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Heath River Amazon Experience

From the Puerto Maldonado airport we transfer to the Tambopata River boat dock where we begin our exciting river journey on the mighty Madre de Dios River. On the river we spot an array of birdlife endemic to this region as well as families of Capybaras (the world's largest rodent). As we approach our destination - the Heath River Wildlife Centre - we enjoy views of local villages with children splashing by the banks. During our time at the lodge we visit the parrot and macaw lick, a noisy and unforgettable experience as hundreds of birds jostle over the best eating spots on the clay lick. The extensive network of trails within the grounds provide ample opportunity to view brazil-nut, kapok and fig trees among many others, and a guided tour will provide narrative about the many medicinal and commercial uses of much of the vegetation. At night the rainforest comes alive with an ever-changing orchestra of monkeys, frogs, insects and a teeming array of other nightlife. You can even choose to camp out overnight to experience a full night in the heart of the rainforest. We take to the water again for a boat journey to Lake Sandoval Lodge, where we can spot the Amazonian giant otter, macaws and Lake Sandoval monkeys. We take a nighttime can trip to spot the Amazonian cousin of the alligator, the black caiman, which although endangered can be commonly seen in this pristine protected lake.

Inclusions

4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
Expert naturalist guides
Comfortable lodge accommodation
Private transportation
Activities at jungle lodge
Riverboat transfers
Park entrance fees
Hightlights
Spot birdlife including horned screamers, raptors, plovers, terns, macaws, parrots, kingfishers and toucans
Embark on jungle walks searching for monkeys and capybaras
Journey on the mighty Madre de Dios River
Experience the Amazon jungle and it's incomparable rain forest
Savour the peace at Lake Sandoval Lake Lodge
Tour Provider World Expeditions
Number of Days
5
Price From
AUD $1,920
Start Location
Puerto Maldonado, Peru
End Location
Peru
Age Range
Avg. 30+
Group Size
2 to 6
Tour Style
Standard
Tour Themes
Adventure, Slow paced
Physical Rating
Easy to Moderate
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
15 Jul 201919 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
18 Jul 201922 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
22 Jul 201926 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
25 Jul 201929 Jul 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
29 Jul 201902 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
01 Aug 201905 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
05 Aug 201909 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
08 Aug 201912 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
12 Aug 201916 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
15 Aug 201919 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
19 Aug 201923 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
22 Aug 201926 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
26 Aug 201930 Aug 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
29 Aug 201902 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
02 Sep 201906 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
05 Sep 201909 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
09 Sep 201913 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
12 Sep 201916 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
16 Sep 201920 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
19 Sep 201923 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
23 Sep 201927 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
26 Sep 201930 Sep 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
30 Sep 201904 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
03 Oct 201907 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
07 Oct 201911 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
10 Oct 201914 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
14 Oct 201918 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
17 Oct 201921 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
21 Oct 201925 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
24 Oct 201928 Oct 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
28 Oct 201901 Nov 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
31 Oct 201904 Nov 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
04 Nov 201908 Nov 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
07 Nov 201911 Nov 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
11 Nov 201915 Nov 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
14 Nov 201918 Nov 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
18 Nov 201922 Nov 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
21 Nov 201925 Nov 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
25 Nov 201929 Nov 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
28 Nov 201902 Dec 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
02 Dec 201906 Dec 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
05 Dec 201909 Dec 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
09 Dec 201913 Dec 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
12 Dec 201916 Dec 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
16 Dec 201920 Dec 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
19 Dec 201923 Dec 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
23 Dec 201927 Dec 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
26 Dec 201930 Dec 2019AvailableAUD $1,920
30 Dec 201903 Jan 2020AvailableAUD $1,920
06 Jan 202010 Jan 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
09 Jan 202013 Jan 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
13 Jan 202017 Jan 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
16 Jan 202020 Jan 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
20 Jan 202024 Jan 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
23 Jan 202027 Jan 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
27 Jan 202031 Jan 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
30 Jan 202003 Feb 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
03 Feb 202007 Feb 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
06 Feb 202010 Feb 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
10 Feb 202014 Feb 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
13 Feb 202017 Feb 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
17 Feb 202021 Feb 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
20 Feb 202024 Feb 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
24 Feb 202028 Feb 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
27 Feb 202002 Mar 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
02 Mar 202006 Mar 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
05 Mar 202009 Mar 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
09 Mar 202013 Mar 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
12 Mar 202016 Mar 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
16 Mar 202020 Mar 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
19 Mar 202023 Mar 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
23 Mar 202027 Mar 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
26 Mar 202030 Mar 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
30 Mar 202003 Apr 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
02 Apr 202006 Apr 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
06 Apr 202010 Apr 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
09 Apr 202013 Apr 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
13 Apr 202017 Apr 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
16 Apr 202020 Apr 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
20 Apr 202024 Apr 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
23 Apr 202027 Apr 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
27 Apr 202001 May 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
30 Apr 202004 May 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
04 May 202008 May 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
07 May 202011 May 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
11 May 202015 May 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
14 May 202018 May 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
18 May 202022 May 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
21 May 202025 May 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
25 May 202029 May 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
28 May 202001 Jun 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
01 Jun 202005 Jun 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
04 Jun 202008 Jun 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
08 Jun 202012 Jun 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
11 Jun 202015 Jun 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
15 Jun 202019 Jun 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
18 Jun 202022 Jun 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
22 Jun 202026 Jun 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
25 Jun 202029 Jun 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
29 Jun 202003 Jul 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
02 Jul 202006 Jul 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
06 Jul 202010 Jul 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
09 Jul 202013 Jul 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
13 Jul 202017 Jul 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
16 Jul 202020 Jul 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
20 Jul 202024 Jul 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
23 Jul 202027 Jul 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
27 Jul 202031 Jul 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
30 Jul 202003 Aug 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
03 Aug 202007 Aug 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
06 Aug 202010 Aug 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
10 Aug 202014 Aug 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
13 Aug 202017 Aug 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
17 Aug 202021 Aug 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
20 Aug 202024 Aug 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
24 Aug 202028 Aug 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
27 Aug 202031 Aug 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
31 Aug 202004 Sep 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
03 Sep 202007 Sep 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
07 Sep 202011 Sep 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
10 Sep 202014 Sep 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
14 Sep 202018 Sep 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
17 Sep 202021 Sep 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
21 Sep 202025 Sep 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
24 Sep 202028 Sep 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
28 Sep 202002 Oct 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
01 Oct 202005 Oct 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
05 Oct 202009 Oct 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
08 Oct 202012 Oct 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
12 Oct 202016 Oct 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
15 Oct 202019 Oct 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
19 Oct 202023 Oct 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
22 Oct 202026 Oct 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
26 Oct 202030 Oct 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
29 Oct 202002 Nov 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
02 Nov 202006 Nov 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
05 Nov 202009 Nov 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
09 Nov 202013 Nov 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
12 Nov 202016 Nov 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
16 Nov 202020 Nov 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
19 Nov 202023 Nov 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
23 Nov 202027 Nov 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
26 Nov 202030 Nov 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
30 Nov 202004 Dec 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
03 Dec 202007 Dec 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
07 Dec 202011 Dec 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
10 Dec 202014 Dec 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
14 Dec 202018 Dec 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
17 Dec 202021 Dec 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
21 Dec 202025 Dec 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
24 Dec 202028 Dec 2020AvailableAUD $1,980
28 Dec 202001 Jan 2021AvailableAUD $1,980
31 Dec 202004 Jan 2021AvailableAUD $1,980
ItineraryExpand
Day 1
Join in the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado, a jungle frontier town east of Cusco. Our staff welcome you at Puerto Maldonado airport and we drive through this bustling Upper Amazon Basin city to the Tambopata River boat dock. Here we board a powerful motorized dugout can and set off to the nearby confluence of the mighty Madre de Dios River, where we head downstream for approximately three hours to the Peru-Bolivia border at the mouth of the remote Heath River. Even beneath the vast sky of this major Amazon tributary we glimpse the diversity of the riverine environment, with its forest-capped red-earth cliffs, alternating with low banks thick with Cecropia trees and giant grasses. Now, after brief frontier-crossing formalities, we motor for about two more hours up narrower and wilder waters, suddenly enjoying the intimacy of mysterious forest looming close on either side. Occasional views of native villages and children splashing by the banks, are interspersed with long, quiet stretches where we may spot herons, hawks, cormorants, Orinoco Geese, and perhaps a family of Capybaras -- the world¹s largest rodent, weighing up to 55kg./120lb, and looking like an enormous Guinea Pig. We reach our simple, charming and comfortable quarters at the Heath River Wildlife Center in time for dinner. (Please note that the lodge is located on the Bolivian shore of the Heath River, so passports are required to clear Bolivian passport control.)
Day 2
Today we make an early start to visit the lodge's most spectacular feature: the Heath River parrot and macaw lick. Here these colorful birds gather to eat a type of clay from the cliff-like river banks that neutralizes certain toxins in their diet. They congregate early each morning, sometimes by the hundreds, jostling and squabbling over the best eating spots on the clay lick. This noisy and unforgettable show can go on for two or three hours, and may begin with up to five species of parrot and two varieties of parakeet, followed by Chestnut-fronted Macaws and their larger, more boisterous cousins, the Red-and-green Macaws. This extraordinary wildlife display occurs at only a handful of sites in the Upper Amazon Basin, and nowhere else on the planet. Our floating hide platform provides comfort and complete concealment, so that we can eat a full breakfast here during pauses in the bankside spectacle. On our return we can land partway downriver and walk back along a section of the lodge's extensive network of forest trails. We encounter numerous gigantic Brazil-nut, kapok and fig trees, along with the scary strangler fig, whose life strategy is as sinister as its name suggests. Our guide will point out and explain the medicinal and commercial uses of dozens of plants and trees, while we keep our eyes and ears open for birds, or one of the eight species of monkeys found in this region. We might come upon a small herd of White-lipped or Collared peccary ­ two kinds of wild pig that are quite common in this area. For purposes of territorial marking they deploy a "stink gland" so potent that they are often smelled long before they are seen. After lunch we typically hike along a major trail to a point where the forest abruptly gives way to the spacious plains of the Pampas del Heath, part of Bolivia's Madidi National Park. This unique environment -- the result of very poor soils, plus an extreme seasonal cycle of dryness and flooding -- is the largest remaining undisturbed tropical savannah in the Amazon, and is home to rare endemic birds and mammals, such as the Swallow-tailed Hummingbird and the highly endangered Maned Wolf. Shortly beyond the edge of the forest we can climb a raised platform that allows us a grand view of this vast expanse of grassland and shrub, studded with palm trees. We can continue another hour or so to a swampy area thick with Mauritia flexuosa palm trees, whose oil-rich palm nuts and hollowed-out dead palms provide vitally important food and shelter for nesting pairs of Red-bellied and increasingly rare Blue-and-yellow macaws. We aim to arrive toward dusk, when the macaws are returning from their day's foraging to congregate in this very special breeding site. We return to the lodge by night, using our flashlights, and perhaps pausing here and there in total darkness, to listen to the ever-changing orchestra of animals, frogs and insects, and to experience the magic of the night-time rainforest. We may come upon such bizarre nocturnal creatures as camouflaged frogs disguised as dead leaves, toads the size of rabbits, hairy tarantulas peering out of their dirt holes, night monkeys lurking among the tree branches, and an unpredictable array of other nightlife. After dinner some guests may choose to visit one of our mammal lick hides, in hopes of seeing a Lowland Tapir, the rainforest's largest mammal. Hardy adventurers can choose to camp here with their guide, in order to experience a full night in the heart of the rainforest and increase their chances of a major wildlife sighting.
Day 3
Our second full day at the lodge allows us to choose from a wide range of activities available in this exceptionally diverse tropical environment. Many people choose to make a second visit to the macaw clay lick. Later we can take a can tour around Cocha Moa, an oxbow lake that lies a short way downstream from the lodge. The reeds, fallen trees and forested shoreline of this lake teem with birds and other wildlife. Red Howler Monkeys may peer at us through the branches of the giant trees above us, while herons lie in wait among the fallen trees, cormorant-like Anhingas watch from the forest branches, and an Osprey may circle overhead. Flocks of brilliant Red-capped Cardinals gather on dead branches, and a colorful, primitive bird, the Hoatzin, hops its ungainly way along the swampy water's edge. After dinner we can board our can once more, for an evening of spotting for caiman, the Amazonian cousin of the alligator. This region is home to the endangered black caiman, and we nearly always pick out a few with our powerful spotlight as we patrol the river.
Day 4
We leave at dawn for the return trip downstream. This is peak hour for wildlife so we keep a sharp eye on the riverbanks, often spotting families of Capybara, and perhaps being rewarded with a rare jaguar sighting, or a tapir swimming across the current. We reach the Madre de Dios River, re-enter Peru, and set off upstream for the boat landing near Lake Sandoval Lake Lodge. We walk the 3km/2 mile trail to the narrow boat channel through flooded palm forest that leads to the open waters of this peaceful lake, stopping as we go to spot birds and butterflies. As our crew paddle us across to the lodge (motors are prohibited here), we may see the lake's surface broken by a massive Paiche ­an Amazon fish that can reach 100kg/220lbs. Or perhaps we will hear the strange and haunting calls, and see the heads bobbing above the lake's surface, that will signal our first acquaintance with Pteronura brasiliensis, the Amazonian Giant Otter. After lunch at the lodge and a brief rest to avoid the early afternoon heat, we once again set off by boat or catamaran to explore the entire west end of the lake. Here, in the flooded palm forest we drift to the sounds of hundreds of Red-Bellied and Blue-and-yellow Macaws as they return to the palm forest for the night. Our viewpoint from the can often allows closer and more extended encounters with birds and mammals than on a typical forest trail hike, and we may witness intimate feeding and mating behavior. On Lake Sandoval monkeys, in particular, have almost lost their fear of humans. We return to the lodge around nightfall for dinner. After dinner we take to the boats once more, in search of black caimans, which today are extremely rare in the Amazon, but still common in this protected lake. They grow up to 4m in length, and compete with the Giant Otters for their share of the fishing. On clear nights we take our boat further out into the lake to get an unimpeded view of the vast southern sky, with its unfamiliar constellations and superb vistas of the Milky Way.
Day 5
After a dawn breakfast we take a final, short paddle along the palm swamps of the west end of the lake in search of the resident Giant Otter family. From here, on clear mornings, we will see a glorious sunrise and its reflection in the open waters of the lake. Returning once more down the trail to the Madre de Dios River, we return to Puerto Maldonado to catch the flight to Cusco or Lima. Please don't book flights out of Puerto Maldonado before 10.30am.