The Tambopata National Reserve is one of the most beautiful jewels of the Peruvian Amazon. Located in Madre de Dios, it was created in 2000 with the objectives of protecting wild flora and fauna, the scenic beauty of an area of subtropical rainforest, as well as promoting conservation processes that ensure the sustainable use of natural resources.
This protected natural area is located in the lower and middle part of the Tambopata river basin, which has one of the highest biodiversity indices in the world. Its ecosystems include aguajales (palm swamps), wetlands, guadua and riparian forests, which due to their physical characteristics allow local inhabitants to take advantage of natural resources. On the south side, the reserve runs alongside the Bahuaja Sonene National Park, and together they form a very important protected area for the country.
Tambopata is home to more than 1,200 species of butterflies, 103 species of amphibians, 180 species of fish, 169 species of mammals and 103 species of reptiles. The presence of 632 species of birds has also been reported, including the harpy eagle, the horned curassow, the wattled curassow; as well as almost all species of macaws that inhabit Peru. In addition, it is home to mainly aquatic habitats that are used as stopovers for more than 40 species of transcontinental migratory birds.
As for mammals, we should highlight the presence of primates such as the spider monkey, the woolly monkey, the white-faced capuchin, as well as other species of mammals such as the tapir, the peccary, the red deer and two and three-toed sloths.
In addition, this national reserve is home to healthy habitats that help to recover and shelter endangered populations of species such as the giant otter, nutria and felines such as the jaguarundi, puma, jaguar, ocelot and margay.
There are also different types of vegetation in this natural area, the main plant associations including aguajales in the sedimentation plains, pacals, terraced forests and gallery forests. Seventeen plant associations per forest type have been identified and a total of 1,255 plant species.
Tambopata and its attractions
The most visited place in this reserve is Lake Sandoval, which is approximately 2 miles long, 0.6 miles wide and up to almost 10 feet deep. It is located in the Madre de Dios river basin and is surrounded by palm trees that are home to macaws, toucans and cormorants. You can go on boat rides in its waters while enjoying the presence of otters, nutrias and turtles.
Another important attraction is Sachavacayoc, one of the most beautiful lakes in our jungle, which stands out for its abundant palm trees where macaws nest between the months of November and February. Tapirs often take baths in its clear waters, which are approximately 10 feet deep.
There are towers in Tambopata measuring more than approximately 100 feet in height, and which help us observe the landscape better and understand the role of forests on the planet. The El Gato creek and its waterfall can also be accessed by boat. The Baltimorillo rapids are located very close by.
The clay licks
If there is one thing that has made this reserve famous, it has to be its spectacular clay licks. They are located on the banks of the rivers and a large number of birds gather there, such as macaws, hawks and parrots, offering a multicolored spectacle of sound (especially between 5:30 and 9:00 a.m.).
It is also possible to see some mammals, generally at night, such as collared peccaries, white-lipped peccaries and tapirs. The Cuncho and Colorado clay licks on the left bank of the Tambopata River are the highlights, the Colorado being the largest clay lick found in the Peruvian Amazon.