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Manu Macaw Lick Getaway in the Amazon

Itinerary for Manu Macaw Lick Getaway in the Amazon

Sample Itinerary: 6-day program - subject to changes

Day 1: Puerto Maldonado to Heath River Wildlife Center
Our staff will welcome you at the airport in Puerto Maldonado and drive you through the city to the boat dock on the Tambopata River. Here we board a motorized canoe and head towards the nearby confluence of the mighty Madre de Dios River to the mouth of the Heath River, which is the natural border of Peru and Bolivia. In the haven of this important Amazonian tributary we have a vision of the diversity of the riverside environment; cliffs of red earth with outreaching forest are interspersed with thick banks of Cercopia trees and couch grass. After brief formalities at border crossings, we take the boat through the narrow waters for a couple of hours, enjoying the intimacy of the mysterious forest on both sides. Occasional sightings of native children splashing along the banks are interspersed with long, silent stretches where we can locate herons, hawks, cormorants, geese, orinoco, and perhaps a family of Capybaras, which is the world's largest rodent can weigh up to 55Kg. After this interesting trip we arrive at our simple, but comfortable accommodation of the Heath River Wildlife Center, just in time for dinner.
Meals included: Boxed Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Heath River Wildlife Center

Day 2: Heath River Wildlife Center
Today we start very early to visit the most spectacular attraction of this area: the parrot and macaw clay lick along the river. Here these colorful birds gather to eat the clay in the cliffs on the riverbanks to neutralize certain toxins in their daily diet (poisonous berries and hallucinogenic plants). Sometimes they congregate in the hundreds, pushing and squabbling over the best place to eat. This noisy and unforgettable show can go on for two or three hours, and can gather many varieties of parrots, parakeets, Chestnut Fronted Macaws and their larger cousins, the Red and Green Macaw. This extraordinary display occurs in only a handful of places in the Upper Amazon Basin. Our floating platform provides us with comfort and is completely hidden, so here we will enjoy a full breakfast during the show.
We make land back down the river will walk back along a section of the extensive jungle trails. Here we will find huge Chestnut, Kapok and fig trees; along with the dark strangler fig whose strategy of life is as sinister as its name implies. Our guide will point out and explain the medicinal use and trade of dozens of plants and trees, while keeping eyes and ears open for birds or one of the eight species of monkeys found in this region. We could run into a small herd of the two species of wild pigs that are common in this area. In order to mark their territory they use scent glands so powerful that they can be smelt long before being seen.
After lunch we hike along the trail leading to the point where the forest abruptly gives way to the vast plains of the Pampas of Heath. This unique land is a result of poor soil and extreme climatic cycles of droughts and floods. It is the largest intact tropical savanna in the Amazon is the habitat of endemic birds and mammals, such as the Fork-Tailed Hummingbird and the Maned Wolf. Just beyond the edge of the forest you can climb to an elevated platform that allows for a great view of this vast expanse of grasslands and shrubs, dotted with palm trees.
The palm tree Mauritia flexuosa produces nuts rich in palm oil and dry hollow stems that provide vital food and shelter for nesting pairs of Red Bellied Macaws and the rare Blue and Yellow Macaws. We aim to arrive around sunset, when the parrots are returning from their daily search for food to gather in this place.
We return to the lodge at night using headlamps and flashlights, and perhaps stopping here and there in total darkness to listen to the ever-changing sounds of frogs, insects, and other animals; the magic of the jungle at night. We may run into frogs the size of small rabbits, homes of hairy tarantulas or night monkeys hanging from the trees; there is a huge and unpredictable collection of nocturnal creatures in the night. After dinner some guests may choose to visit the lick of mammals, with the hope of seeing the Lowland Tapir, the largest mammal in the jungle.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Heath River Wildlife Center

Day 3: Heath River Wildlife Center
On our second full day in at the lodge we can choose from a wide range of activities available in this diverse and unique tropical environment. Many people choose to make a second visit to the macaw clay lick or spend more time on the trails.
Later we can take a canoe tour around the Cocha Guacamayo, an oxbow lake that is home of a family of giant otters. The lake is located inside the Bahuaja Sonene National Park, a short distance by boat from the lodge.
We return by boat after dusk looking for caimans; a crocodile cousin that lives in the Amazon. This region is home to the Black Caiman, which is endangered, and almost always distinguishable along the river’s edge with its glowing orange eyes.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Heath River Wildlife Center

Day 4: Heath River Wildlife Center to Sandoval Lake Lodge
We leave at dawn for the return journey downstream. The mornings are the peak of wildlife activity, so keep a sharp eye on the banks of the river where we may see families of Capybaras and maybe be rewarded with a rare glimpse of Jaguar or Tapir swimming through the stream.
We arrive at Port Sandoval where we will walk to Sandoval Lake, which is protected by Tambopata National Reserve. Along the trail there are birds and butterflies; and after 3km (2mi) the trail leads to a narrow canal lined boats. This flooded forest leads to the open waters of Sandoval Lake. In the golden light of afternoon our crew will row the boats across to the lodge (motors are banned here). We can see the appearance of turbid lake while a huge Paiche breaks the surface (an Amazonian fish that can weigh up to 100Kg/220 lbs.). Or you may hear strange and unsettling screams and see heads peering from the surface of the lake,
which will mark our encounter with Pteronura brasiliensis, the Giant Otter of the Amazon. After dinner we can finish the day with a short night walk, spotting some nocturnal creatures along one of the trails near the lodge.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Sandoval lake Lodge

Day 5: Sandoval Lake Lodge
Just before dawn we will be on the lake for what is often a spectacular sunrise; and hope for an encounter with the Giant Otters that roam the lake in a close-knit family, very active at this time of day. At this time most of the birds that inhabit the lake are also very active. There will be time and tranquility to observe the birds fishing, while they stalk and capture prey. We will also have close-up views of the primitive Shansho
(Ophistocomus hoazin) eating leaves. After enjoying a late breakfast, we’ll walk the trail through the cool understory of the powerful primary rainforest that surrounds the lake. We will see the great Chestnut trees that abound here.
After lunch we rest for an hour and then explore the west side of the lake where we will have chances to observe one or more species of monkey, including the most common Capuchin
Before dinner there is a video presentation on the Peruvian Jungle and after dinner we will have an opportunity to spot caimans in the lake.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Sandoval lake Lodge

Day 6: Departure
After breakfast at dawn we cross the lake, perhaps finding a family of macaws leaving their roost or a troop of monkeys waking in the morning light. We will walk back to the river where our motorized canoe quickly leads upstream to the boat dock in Puerto Maldonado, and then on to the airport.
Meals included: Breakfast

Important notes:
Please note all itineraries may vary slightly to maximize wildlife viewing. This will depend on the reports of our researchers and experienced naturalist guides.
Please note that the Heath Lodge is located on the Bolivian side of the Heath River so passports will be required to pass the Bolivian control of documents.
Beginning 02 March 2017 Bolivia requests that all passengers must hold the proof of vaccination for Yellow Fever, that will be requested upon arrival to the Peru/Bolivia Border in order to enter the country.This vaccination, which is valid for 10 years, must be administered AT LEAST 10 days before the guest’s arrival in Peru.

The 5-day / 4 night trip ends on Day 5 of the itinerary.
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Manu Macaw Lick Getaway in the Amazon
Tour Code: ZZ-OUT-ManuD
6 days / 5 nights ~$1,550.00
Dates: All Year

Trip Rating :
Level : Fitness Level
Difficulty Levels Explained
1. Easy
Easy pace and an average-to-sedentary level of fitness. You should be in good health and fit enough for full day of normal sightseeing and walking.
2. Easy to Moderate
An average level of fitness or some experience with the featured activity is recommended.
3. Moderate
Requires you to have performed the featured activity regularly, with some periods on challenging terrain. Activities are mandatory and you may be traveling at high elevations. You need to be in good health and physical condition to enjoy these trips, with adequate muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance.
4. Demanding
You must be extremely physically fit and are expected to hike or ride four to six hours over steep or more rugged terrain.
5. Strenuous
Prolonged hiking/biking on moderate to difficult terrain (five to nine hours a day).
May include high altitude, rugged terrain etc..
Day to Day Itinerary
Rates | Dates
Airport: Puerto Maldonado airport
Canoeing, hiking, sightseeing, Manu Wildlife, birding

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