The Heath River Wildlife Center can be found in the secluded Heath River, about 6 hours by boat from Puerto Maldonado. The Heath River runs through Tambopata-Madidi reserve areas of Peru and Bolivia. Because the wild Heath River marks the Amazon-region border between Peru and Bolivia, it borders two drastically different ecosystems.
On a trip to the Heath River, you will find both rainforest and lowland savannah. It is home to many wildlife including 480 species of birds and 6 species of monkey. To get an amazing view over the jungle canopy, there is a viewing platform that was built atop an enormous tree. To get to it, however, requires quite the climb up a steel-and-cable ladder that involves a safety harness and hard hats.
The Heath River Wildlife Center has 10 double-occupancy bungalows and is the only eco-lodge on the river. There are various activities to enjoy during your stay. The bungalows are built with materials such as bamboo, palm fronds, and local wood – the same used by the local indigenous communities. This makes your stay at the lodge feel very authentic and close to nature.
There’s plenty of wildlife to admire along the trails of the pristine rainforest. If you want to see the tapir, the biggest mammal in the Amazon, you may have to stay up late. These animals are nocturnal and typically visit the mammal clay licks at night. If you’re lucky, you may even see a jaguar or giant otters. Also seen frequently along the river are Capybaras, the world’s largest rodent.
Thanks to the macaw clay lick near the lodge, many macaws and parrots are attracted to the center, and the visitors get to enjoy the sight of the birds and their spectacular colors. Visitors have claimed to have seen up to 260 macaws there at one time. If these colorful birds are the main reason why you want to visit the Heath River Wildlife Center, come from July to September when they are seen in their largest numbers.
But if you’re not one for activities, because the Heath River Wildlife Center is so remote and you get to enjoy a private bungalow, you may be happy just to sit back, relax, and enjoy the serenity of your jungle surroundings.
How To Get There
A daily commercial flight from Lima (2 hours) and Cusco (30 minutes) brings you to Puerto Maldonado, a bustling frontier town and the gateway to the Tambopata National Reserve.
When you travel with us, InkaNatura, one of our staff will meet you as you leave the airport arrivals area, and will remain with you until you return to the airport to board your flight back to Cusco or Lima.
We have a 15-minute bus or van transfer from the airport to the Tambopata River port, and then take a motorized canoe for two hours and a half down the Madre de Dios River and two and a half up the Heath River to the lodge.
(Returning trip to Puerto Maldonado may take 45 additional minutes). In dry season the travel time increases). Our boats are equipped with a 65 HP engine, a roof to protect from the sun and the rain, cushioned seats, and carry a spare motor in the unlikely event that the principal engine breaks down.