis, caiman, ant-eaters and giant river otters have also been spotted as well as countless species of rare birds and butterflies. Time is spent exploring beautiful side creeks and, if you wish, fishing for the delicious but elusive Paiche.

Day 8 - Meet With Motorboats

Where the Tambopata meets the Rio Tavara, the river becomes flat and thus hard work. This is our last night’s camp and where we meet our re-supply boat.

Day 9 - Macaw Lick Lodge

Today the motor boat transfers us a few hours downriver to a comfortable jungle lodge situated beside the famous Macaw lick. Here we can enjoy the luxuries of a refreshing shower, a comfortable bed, fresh food and a cold beer. Resident expert guides are available for further jungle walks if desired.

Overnight: Sandoval Lake Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included)

Day 10 - Macaw Lick - Puerto Maldonado

Perhaps the wildlife highlight of the trip still awaits us as we rise just before dawn to see the truly extraordinary spectacle of hundreds of macaws, parrots, and parakeets feasting on the minerals contained in the cliff wall. After breakfast, the motor boat transfers us further downstream, passing groups of gold miners and finally to the frontier town of Puerto Maldonado and a well earned night in a hotel.

Overnight: Hotel Cabana Quinta (Breakfast, Lunch included)

Day 11 - Puerto Maldonado Departure

We transfer to Puerto Maldonado airport in time for your flight back to Lima in time to connect with your international flight home.

Accommodation Information

Sandoval Lake Lodge

Located deep in Peru's Tambopata National Reserve, our Sandoval Lake lodge overlooks sparkling, palm-rimmed Sandoval Lake, the most beautiful and wildlife-rich of all lakes in Tambopata-Madidi. This privileged location gives you exclusive access to the lake in the early morning and late afternoon, the choice hours for wildlife viewing and photography.

Fully-screened accommodation in 25 double-occupancy rooms complete with en suite facilities with hot-water showers, fans, meals, airport transfers in Puerto Maldonado, naturalist guides, lake excursions by day in search of Giant Otters, monkeys, and macaws, forest excursions, night excursions in search of caimans, and evening slide shows. Our lodge specializes in small groups and individualized attention in our overriding quest to conserve the lake and surrounding rainforest. Sandoval Lake Lodge is built out of ecologically-correct driftwood mahogany and is owned jointly by a nonprofit conservation group and five families of indigenous Brazil nut collectors.

Hotel Cabana Quinta

This simple, comfortable hotel is a good option for travelers on their way in and out of the Tambopata Nature Reserve. The frontier town of Puerto Maldonado mainly supports tourism through the national park, and rarely hosts travelers itself, but this hotel is ready and willing to welcome international travelers through its doors.


Region: South America



All Meals All Meals

Ecologically Responsible Ecologically Responsible

Hiking Trekking Hiking Trekking

Wildlife Wildlife

GBC Staffpick GBC Staffpick

General Information

Price Includes

  • Price is based on small group departure, groups must be minimum 4 people, with a maximum of 16
  • All accommodations as mentioned
  • Transfers as mentioned
  • While River Rafting
  • * State of the art rafting equipment
  • * Hiflotation lifejackets
  • * Helmets
  • * Spray Jackets
  • * Dry bags for personal gear
  • * Special containers for cameras
  • * Camping equipment
  • * Thermarests
  • * Spacious, twoperson tents
  • * Mosquitonetting dining tent
  • * Tables and Stools
  • Meals as mentioned
  • All activities as mentioned
  • Full support before, during, and after your trip

Price Excludes

  • International and domestic flights
  • Travel insurance (available)
  • Services not mentioned in the itinerary, including extra meals, tours not included, and other services
  • Expenses of a purely personal nature; tips and gratuities