About the Workshop
Located deep in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest of Madre de Dios, near the city of Puerto Maldonado, our Lowland Rainforest Photographic Tour takes us on an exciting route through forest and along rivers and lakes to observe a plethora of bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian, and insect species. This eleven-day tour starts and ends in Puerto Maldonado, is guided by a professional, award-winning wildlife photographer, and includes wildlife highlights such as Giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis), Hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), Red-and-green macaws (Ara chloropterus), Black caiman (Melanosuchus niger), Bird-eating spiders (Avicularia sp.), and Monkey frogs (Phyllomedusa sp.) to name but a few. Accommodation is provided in an upmarket hotel in Puerto Maldonado and good quality jungle lodges throughout.
What's included in the package?
Lodging, Meals, Transport, Electricity
The tour will take in an upmarket hotel in the city on arrival and before departure, but will primarily be based out of a deep jungle lodge that overlooks a wildlife-rich ox-bow lake. Accommodation includes twin rooms with en-suite bathroom facilities. Single rooms are available for a supplement. All meals are prepared by a professional chef, with all dietary requirements catered for. Transport to and from the lodge is undertaken via 4x4 vehicles and roofed river launches. Electricity for charging batteries is provided via a combination of solar panels and generators as back-up.View Lodging
Free equipment and software
MACRO GUEER PROVIDED ONLY: Canon macro lenses (EFS 60 mm, EFS 100 mm), ring flashes, tripods, and lightbox equipment will be available for participants to use, at no extra cost. The image editing software that participants will learn to use, include: Helicon Focus, Lightroom, and Photoshop. Participants will cooperate with wildlife researchers in finding macro subjects during daytime and night time searches. Hennessy hammocks are also supplied for those intrepid enough to want to spend a night out under the rainforest canopy.View Equipment
Workshop Map Routes
Lowland Rainforest Photography Tour
The workshop will start and end in the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado, the capital of the Madre de Dios region in south-eastern Peru. From here the route takes us by 4x4 all-terrain vehicle to the Las Piedras River, where our boat will then take us upriver to the Amazon Rainforest Conservation Center (ARCC) with the Soledad Lake and tree canopy habitats offering great photographic opportunities. We offer an optional trip to a rustic lodge called the Las Piedras Biodiversity Station that offers a different variety of wildlife.
Arrive in Puerto Maldonado (airport code PEM) and transfer by car to our hotel overlooking the Madre de Dios River. Our tour leader will host a welcome talk and orientation session for participants, to help everyone get used to their new surroundings and prepare them for the exciting journey and scheduled activities ahead. We will take a guided walk around the streets of this jungle town, the Biodiversity Capital of Peru no less, with chances to photograph the colourful market area, thousands of tut-tut taxis, views across the Tambopata River and Madre de Dios River, and general street life in this somewhat hectic and energetic town. After a dinner of typical cuisine in the best restaurant in town, we will turn in early - as we’ll need to be up early the next morning to begin our journey into the deep Amazon Rainforest. Night in Puerto Maldonado.
Up early. After breakfast, we will jump into our 4x4 Toyota Landcruiser for the 3-hour journey to the small settlement of Lucerna, located on the banks of the Las Piedras River, the longest river in the Madre de Dios department. Here, a boat will be waiting to whisk us upriver for a further 2 hours to the Amazon Rainforest Conservation Center (ARCC), located on the banks of the Soledad Lake. On route, we will stop off to photograph waterfalls, eat our box lunch, and with luck focus our lenses on caiman, capybara, side-neck turtles, and other riverine wildlife. On arrival, we will be shown to our rooms, which overlook the lake, after which we will congregate in the main dining room for an introductory talk about the lodge, the lake, the wildlife, and planned activities. We will lunch overlooking the lake, with cameras nearby in case a Hoatzin lands closeby or an otter appears to look at us. Later we will take the paddle-powered catamaran out onto the lake in search of afternoon-active wildlife. When the sun sets we will begin our paddle back to the lodge, where we will prepare for dinner. An after-dinner night walk along one of the many forest trails is an option for those who still have the strength. On this and other night walks, we will get the opportunity to take stunning close-ups with flash of fabulously coloured insects and reptiles, not to mention nocturnal mammals such as mouse opossums and night monkeys. We will also set up a number of camera traps that will hopefully capture footage of the resident big cats, such as Jaguar and Puma. Night at ARCC lodge.
After an early breakfast, we will get out into the depths of the lush forest and photograph the monkeys that swing from tree to vine, such as the Brown capuchins, Black spider monkeys and cheeky Bolivian squirrel monkeys. We will have time to observe and photograph anything spotted in the trees or on the forest floor before heading back for lunch. After a hearty lunch from our very enthusiastic chef, we will head out onto the lake again to await the late afternoon activity from the Giant otter family in particular. We will pack some cool beverages on the catamaran too. After our return, you will have a chance to relax in the forest watching the birdlife that abounds around the lodge. After dinner we will go out on the catamaran in search of Black caiman and Tropical tree boas, the latter of which will be hanging out on vine-infested trees that overhang the water. Flash photography is a must to capture the stunning colourations given off by these snakes. Some of these snakes can be very docile and can be handled briefly by the tour leader before being returned to their habitat. This can allow for some macro-photography of snakes. Night at ARCC lodge.
We will get up a little later than normal today, have breakfast, and then head down to the river port where we will board the boat, don our life jackets and get our cameras set-up and ready. We will then proceed to head slowly upriver on the lookout for photographic opportunities, with the aim of imaging Capybara, White caiman, Red-and-green macaws, and Tapir. With a bit of extra luck we could spot a Jaguar as it comes down to the river’s edge to drink. We will stop off for drinks on a white-sand river beach and then return to the lodge for a late lunch. In the afternoon we will have an optional walk into the forest to visit a mammal clay-lick, an area near a stream that has a high concentration of salts that many animals need more of in their diet. After dinner back at the lodge, we will review everyone’s images and videos and the tour leader will provide useful feedback to help us improve our techniques. Tuition on editing photos is also possible at this time. Night at ARCC lodge.
Up to the sound of Giant river otters, that cruise past the lodge around 6 am every morning. We will once again have breakfast-with-a-view on a platform next to the lake. With our trail boots on, we will then head out to climb the 30m-high canopy platform located in the branches of a giant Ironwood tree, from where we can look down upon monkeys and upon the lake itself. Having spent at least a couple of hours up there, frequently more, we will make our way back to the lodge for some rest and relaxation before lunch. After lunch we will concentrate for the rest of the afternoon on the comical Hoatzins, which at this time will be resting on branches that overhang the lake, and other lake-side birds such as Tiger herons and Giant kingfisher. As the sun sets we can capture beautiful shots of the lake and canopy. After dinner, we will head out to the island in the middle of the lake in search of nocturnal snakes to photograph. Night at the ARCC.
Breakfast overlooking the lake. After which we will board the catamaran for a morning’s worth of photography focused on our Giant otter friends. Today we will also do some serious videography, in order to capture sequences for a short 5-minute documentary that we will prepare over the coming days. After lunch we will either continue to get more Giant otter images and videos or spend it relaxing in the beautiful grounds of the lodge. In the evening, before dinner, we will listen to a presentation from Dr. Chris Kirkby about the ecology of the region and some interesting facts about the species that we have been seeing and photographing. Don’t forget to recharge your camera batteries tonight. Night at the ARCC.
After a very early start in the morning with breakfast we will be guided on a long jungle walk into the forest with the aim of reaching another river about 5 km away. Photographic opportunities will be endless along the way. At the stream we will have a box lunch and we will be able to swim in the cool pools of water. We will return by boat in time for an early dinner. The late afternoon, time permitting, can will spend relaxing at the lodge or taking photos in the lodge garden. Night at the ARCC.
Once again an early start for breakfast and off to the port (200m away) where we will don our life jackets and get our cameras ready. We will head upriver specifically in search of big cats such as Jaguar and Puma that come down to the water’s edge to drink. We will stop off at various beaches in search of their tracks as well. We will return to the lodge for lunch. After lunch we will head out onto the jungle trail system in search of Spider monkeys. After dinner, we will head out in the boat again, along the Las Piedras River, and armed with a powerful searchlight we will go in search of nocturnal riverside animals, particularly White caiman and Common paca. Night at the ARCC.
Our last full day in the leafy heart of the Peruvian Amazon with Untamed Photography. This day will be spent doing various optional activities. An early catamaran ride on the lake to say goodbye to the family of Giant river otters, walking in the forest down various trails, and back up into the canopy to observe life from the trees. After lunch, we will head off to collect the camera traps that we set up earlier, the imagery and videos of which we will review immediately on returning to the lodge. Expect Jaguar, Ocelots, Giant ant-eaters, Peccaries and so forth. At sundown, we will go on a short jungle walk or take the catamaran out for a final row. After dinner we will review as many images of the last week or so as we can. Night at the ARCC.
After breakfast we will pack up our bags, say our goodbyes to the lodge staff, and head down to the boat. With cameras ready and waiting, we will then head down river to our awaiting vehicle for the trip back to Puerto Maldonado. Having checked back into our hotel, we will have the opportunity for more image editing and ultimately share certain images with each other. Later we will join the leaders and other staff of Untamed Photography for some quality food at the best restaurant in town. Prizes will be given out for the best overall image from the tour. Night in Puerto Maldonado.
Breakfast at the hotel, followed by sad goodbyes and transfer to the Puerto Maldonado airport in time for our flight back home. End of tour and services.