Peruvian Amazon – Heath River Wildlife Center

From: $975

per person dbl occ

Dates: - see all dates

Total Days: 3-4

Activity Level: 2

Reserve This Trip

1-800-622-2236

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Monday–Friday,
7 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time

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Price:

Varies by desired length of stay.

Additional Fees

Single supplement: Varies by desired length of stay.

Trip Dates:

2014/2015


Daily departures throughout the year.

Group Size: 2-11

Activity Level: 2

Activities:

  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing

Accommodations:

Jungle bungalows with fully-screened rooms. Private bathrooms with showers.

Trip Highlights

  • Explore Peru's Amazon rainforest while staying at a riverside eco-lodge
  • See abundant wildlife, from macaws and parrots to monkeys and caimans
  • Travel with naturalists who help spot wildlife and impart regional knowledge

Only five hours by river from Puerto Maldonado, the Heath River Wildlife Center is the best-located lodge in the world's largest rainforest, and the only eco-lodge located on the Heath River. Within easy reach are an excellent macaw clay lick, 480 bird species, and 6 monkey species. The lodge is also host to a double platform canopy observation set in a huge kapok tree, perfect for wildlife viewing.

Heath features a healthy population of Tapirs and Jaguars. At the clay lick, visitors have seen up to 260 macaws there at one time, making it one of the best in the world. During our stay, we're treated to a variety of nature trails. At the end of one, the rainforest suddenly melts away, offering a startling, open vista reminiscent of East Africa—the only lowland pampas accessible from Peru. Heath's unique combination of comfort, macaw lick, pristine forest, and unique pampas offer the Amazon's finest all-around value.

Also check out our Sandoval Lake Lodge and Tahuayo Lake trips in the Amazon.

REI Adventures shares non-exclusive departures at each lodge.

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 - Journey deep into the Tambopata-Madidi reserve area.
  • Day 2 - Witness an amazing gathering of macaws and parrots at a clay lick.
  • Day 3 - Visit the savannah and spot a macaw nesting site.
  • Day 4 - Return to Puerto Maldonado via the Heath River.

See full itinerary

Trip Itinerary and Details

Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.

  • Day 1 - Journey deep into the Tambopata-Madidi reserve area.

    Upon arrival in Puerto Maldonado, one the resident naturalist guides will meet you and escort you to the river port. Together, you will take a motorized canoe, equipped with cushioned seats and protection from the sun and rain, approximately three hours down the Madre de Dios River to the Peru-Bolivia border. After brief frontier-crossing formalities, you will motor about two more hours up the narrower and wilder waters of the Heath River, suddenly enjoying the intimacy of mysterious forest looming close on either side. Occasional views of native homes and children splashing by the banks are interspersed with long quiet stretches where we may spot herons, hawks, cormorants, Orinoco Geese and Capybaras. We reach our simple, charming and comfortable quarters in time for dinner. After check in, orientation and dinner, we can set out for a walking excursion to search for the nocturnal rainforest wildlife. Lunch and dinner included.

    About Heath River Wildlife Center: Heath River Wildlife center is constructed almost entirely of ecologically-harvested "driftwood" mahogany trees collected from the floods that naturally carry logs downriver out of Manu National Park. The Lodge consists of one large screened main dining room/lounge, 10 bungalows and a hammock room. The bungalows have private bathrooms complete with hot shower. The main dining room/lounge has electricity and the rest of the buildings are supplemented by candles.

  • Day 2 - Witness an amazing gathering of macaws and parrots at a clay lick.

    We rise early in the morning to board a motorized canoe for the 10-minute journey up the Heath River to the macaw and parrot clay lick. Brightly-colored parrots and macaws fly in by the hundreds to feed on the clay that detoxifies certain seeds and nuts they eat. Marvel at the cacophony of sound and color as Red-and-green macaws vie for the best clay-eating position. A specially-designed floating blind allows for proximity and complete concealment -- so you can even have breakfast and coffee while the birds are performing their morning ritual.

    When we return to the lodge, the guide leads us on an ethno-botanical walk through the forest, pointing out flora used in the daily lives of rainforest people. The guide explains how certain plants are used for medicinal or healing purposes, which ones can be made into the best bows and arrows, and how to select trees and leaves for home construction.

    After lunch and a short rest, we take a 6-mile hike through the rainforest to the Pampas del Heath, the largest remaining undisturbed savanna in the Amazon. The contrast is striking as we emerge from the mature rainforest onto the grassland plain of the Pampas. We stay out until dusk to watch the macaws fly home to their breeding sites and return to the lodge after dark.

    After dinner we may choose to go to one of the mammal clay lick hides in hope of seeing a Lowland Tapir—the rainforests largest mammal. All meals included.

  • Day 3 - Visit the savannah and spot a macaw nesting site.

    Our second full day at the lodge allows us to choose from a wide range of activities available in this exceptionally diverse tropical environment. We may choose to return to the macaw clay lick in the morning, and then return to the lodge to explore some nature trails. In the afternoon we might try our hand at climbing the 10 story vertical steel and cable ladder located in a giant kapok tree. At the top we are standing within the treetops and are eyelevel with tanagers and toucans. After dinner we can board the canoes in search of black caiman. All meals included.

  • Day 4 - Return to Puerto Maldonado via the Heath River.

    We leave at dawn for the return trip downstream. This is peak hour for wildlife so we keep a sharp eye on the riverbank for Capybara, Tapirs and perhaps even the elusive jaguar. Upon arrival at the port, we'll transfer to the airport for the flight back to Cusco or Lima. Breakfast included.

    Note: Longer itineraries include additional days of wildlife viewing and jungle hiking and increase the chance to view more species of the flora and fauna found in this area. A five-night option is also available to combine a stay at Heath River Lodge (3nts) with Sandoval Lake Lodge (2nts) which offers the ultimate Amazon package of river and lake experience.

  • 2014 Prices
    4 days / 3 nights*
    Double: $975
    Single: $1,132

    5 days / 4 nights*
    Double: $1,162
    Single: $1,372

    6 days / 5 nights*
    Double: $1,333
    Single: $1,595

    *Fixed departures (departures on Monday or Thursday offer a discounted rate):
    4 day package: double $675, single $832
    5 day package: double $875, single $1,085
    6 day package: double $998, single $1,260

    Departures must have a minimum of 2 passengers. If the minimum is not met single travelers will pay twice the double rate.

  • 2015 Prices
    4 days / 3 nights*
    Double: $1,075
    Single: $1,245

    5 days / 4 nights*
    Double: $1,275
    Single: $1,510

    6 days / 5 nights*
    Double: $1,465
    Single: $1,755

    *Fixed departures (departures on Monday or Thursday offer a discounted rate):
    4 day package: double $743, single $915
    5 day package: double $963, single $1,195
    6 day package: double $1,098, single $1,385

    Departures must have a minimum of 2 passengers. If the minimum is not met single travelers will pay twice the double rate.

Note on Itinerary

Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Air Travel

Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.

Price Includes

Roundtrip transfers from Puerto Maldonado airport to the lodge; accommodations; all meals (from lunch on the first day to the breakfast on the last day); local English-speaking naturalist guides; purified drinking water and juices; daily excursions.

Not Included

International airfare to Puerto Maldonado; alcoholic beverages or soft drinks; guide gratuities; excess baggage charges, laundry or insurance of any kind.

Payment and Cancellation Policy

A special cancellation policy applies to all Amazon Lodge trips. Final payment is due 60 days prior to the departure date. The following change and cancel fees apply:
91+ days prior to departure – $200 penalty per person
61 to 90 days – full deposit is non-refundable
31 to 60 days – 50% of trip cost
0 to 30 days – 100% of trip cost

Qualifications

This trip is rated Easy Active [2] and contains a variety of activities ranging from easy day walks to moderate hikes in a warm, tropical climate, and travel in a motorized canoe. Participants should be in good physical condition and consider beginning a regular exercise regimen 1-2 months prior to departure consisting of walking/hiking, running and/or swimming to prepare for this adventure. The better shape you're in, the more you'll be able to take advantage of the lodges' nature trails and optional activities.

Weather

The average temperature in the Amazon Basin is 82°F, with daily highs reaching the low 90s and nightly lows in the upper 60s. During the dry season (May-October), cold fronts from the South Atlantic (freajes) occur once every month or so, causing daily temperatures to drop into the mid to high 50s. As we are in the tropics, rainfall in the lowlands can occur during any month of the year, however, most of the prolonged rainy weather patterns arise during the wet season from November-April.

Single Travelers

A single supplement rate applies for Heath River Wildlife Center. This rate is based on length of stay and passenger count.

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).

We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.

Peruvian Amazon – Heath River Wildlife Center Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To obtain maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you choose your clothing and gear for this trip. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.

Gear Checklist

Provided Gear
  • Rubber boots
Official Papers
  • Valid passport
  • Airline itinerary and confirmation
Casual Clothing
  • Lightweight, easily washable items for evening wear or when traveling
Luggage
  • Duffel bag or soft sided luggage—wheels and retractable handle are fine. See weight limits under "Things to Consider" below.
  • Passport security pouch or belt
  • Daypack to carry raingear, camera, water and snacks
  • Luggage tags and luggage locks
Clothing
  • T-shirts, synthetic
  • Lightweight, long-sleeve shirt(s) for sun/insect protection
  • Hiking shorts, synthetic, quick-drying
  • Hiking pants, synthetic, quick-drying
  • Hiking socks and liners
Clothing Accessories
  • Sun hat
  • Bandanas
Outerwear
  • Poncho, waterproof and breathable
  • Lightweight sweater or jacket (warmer coat for May-Oct departures)
Footwear
  • Lightweight hiking boots or trail shoes, broken-in
  • Water sandals or flip-flops
Travel Accessories
  • Water bottles or hydration pack
  • Sunglasses and retainer strap
  • Sunblock and lip balm
  • Insect repellent with Deet
  • Binoculars (a must have)
  • Biodegradable soap & shampoo
  • Handi-wipes
  • Toiletry kit
  • Hand sanitizer gel
  • Watch with alarm or travel clock
  • Headlamp/flashlight with extra batteries/bulb (a must have)
  • Personal first-aid kit
Optional Field Gear
  • Camera, memory cards, spare batteries & charger
  • Electrical converter and adapter plug
  • Reading and writing materials
  • Field guides
  • Ziploc bags for easy storage
  • Favorite energy snacks and drink mixes
  • Earplugs
  • Anti-fog lens wipes (if you wear glasses)
  • Laundry detergent for hand washing / universal sink plug

Things to Consider

  • Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, hiking boots, a pair of shorts/shirt/fleece top/sandals and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
  • Luggage restrictions – Heath River Wildlife Center: 22 lbs for boat ride from Puerto Maldonado—items must fit into a small duffel provided by the lodge. Any excess luggage may be stored at the Puerto Maldonado office until your return from the lodge.
  • Cotton is wonderful in warm weather. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Bring wool or synthetics such as Capilene®, MTS® and Thermax®.
  • Bring clothing that is lightweight and protects you from the sun. Muted earthtone colors are best for wildlife viewing. It is always good to have a lightweight, long-sleeve jacket, especially for the evenings.
  • Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
  • Make sure boots are broken-in. Bring moleskin for foot treatment. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. The liner sock should be synthetic, not cotton. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip.
  • Rubber boots are provided on loan at the lodges. Please bring socks to wear with the boots.
  • Stuff sacks are great for sorting gear. Use different sizes/colors to differentiate contents.
  • Plastic bags are great for keeping clothing and gear dry. Use Ziploc bags to keep wet clothes separate from dry clothes.
  • If you wear prescription glasses, use a safety cord and bring an extra pair if possible. Contact lens wearers should also bring an extra set, or bring eyeglasses for a backup.
  • During the day, plan on carrying a small daypack with sunscreen, raingear, water bottle/hydration system and camera.

 

Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
REI AdventuresPeruvian Amazon
 
4.4

(based on 5 reviews)

80%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Exceeded expectations (4)
  • Guides (3)
  • Once in a lifetime experience (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Avid adventurer (3)
        • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
        • Destination (4), I liked the itinerary (4), Commitment to sustainability (3)

      Reviewed by 5 customers

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      3.0

      Below Expectations

      By Trvlin Man

      from Southern California

      About Me Avid Adventurer

      Pros

        Cons

        • Activity Level
        • Fell Short of Expectations
        • Food
        • Guides

        Best Uses

          Comments about REI Adventures Peruvian Amazon:

          The boat ride from/to Puerto Maldonado is very long and somewhat dull. Best bring a good book and lots of insect repellant.

          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
          • Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary
          • Why did you choose this trip?:
          • Was going to Peru, wanted to do Amazon. REI's reliability.
          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
          • Parrot/Macaw clay lick
          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
          • Bring your own party; there is very little to do.Wildlife is more sparse than in Central America.

          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Truly an amazing experience

          By peruvian jungle

          from Seattle, WA

          About Me Avid Adventurer

          Pros

          • Accommodations
          • Activity Level
          • Exceeded Expectations
          • Food
          • Guides
          • Once in a Lifetime Experience
          • Quality Equipment Provided
          • Well Organized Itinerary

          Cons

            Best Uses

              Comments about REI Adventures Peruvian Amazon:

              I would recommend this to anyone. Very professional and well organized. The lodgings were really beautiful, staff very helpful and friendly and excellent food. My son who is 15 has talked about it non-stop (well ok, maybe he talks about other things too) and really enjoyed himself, even getting up at 5 am to go see the birds at the clay-lick.

              • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
              • Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary
              • Why did you choose this trip?:
              • It has been a dream to go to the Amazon which we combined with Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.
              • What was the highlight of your trip?:
              • The highlight was the whole thing. Everyday encountering some fantastic animal or plant that you wouldn't see anywhere else. Our guide Pedro was very knowledgeable and always amazed us with how he could spot something we had no idea was there. The macaws were quite a treat coming into the dining area to nab our food or seeing a troupe of spider monkeys swing by in the trees from my open air room.
              • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
              • Bring an extra long sleeve shirt! It is really hot and humid and I prefer to wear short sleeves but you really need long sleeves and pants to protect you from the bugs and ants that inhabit the trees! Also, be patient and quiet while observing wildlife. You will see and hear more!

              (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Fantastic trip!

              By tigerhawkvok

              from Berkeley, CA

              About Me First-Time Adventurer

              Site Member

              Pros

              • Activity Level
              • Exceeded Expectations
              • Flexible itinerary
              • Guides
              • Once in a Lifetime Experience

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about REI Adventures Peruvian Amazon:

                  I can't think of a single bad thing about this trip. Despite the high floodwaters (12m higher than normal), the folks at [@] were fantastic and kept up the food and the high trip quality. Our guide, Jonathan, knew huge numbers of species in the area and simply made the whole trip a fantastic experience.

                  • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                  • Active Adventures, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary
                  • Why did you choose this trip?:
                  • I love nature and animals, and I felt that this trip would enable me to engage my inner naturalist.
                  • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                  • I saw 80 different tetrapod species in 4.5 days, including a two-toed sloth, pink river dolphin, and caecelian!
                  • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                  • DEET. Love it. Use the strong stuff. Also, hydrocortisone cream.

                  (1 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Great Adventure

                  By HappyHula

                  from test wa

                  About Me Casual Adventurer

                  See all my reviews

                  Pros

                  • Exceeded Expectations

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about REI Adventures Peruvian Amazon:

                      The views are spectacular!

                      • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                      • Recommended by a Friend

                      (19 of 19 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      4.0

                      [...] fantastic! A flora/fauna eyefeast!

                      By TapirRider

                      from Denver, CO

                      About Me Avid Adventurer

                      Pros

                      • Accommodations
                      • Exceeded Expectations
                      • Food
                      • Group Camaraderie
                      • Guides
                      • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                      • Quality Equipment Provided
                      • Well Organized Itinerary

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                          Comments about REI Adventures Peruvian Amazon:

                          We loved the more primitive aspects of the Wildlife Center - the candlelight fit the mood of the place, and probably helped to keep the wildlife close to us instead of frightening it away (except for the light-loving critters flitting to our headlamps!) Just be aware at all times - wide-eyed wonder applied to us and we were fulfilled with many creature sightings.

                          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                          • Active Adventures, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary
                          • Why did you choose this trip?:
                          • We were in Peru hiking the Inca Trail, and wanted to explore more of Peru - the Amazon was a dream to visit, and hopefully our visit may help increase awareness of the fragility of the biosystem.
                          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                          • Immersing ourselves in a semi-pristine rainforest - and shedding some trappings of modern life like electricity...the food was top-notch, and we were able to view all critters that were on the intinerary.
                          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                          • Have no expectations, but be enthusiastic to the opportunity to be in the Amazon rainforest. Be aware of the micro as well as the macro view when exploring the jungle. Drybags are great to have, and bring some plastic bags for the wet things when leaving the forest.

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