As part of the Wasai Tambopata Lodge package, we were assigned a tour guide, Carlos, to show us around the Peruvian rainforest.
Madre de Dios in Puerto Maldonado – Photo by Andy Crampton
With many excursions and activities scheduled during our stay, we kept busy and rarely had time to relax in the comfy hammocks.
*If you do not like spiders or pictures of spiders, skip this section!
Our first guided activity was a night walk to spot insects, spiders, and night life in the forest. Fortunately, there were only four people total in our group, including Carlos. As we walked through the rainforest quietly, Carlos used his flashlight to look for bugs and critters. He did an excellent job spotting them. Fortunately, no one in our group was afraid of bugs, so we were able to get up close while trying to photograph them.
A Goliath birdeater spider, part of the tarantula species, was spotted, so we spent time trying to get it out of its hole by using strong sticks. I tried a few times and was impressed by the tarantula’s strength.
Goliath birdeater spider
The walk lasted about an hour and a half. We headed back to the lodge for dinner. With a gorgeous view of the night sky, we took our time walking back to our rooms for the night before getting rest for our next day of touring the Amazon rainforest.
Clay Lick – In Search of Macaws
Next on the schedule was an early morning tour (around 5:30 am) to see macaws. We road boats upstream to El Gato, where we tied the boats to the shore and headed to a walking path to the clay licks. Clay licks contain tons of minerals macaws and butterflies need. We waited for the macaws from a lookout behind a blind, so we would not disturb or spook them away.
On Macaw Lookout
Since it was overcast, it took the macaws longer to leave the canopy to the clay licks. We ended up waiting roughly an hour and a half before deciding to head back to the boat. Fortunately, binoculars and camera lenses allowed me to get glimpses of the colorful bird.
On our way back, Carlos noticed a smell, which belonged to snorting peccary. Carlos decided to lead us towards them. As we walked closer, I kept an eye out for what trees to climb up in case they started to charge at us. I saw roughly 10, but Carlos said there were probably roughly 40 in total. He told us to wait as he approached them slowly. Then, he turned around and started running towards us with his eyes wide open causing us to start running until we were far away.
As we got back to the boat to head back to the lodge, we saw various species of monkeys but mainly tamarins high in the trees. El Gato supplied us with starfruit and oranges we picked off the trees. We were then shuttled back to the lodge for breakfast.
Saddle-Backed Tamarin – Photo by Andy Crampton
After breakfast, we had an hour or two before meeting back with Carlos for the day walk through the same paths we walked the night before. I took this time to lounge in the hammock on the porch of our bungalow.
Nap Time- Photo by Andy Crampton
The tree roots showed on the outside, which I had never seen before. The rainforest floor was gorgeous with its earthy colors. A group of squirrel monkeys played in the canopy and knew we were watching them. They were loud as they jumped around the trees while eating fruit and dropping the leftovers down on us. After about 30 minutes of watching and tracking them, we headed back to the lodge for lunch.
Base of a Jungle Giant- Photo by Andy Crampton
After lunch, I met the local macaw, which was nursed at the lodge after a broken wing. Pepa would come and go as she pleased but still interacted with the guests. She really loved Andy and disliked me. After meeting Pepa, we headed to a different path of the forest. It was time for the ropes course. Chad started fishing with the collapsible pole he brought with him.
Andy has a new girlfriend!
The rope course was about 50 meters long across a little pond. After putting on our harnesses and gear, I climbed the tree with ladders then crossed the water on a bridge. The bridge had ropes to hang onto on the sides and boards to walk on, which was extremely fun. Carlos allowed us to do the course twice each. Chad even took a break from fishing and did the course once. At the end of the course was a zipline, which was the best part.
Ropes Course – Photo by Andy Crampton
Andy on the course.
Ziplining – Photo by Andy Crampton
Chad caught two fish and was able to keep them to give to the kitchen. The cooks prepared the fish for us for dinner, which was a unique experience that shows how much they catered to our requests. Carlos did not know the English translation for the fish, but he continued to call it a wasaco.
At the main lodge, there is an open loft area with a hammock. Since it was a long day, I decided to go up there and relax. The lodge runs a generator at night, where we were able to charge our camera batteries and other devices. Tonight was an early night since we had another excursion in the morning.
Fishing in the Amazon
Wasai Lodge accommodated our request to go fishing. After breakfast, I went to the loft to take pictures of the crested oropendola or weaver bird making its hanging nest before our fishing adventure. We got into a small boat, which was barely sitting above the water. Andy, Chad, Carlos, the driver, and me all boarded and set out for a day of fishing in the Peruvian rainforest.
We went down the Rio de Tambopata to a side creek, close to El Gato. We had to stop a few times and get out, and the guys would push the boat through the shallow areas. I then saw a king fisher, along with macaws and other birds flying around. Since Chad had his “fancy” pole, he was able to start right away. Carlos brought some of the lodge’s fishing rods–tree branches with a line tied to it–for the rest of us. The boat driver caught a piranha and put it in the bait bag.
Look at those teeth!
During our attempts to find a good fishing hole, we saw a few black caimans. I almost caught a fish but did not pull the line fast enough. Chad caught a small catfish, which was also used for bait to try to catch larger fish. The river was very carnivorous and the bait did not last long with the fish nibbling around the hooks.
After about three hours, we headed back before the water levels dropped. On the way back, the shallow areas were completely exposed. The boat got stuck on a log, so we all had to get out. They used all the man power to get the boat unstuck. After removing the motor, the guys worked the boat over the log and finally freed it to continue. They were barefoot in piranha water.
Carlos and Andy
We finally made if back to the lodge and had a late lunch.
Walking through the Rainforest
After lunch, we wanted to explore the trails. Carlos did not want to let us walk around unsupervised, but we convinced him we would be fine after canceling the kayaking part of our tour package since it was unseasonably cold. Chad to fish near the ropes course, so that is where we headed. During our walk, we went slow to try not to scare the wildlife. Five minutes or more into the walk, we realized Carlos was following us. This is when we saw army ants. Carlos picked up one of the soldier ants and let it bite him. It was amazing to see how much it attached itself to Carlos’ skin.
Wasai Lodge Trails- Photo by Andy Crampton
Chad set up to fish again while Andy and I took pictures of squirrel monkeys. Carlos was interested by Chad’s fishing pole. We got back just in time to meet the night boat ride down the river to spot caimens. Caimens are about 4 feet on average.
Chad and Carlos fishing for dinner.
After the night cruise, we blended a starfruit and made cocktails with it, which was delicious. We drank our cocktails during dinner. With tripods in tow, we took pictures of the starry night sky. What a perfect end to our time at the lodge! We were fed breakfast in the morning before our long boat ride back to Puerto Maldonado.
Starry Night Sky
I would go back in a heartbeat! For a review of the lodge itself, check out my Wasai Lodge – Tambopata post.
Is there a place that exceeded your expectations?
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More in this series:
- Peru – Cuzco
- From Cuzco to Aguas Calientes – The Gateway to Machu Picchu
- Machu Picchu
- Wasai Lodge – Tambopata
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