WHY THIS TRIP
The Wilderness, Wildlife and Whitewater on the Rio Tambopata trip is an incredible expedition that takes you into one of the most pristine regions of the Upper Amazon Basin. This trip is a guide’s favorite, but it is rarely undertaken and few travelers have journeyed here.
Your journey to the river takes you 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, you soon bid farewell to all traces of civilization as you head into pristine jungle in search of wilderness, wildlife and wild water.
The first few days you tackle Class III-IV rapids. The rapids become less technical and more high-volume roller coaster as the river grows through the Amazon Basin foothills. As you 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 you time to explore jungle trails, before heading downriver past gold miners and to Puerto Maldonado for a night before catching your flights back to home. Alternatively, you can break this flight in Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incas from where you can visit Machu Picchu, the amazing “Lost City of the Incas” and the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Incas. Please inquire for options.
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 800 species of birds and 1,200 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.”
LOCAL OPERATOR: AMAZONAS EXPLORER
For more than three decades Amazonas Explorer has led high-quality trips and alternative adventures throughout South America. Based in Cusco, its professionally trained guides, cooks and support crew bring their passion and skills to the travelers they serve and, in turn, build rewarding careers for themselves. This talented staff of local experts is focused on providing you with safe and comfortable adventures, all centered on making your holiday as memorable as possible.
HOTEL / LODGE AMENITIES: Breakfast, Restaurant, WiFi
BOAT AMENITIES: You do not stay on a boat on this trip
CAMP AMENITIES: Single Tents, Double Tents, Sleeping pads/mattresses, Toilet Tent, Dining Tent, Dining Tables, Dining Chairs
ROOM AMENITIES: Twin Beds, Double Beds, Safebox, Hot Water, Shared Bathroom, Shower, Soap and Shampoo, Towels
ROOMING OPTIONS: Double, Single, Willing to Share, Single Supplement
Spacious 3 – 4 person tents are standard, but only sleep 2. Single tents are available. There is a dining tent and cook tent. All camping and cooking equipment including Therm-a-rests inflatable mattresses and camping stools, tables etc. Camping toilets and toilet tents are provided. On rafting trips, the river is generally used for washing, and clean water is supplied for drinking and teeth brushing.
The Tambopata Research Center is a comfortable lodge which was built with the object of lodging tourists and researchers alike, and of protecting the adjacent macaw clay lick. It’s a great place to relax after a week on the river.
PUERTO MALDONADO HOTEL
Wasai Maldonado Eco Lodge or similar
Local Tour Operator:
For more than 30 years Amazonas Explorer has used a different approach in leading high-quality trips and adventures in South America. While the company had its beginnings in adventure tourism, its success in building a strong team of knowledgeable guides has enhanced its ability to offer a range of innovative cultural tours. By raft, bike, foot, horse and even paddleboard, travelers are immersed in their surroundings to explore in unique ways the highlights of southern Peru, the company’s home turf. Every adventure with Amazonas Explorer is treated with impeccable care and top-notch services, all focused on the client’s comfort and safety.
The current owners, while originally from the United Kingdom, have lived and played in the Cusco region for more than 20 years. The itineraries they’ve crafted are based on places they love and activities they enjoy. Their obvious love for Peru shines through in the company’s efforts to maximize benefits to local economies and to promote responsible tourism across the country. Beginning in the home office, its professionally trained guides, cooks and support crew are well cared for as they build rewarding careers for themselves within the hierarchy of the company. With more than 20 office staff and a Peruvian team total of nearly 200, Amazonas Explorer prides itself on being a great place to work. On an Inca Trail hiking trip, for instance, it is likely you will have the support of porters who have been with the company more than 10 years. Amazonas has a porter protection policy in place and all employees enjoy the provisions of proper working conditions, fair wages, quality gear, and insurance.
Dedicated to sustainable tourism projects in alliance with local communities, Amazonas Explorer purchases local food and, when available, local equipment and gear. Its exceptional cultural experiences include engagement with local people and opportunities for travelers to purchase local crafts and weavings directly from their source. The largely paperless company takes significant steps to further reduce its carbon impact by minimizing its impact to the environment with small group sizes, smart transportation choices, recycling whatever it can, cooking with gas not kerosene or firewood and carefully disposing of all waste generated on trips. Above all, the entire crew of experts holds collective focus on safety and on providing memorable experiences that are equal to none. Amazonas Explorer is also a member of One Percent for the Planet, donating annually its time and money to reforestation efforts in Peru’s Lares Valley.
Amazonas Explorer staff are true professionals dedicated to making your trip an unforgettable experience. From your first contact with our office sales staff to your guide’s briefing, the driver who picks you up from your hotel to the porters who carry your camping equipment, the cooks that prepare your meals to the muleteers who load the mules, our aim is to make your stay with us as comfortable and as memorable as possible. We love what we do, we love where we live and above all we love to share our knowledge of and respect for all the beautiful places we are going to show you.
Efrain Valles – Trek guide and Tour Conductor
A graduate of Cusco’s Tupac Amaru University, Efrain’s knowledge of Peruvian history, culture and fauna together with his fluent English makes him one of our most popular trekking guides and tour conductors. His latest trip involved exploring the central highlands of Peru to set up a new trip for Christian Aid and he also leads all of our “Traidcraft- Meet the people tours”. His dream is to compete in the London Marathon.
Zacarias de Ugarte – Trek guide and Tour Conductor
Zacarias comes from a family of guides who were amongst the first to explore Peru and its potential as a travel destination. His ability to share his love of Peru, his wild sense of humour and deep love of all things Peruvian makes him one our most popular trek leaders and tour conductors. Several of the photos on this website were taken by “Zac” whilst leading trips for Amazonas Explorer.
Wilo Cardenas – Trek and Cultural tour guide
Wilo started out as a porter but decided to put himself through college where he met up with Efrain and Zacarias and then joined Amazonas Explorer as a trainee trek leader. Several years later, he leads his own treks, tours and has even been seen on a bike. His wicked sense of humour makes him great fun to be around but you might not want to believe everything he says!
Ruben Apaza – Trek and Cultural tour guide
“Chino” as he likes to be called once taught Peruvian history at uinversity but decided he preferred the great outdoors and joined Amazonas Explorer where he has excelled himself leading treks and tours throughout Peru. To travel with Ruben is like having your own friendly professor along to show you round.
Nilo Gamarra – Trek and Cultural tour guide
Nilo’s quiet confident manner with clients has made him a firm favourite to guide many of our cultural tours and treks. His knowledge of Machu Picchu, Cusco and surrounding ruins and his ability to share his love of all things Peruvian, make Nilo a very popular guide.
Alain Abril – Multi-Activity Guide
Alain has been studying tourism for so many years now, we are wondering if he’ll ever finish his course as for much of that time, he’s been delighting our clients, families and travellers with his amazing abilities as safety kayaker, head river guide, bike guide, family trip leader, charity trek leader and full on expedition leader. There are very few trips Alain hasn’t been on and if he doesn’t tire you out by day, his “Cusco by night” knowledge is truly impressive too.
Efrain Castro – Head River Guide
Efrain has been guiding the rivers of Peru and South America for over two decades and his unflappability on and off the river makes him a plus to have on any river journey. He also cooks a delicious camp meal and makes a mean Pisco Sour for the all important “Happy Hour” when on multi-day raft trips.
Jose Soldevila – Multi-Activity Guide
“Pepe Negro” has been guiding Rivers and Bike trips throughout Peru and Central America since early nineties and has been seen in a number of TV shows guiding celebrities such as Bruce Parry in his “Amazon” series in 2008 and the BBC wildlife unit’s “Wild and Dangerous” series in 1999. Fluent in English and German, Pepe loves to guide our Jungle rafting trips and is a skilled ornithologist as well as excellent camp cook and has enough stories up his sleeves to make even the rainiest day a truly memorable journey.
Juan Carlos Salazar – Mountain bike guide and Trek leader
I first met JC or “El chato” at the tender age of 16 in 1993 when I dragged him out of his brother’s bike shop to become our first bike mechanic. 15 years later, he’s gone to university and graduated in tourism, learnt English and travelled all over Peru with Amazonas Explorer. His infectious smile and competent manner with groups makes him always popular and he is still a legend on a bike, coming second in his category in the 2009 Mega Avalanche downhill race. He looks after all our bikes, cooks a delicious Spaghetti and can tell you all about the Incas too.
Simon Leishman – Mountain Bike Guide and Tour Conductor
Originally from Cornwall in the UK, Simon has been living in Cusco for over ten years. He is a highly experienced mountain leader and expert Mountain bike guide and leads many charity trips each year as well as running trips for Amazonas Explorer.
Javier Salazar – Bike Guide and Mechanic
Juan Carlos’s little brother works for us as a bike guide and mechanic and is studying English and tourism in his spare time. Amazing on a bike, he recently came first in a local Cusco downhill race despite breaking his collarbone crashing only a few months previously.
Gabriel Gygax – Bike and Tour guide
Gabriel studied tourism in Lima and did his internship with Amazonas Explorer. Since then, he has led bike trips, coordinated treks and school groups, and swum down most of the rivers chasing his kayak. He is at present helping to develop our “Green Policy” and recently joined us on our latest recce trip to cycle from Titicaca to Cusco.
Richard Pethigal – River Guide
Richard originally hails from California but has lived on the beach in Brazil and in Cusco for as long as we can all remember. When not taking our gear boat skilfully through the dangerous rapids of the Rio Apurimac, he can be found high above the Andes, flying customers in his tandem Paraglider.
Marcia Cardenas – Trainee Guide
Wilo’s little sister, Marcia joined us as a trainee trek guide a few years ago and now helps out on the Inca trail where possible. Her infectious smile and good nature has encouraged many an exhausted traveller to make it up Dead woman’s pass and as her English improves she will become regular and sure to be favourite amongst Amazonas Explorer groups in the years to come.
Aaron Zarate – River, Trek and Climbing guide
Aaron’s fluent English and competent river and mountain skills has led him to become first choice for many of our trips and he has been reported to have been able to talk the hind legs of a llama so there’s never a dull moment when Aaron is around!
John Leivers – Trek leader and TV Fixer
There’s hardly a country in the World that Australian John hasn’t travelled in, driven across or lead expeditions to but he now calls Peru his home. His in depth studies of the Incas and never ending fascination with all things Peruvian makes travelling with John like having your very own Peruvian encyclopaedia on board. John has helped “fix” several of our latest TV programs from Bruce Parry’s “Amazon” to the BBC’s Human Planet filming of the ritual battle called Chiaraje. His ability to micro-manage complex projects like this makes him an invaluable member of our team. When not working, John is always off exploring in search of Inca ruins, ancient trails and one day we are hoping he will write a book about it so we can find out where’s he’s been!
Other guides, logistics and Support staff
Besides the above mentioned, Amazonas Explorer support staff include cooks, porters, drivers, hotel transfer staff, horse wrangler, muleteers, tree planters and other specialist guides etc. In fact enough to provide at least 5 football teams at our annual get together and when added to wives and children, the extended Amazonas Explorer team has well over 200 of us all involved. We like to think of it as one huge family with the common shared aim of making sure your holiday to Peru is as memorable as possible. We love what we do and we hope you’ll enjoy the time you spend with us as much we will enjoy spending it with you.