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Top 10 Must-Do Activities in the Tambopata Jungle

Merin McDivitt
As Tambopata has risen as an Amazon travel destination, its travel offerings have exploded. These days, it can be overwhelming to choose between different activities — especially when you only have a few days to enjoy the area! Here, I've made some tough choices myself to give you 10 Tambopata activities that you really can't miss.1. Canopy Tower

top 10 must-do activities tambopata tours amazon jungle lodge

The rainforest is spectacular from all angles — viewed from the river, from cliff overlooks, and from trails, of course. But there's nothing quite like the vista from a Tambopata canopy tower! Reaching up over 100 feet (30 meters), canopy towers offer sweeping views of the treetops, all the view to the Tambopata National Reserve and the distant, rolling hills of the cloud forest. As if the splendid panorama wasn't enough, you'll also be able to spot wildlife like Toucans, Parrots, and Monkeys.

2. Venture into the Amazonian Night

top 10 must-do activities tambopata tours amazon jungle lodgePhoto by Merin McDivitt.

The Amazon Rainforest comes alive at night, when the jungle's shyest creatures come out. Even if you've walked the same path a dozen times during daytime, you'll see an entirely different host of critters once darkness falls! This makes a jungle night walk an essential Tambopata experience. Insect lovers in particular will enjoy this activity, where you can see everything from Tarantulas to Stick Bugs.

3. See Spectacular Macaws and Parrots at a "Clay Lick"

top 10 must-do activities tambopata tours amazon jungle lodgePhoto by Mike Ritters.

Tambopata has inspired wanderlust in countless travelers since the 1990s, when a National Geographic Magazine cover featured the region's Macaw Clay Licks. These dramatic river bluffs attract hundreds of colorful birds, especially Parrots and Macaws, who eat their nutrient-rich clay. Early risers head out with a guide to watch one of several Clay Licks. As the sun rises, more and more tropical birds flock to the cliffs, creating a brilliant natural spectacle that travelers will never forget.

4. Explore an Oxbow Lake Habitat

top 10 must-do activities tambopata tours amazon jungle lodgePhoto by Mario Corvetto.

Hundreds or thousands of years ago, sharp river bends dried up, turning parts of Amazon rivers into small lakes. Because of their curvy shape, locals call these Oxbow Lakes. They're an essential habitat to visit, with tranquil waters that hold unique wildlife and beauty. You can ply the calm waters in a small catamaran, look for waterbirds, Caiman, and Giant Otters, and even catch-and-release fish for Piranha

5. Connect with Rainforest Science

top 10 must-do activities tambopata tours amazon jungle lodge

Science lovers of all ages might be interested in more than just the beauty of the Amazon — as the most biodiverse place on the planet, there's nowhere better to engage in scientific discovery. Several activities through the Wired Amazon Citizen Science project connect you with real-time scientific research in Tambopata. You can "fly" through the treetops with Amazon Aerobotany, find new insects with the Discover a New Species activity, or spy on shy mammals with the AmazonCam.

6. Watch an Amazon Sunset

top 10 must-do activities tambopata tours amazon jungle lodgePhoto by Merin McDivitt.

Everyone who visits Tambopata will enjoy boat rides along the river — most lodges are only accessible this way! Boat rides afford travelers lovely views, water wildlife, and a much-needed breeze to break the jungle's heat. Taking time for a Sunset Cruise is best of all, combining the relaxation of a canoe ride with one-of-a-kind rainforest views. The wide, peaceful Tambopata River is illuminated with captivating blues and pinks as the jungle sky lights up with color. A rainforest sunset is one of the most memorable, romantic experiences of any trip.

7. Encounter Indigenous Culture

top 10 must-do activities tambopata tours amazon jungle lodgePhoto by Alden Wicker.

While many think of the Amazon Rainforest as untouched nature, indigenous groups have lived throughout the jungle for thousands of years. Today, native peoples like the Ese Eja serve as stewards of their rainforest home. No visit to Tambopata would be complete without connecting deeply with Amazonian culture and tradition

8. Marvel at the Jungle's Tallest Trees

top 10 must-do activities tambopata tours amazon jungle lodgePhoto by Merin McDivitt.

The Amazon is home to some of the world's largest tree species, and Tambopata is no exception. You can walk through Terra Firme forest with a guide to gawk at giant Ceiba and Ironwood trees — just as impressive as any redwood in Muir Woods. While you're at it, you can learn about sustainable agriculture: locals collect nuts from the giant Brazil Nut Tree in the Amazon's only sustainable harvest.

9. Embark on an Active Adventure

top 10 must-do activities tambopata tours amazon jungle lodge

Tambopata also offers a variety of "Soft Adventure" activities for active travelers. Many of these activities center around the stunning river, and standouts include kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. On land, Mountain bikers can take advantage of extensive trails leading to an Amazon overlook — a ride with a view.

10. Learn about Amazon Healing

top 10 must-do activities tambopata tours amazon jungle lodge

Finally, you should explore a different, but equally fascinating aspect of jungle biodiversity: medicinal plantsMany of these gardens, which are home to plants like Ayahuasca and Uña de Gato, are cultivated by indigenous communities, and still serve as a source of healing and medicine. By visiting a medicinal plant garden — sometimes they're called ethnobotanical gardens — or a shamanic clinic, you'll gain insight into both Amazon nature and culture. 

 

We hope you've enjoyed our guide to Tambopata's top activities — believe me, it was hard to choose! Keep in mind that any of these activities will feature fantastic wildlife sightings and, if you're with an experienced guide, almost any activity can teach you a great deal about rainforest ecology, preservation, and ways of life. All 10, though, will give you the Amazon trip of a lifetime! To learn more, chat with our experts about Amazon travel options.

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