Tambopata Research Center – Tambopata, Peru - Atlas Obscura

Tambopata Research Center

One of the most remote lodges in the Amazon offers rare wildlife encounters and undisturbed views of the Peruvian rainforest.  


Located deep in the Peruvian jungle, the Tambopata Research Center is one of the most remote lodges in the Amazon and even the whole of South America. The isolated location makes it an extraordinary place to observe the nature and wildlife of the rainforest, largely undisturbed by humans. 

Situated in the Tambopata National Reserve in the Madre de Dios region of Peru, the lodge doubles as a research and visitor center. The Tambopata province is one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet, and the region is so secluded that few roads can reach so far in the dense jungle. Therefore, visitors and researchers at the center are stunned by the proximity of rare creatures.

Within the reserve, you’re able to observe animals with a Planet Earth-style intimacy—only without the screen of separation (or the captivating narration of Sir David Attenborough).

The reserve is home to more than 670 species of identified birds including macaws on their clay lick and the harpy eagle, a raptor that preys on sloths. Many of the thousand-plus species of insects are unknown to science. There are also 200 species of mammals, including jaguars, tapirs, and giant anteaters. Poisonous and colorful frogs hop among the trees where rainbow boas hide. Swimming in the oxbow lakes are giant otters, a threatened species of weasel that is 5.5 feet long. Over 10,000 species of plants live in the Tambopata region, making it one of the most diverse places in the world for plant life.

While few indigenous Peruvians lived in this region, a small population still lives off the land. Many are given the opportunity to work in ecotourism at the center. However, this sometimes results in workers being ostracized from their community. Indigenous peoples also harvest Brazil nuts on local farms supported by nonprofits that help prevent deforestation. Despite these efforts, deforestation is still a threat due to illegal gold mining.

Visitors are allowed to come and stay for multiple days in an all-inclusive jungle lodge with daily tours. The tour also combined a one-night visit the the nearby Refugio Amazonas lodge with its canopy tower for spotting colorful birds. As more people are given the opportunity to explore and learn about the incredible life thriving in the Peruvian Amazon, the hope is their stay will help fund research and protection of this precious area.  

After upgrades to the lodge, guests can now enjoy a choice of Superior, Comfort, Suite, and the Deluxe Suite. The Deluxe Suites offer a large private balcony with comfortable seating and tables to relax surrounded by rainforest.

Know Before You Go

Reaching the lodge is an adventure in itself. You'll fly to the Puerto Maldonado airport, take a little over 40-minute bus ride to the pier, followed by a three-hour motorized canoe ride to Refugio Amazonas, where you'll spend your first night. The next morning you'll continue down the Tambopata River on a four-hour canoe ride to finally reach Tambopata Research Center. (The Tambopata Research Center includes the bus and boat rides with your stay.)

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