What does it take to discover a new species? Do butterflies really drink turtle tears? And why do birds and monkeys like to chow down on clay? These are just some of the questions that drive scientists to spend weeks, months, and sometimes years living in the jungle. Get a unique opportunity to experience this lifestyle by spending a full week with scientists in some of the most remote rainforest eco-lodges in the world, deep in the Peruvian Amazon. This isn’t your typical Amazon tour—with the help of local tour guides and expert wildlife biologists, you’ll enjoy a rainforest experience unlike any other. Learn how real-life field biology works, have a chance to discover and observe new species, and get a living lesson on the ecology and conservation of one of the planet’s most important habitats: the Amazon rainforest.
We recommend that you have a medium fitness level to fully participate in this trip. Be prepared to walk up to five miles per day through thick, muddy jungle terrain. Keep in mind this will be much more taxing than five miles of flat pavement. Throughout our time on the river, explorers will be getting in and out of our boat, and you will also have the opportunity to climb multiple canopy towers, which involve several flights of stairs. While Rainforest Expeditions excels at catering to travelers, and the lodges are quite nice and the food is delicious, please keep in mind we are venturing deep into the Amazon jungle to facilities only accessible by boat. We’ll be walking several miles per day through warm and humid jungle habitats on trails that in some places are covered in ankle-deep mud. Visiting this part of the world requires moderate physical effort, but the reward when you see your first wild macaws or catch a glimpse of an elusive tapir is well worth it. That being said, our days should not feel exhausting; you’ll be hiking just hard enough to get a very good night’s sleep every night.
Please keep in mind that we are venturing deep into the Amazon jungle to facilities only accessible by boat. If you have any medications, don’t forget to bring enough with you, sealed in plastic Ziploc bags. The rooms at all three lodges are open to the rainforest on one side so you can fall asleep watching the fireflies and wake up to the throaty calls of howler monkeys. The beds all come equipped with heavy mosquito nets. Don’t forget to put the nets down before you head to dinner each night. In terms of disease risk, malaria and zika are rare, but they are present; travelers should consult their own doctors about potential preventative measures. Leishmaniasis is present as well (and is treatable). All of this is why DEET and long sleeves are required, especially at night. Finally, a yellow fever vaccine is not required, but travelers may wish to consult their own doctors. Other CDC recommendations for travel in Peru may be found by clicking here.
For flights in and out of Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM), please note that you should plan to arrive by 4 p.m. on September 6, and depart on September 12 after after 8 p.m. (Our return flight from Puerto Maldonado should land in Lima around 4:30 p.m.) Should you like to spend any extra days in Lima before or after our week together, we're happy to arrange extra hotel nights for you, and will provide the option in your final payment.
Peru does not require any immunizations for entry, although it recommends vaccination against Yellow Fever. Travelers may wish to consult their own doctors. Other CDC recommendations for travel in Peru may be found by clicking here.
Space at these remote lodges is limited, which means you will most likely be sharing a room with one or two fellow travelers, though we do offer a very limited number of single rooms available on a first-come, first-served basis, as well as the option of a single room in Lima.
The International Ecotourism Society has formally defined ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” In other words, it is an effort to combine sustainable travel with ecosystem-level conservation and the explicit recognition of and respect for the rights of indigenous people. That’s why ecotourism is more than just “nature tourism”; it has the explicit goal of benefiting local communities both environmentally and economically. By providing financial incentives through tourism, these communities can become empowered to fight against poverty, and in achieving a more sustainable sort of economic development, can better resist other more exploitative industries like mining, agriculture, ranching, or logging. Ecotourism has also motivated the traditional tourism industry in general to move towards more “green” or sustainable practices.
If you have a U.S. passport, all you need to enter and depart Peru is a valid passport with evidence of return or onward travel. With a U.S. passport, you will automatically receive a free 90-day tourist visa. For more information, see the State Department’s Peru travel page.
While we don’t run our own Machu Picchu trip, we’re more than happy to provide recommendations. For a small supplement, we can customize your regional flights, allowing you to deplane in Cuzco, with a later return to Lima.