5 day/4 night nature tour
If you have any questions about the tour please don't hesitate to get in touch. Tours can be easily customized to fit your every need!
One of our experienced English-speaking naturalist guides will pick you up on arrival at the airport or bus station in Puerto Maldonado and transfer you to the ARCC office. Here you can leave any luggage not required for your trip in our safe deposit (a lighter boat with mean lower carbon emissions too) and you’ll have time to freshen up before the journey by road (100 km, 2 hrs.) and river (45 km, TA hrs.) to ARCC begins.
Journey to ARCC
We will drive from Puerto Maldonado to the Lucerna Port on the banks of the Las Piedras River, firstly via the Interoceanic Highway through villages with names such as “Happiness” and “Beautiful Horizon” and then along a shady secondary road that winds (bumpily) through thick stands of giant Brazil-nut trees. We will stop off at a couple of places along the way to stretch our legs, admire the view, and gawp at an impressively large tree or two.
River trip: Once on our boat, with lifejackets on, and box lunch, binoculars and cameras at the ready, we will head upriver past waterfalls, logjams, sandy beaches, and red-clay cliffs, with good chances of spotting capybara, caiman (a type of alligator), turtles, and multiple bird species, before reaching the ARCC at the heart of the 25,000 acre Las Piedras Wildlife Reserve.
Box lunch on the boat
Arrival at lodge: On arrival we will take the short path from the river to the ARCC reception area where we’ll be met by the manager, other staff members, and a refreshing tropical fruit drink two. We’ll receive a quick briefing to help orientate ourselves before being shown to our room, each of which has a suite bathroom with hot water, air condition system and a view of the tropical garden, the Soledad Lake and the jungle beyond.
After we’ve settled and we will meet on the stairs to the dining room and then go on a late afternoon along one of the forest trails that borders the Soledad Lake to take in the wildlife and the tropical scenery.
It is at this time that flock of birds, from parrot to hoatzins, ca be seen returning to the roots, and when the resident family of giant otters frequently ventures out into the center of the lake for a final meal of fish before heading for their then for the night.
Evening: after dinner we will move the bar and relaxing area and our guide will explain some of the important research and conservation activities ongoing in the reserve, as well as ARCCs work with the native and mestizo communities. After this, and before its time to turn in for the night, don’t forget to plug in and recharge your camera s batteries near the bar.
Night at ARCC
Lake Ecology: After breakfast we will board the catamaran or paddle for a 2-hour excursion around the lake to visit several keys location from where it will be possible to observe the features, the plants and the animals that make this U-shaped water – body so productive and such a magnet for wildlife. We will not able to visit all corners of the lake, as a full quarter or it is off limit of tourists, at it is set aside for the sole use of Giant Otters and other wildlife. Only very occasionally do research access this area after dark to make a count species in the lake, and activity does not affect the otters.
Having returned from the relaxing lake trip it will be time for some exertion. We will make sure we have insect repellent on and full water bottle at hand, because we will be joining our guide on a circular around a trail that does a short 2 – km. loop through the nearby forest. Our aim is to spot some of the nine species of monkeys, identify the birds whole characteristic call make up the general background sound of the forest, and with further help from our guide we will begin to understand the value to wildlife of the palm species found here, don’t be surprised by our guide taking notes and GPS reading when encountering certain species, it is all part of broad effort to understand their ecology.
Monkeys Amphibians and Reptiles: in the late afternoon around 4 pm. After we have let our lunch go down, we will go out and learn firsthand about of some of the wildlife research being undertaken at ARCC. We will be able to see how amphibians and reptiles are sampled, and how monkeys group are followed thought the forest, as well the resident researchers try and understand undelaying species diversity levels and the home range pattern of different species.
The Lake at Night With this optional, 1-hr nocturnal excursion on the lake (with our guide armed with a powerful flashlight) we will be able to observe at closer range the second top predator of the lake, the Black caiman. These South American alligators, a pair of which reach 4 meters in length on this lake, but can grow larger still, are to be found patrolling in the middle of the lake or feasting on fish near the bank. With the help of the light beam, reflected eye-shine, and our ears, we will also be able to observe, hear, and learn about nightjars, owls, fishing bats, and other creatures of the night.
Night at ARCC
Early Breakfast (5 am)
Macaw clay-lick: After an early and fast breakfast we will head back to our boat for one our down river to the Loreto clay-lick. Having climbed the bank and into a purpose built hide, we will await the arrival of numerous species of macaws, parrots, pigeons, guans, and even an occasional family of spider monkeys, who consume the salt-rich clay at this pot to help balance their salt-poor diets. The views from the clay-lick over the forest are also spectacular. lf for any reason the weather conditions are unfavorable for this activity, then it will be moved to the following morning. On returning to the lodge, we will be free to either take a short guided excursion on the lake once again, or take the time to relax and talk with the researchers and volunteers based at ARCC.
Streambed hike: With rubber boots on (supplied by ARCC) and walking sticks in hand, our destination is a black-water stream (jokingly called Mammoth by researchers) that drains into the Las Piedras River and which forms the western boundary of the Reserve.
We will reach it by travelling ten minutes upstream in the boat. After walking along a forest trail for a couple hundred meters we will move onto the banks of the sandy-bottomed stream. We will slowly walk up this stream for a period of one or two hours, peering into deep pools and shining light into dark crevices and hollow trunks in search of aquatic and streamside wildlife, admiring small waterfalls, and logging the footprints that give away the continued presence of endangered species such as jaguar, giant armadillo, and tapir.
There is a deep swimming hole that we can use, so bring a swimming costume if you want to take a cool refreshing dip in the waters. We will return to the boat the same way us carne.
Night walk: After our dinner has gone down, we will go on an enthralling night walk in search of night monkeys, frogs, leaf-like katydids, cute-looking big-eared mouse opossums, whip scorpions, and other assorted creatures than only venture out after dark. Ensure your camera batteries are fully charged for this, as much flash photography is expected.
Night at ARCC
Anaconda lake visit: Having walked around the perimeter trail of the lake, we will head off on the trail to Anaconda Lake – a dry lake dominated by low lying vegetation, grass and palms. It’s a good place to
Spot birds, anacondas and other snakes. Look out for toucans and flocks of parrots and sallying flycatchers, not to mention thousands of dragonflies as they hawk their insect prey as the sun goes down. We will return the way we carne in time for dinner (or potentially vie a shortcut to the river where the boat will be waiting).
Treetops: In the late afternoon we will don hard hats, harness, and gloves, and receive a safety briefing from ARCC staff, before slowly ascending a ladder, hand-over-hand (but with safety rope attached), to reach a 35m-high platform built in the branches of a majestic Dietary Ironwood tree that has been growing beside the lake for at least a couple hundred years. The views over the lake are breathtaking, and from this high perch it is possible to see multi-colored tanagers in mixed species flocks, and occasionally look down on the family of giant otters as they hunt for fish or lie sunning themselves on a log in the lake. Having watched the sunset, and before darkness falls we’ll descend and make our way ■ back to the lodge in time for dinner.
Stargazing: Weather permitting, we can take the catamaran out for one last nocturnal excursion, this time to gaze skywards at the stars. Due to no light pollution problems, as is common near towns and cities, we will be able to see the Milky Way in all its splendor. This is a good opportunity for taking those time-lapse photos of the night sky!
Night at ARCC
Early Breakfast (5 am)
Transfer to Puerto Maldonado airport:
We will board the boat for the last time and retrace our journey back to Puerto Maldonado, via the Lucerna Port where a bus will be waiting for us. Having picked up any left luggage at the office, we will be transferred to the airport in time to catch our return flight to Lima or Cuzco. An early departure from ARCC (pre-dawn) may be required depending on our flight schedule.