Situated upstream from Puerto Maldonado in the department of Madre de Dios, the Tambopata-Candamo Nature Reserve is a bastion of natural beauty and biodiversity.
Spanning 6,000 square kilometers (2,317 mi), this UNESCO reserve includes the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park and Las Pampas de Heath National Sanctuary. Covering an area about one-third the size of Costa Rica, Tambopata is home to approximately 595 species of birds, more than 1,200 species of butterflies and at least 13 different endangered species, including the jaguar, giant otter, ocelot, harpy eagle and giant armadillo. The reserve also boasts spectacular oxbow lakes and over a dozen different forest types. In short, it is a great place to get out and explore the jungle.
A highlight of any visit to Tambopata is the macaw clay lick, one of the largest clay licks in the country. Also known as Collpa de Guacamayos, this famous clay lick attracts numerous birds that come to feed off the different mineral salts; scientists, birdwatchers and nature-lovers also seem to flock to this natural hotspot.
Besides the birds, beauty and biodiversity, Tambopata boasts a number of jungle lodges, which tend to be slightly more accessible than those in Manu in terms of cost and travel time. Tambopata tours and jungle lodge stays can be arranged with agencies in Cusco or Puerto Maldonado.