A 10-minute walk through a seasonally flooded transition forest will take us to Blanco Oxbow Lake, by far one of the best rainforest scenarios our lodge can offer.
Its environs display different kinds of rainforest habitats and its stagnant waters provide rich nutrients and fish to their usual dwellers, like giant otters and black caimans.
In addition, this region displays a number of different microhabitats as a result of ancient rivers moving throughout geological time creating a series of terraces, each containing different types of forest. This mosaic of habitat types (being the tallest the oldest) is one of the reasons these forests are among the richest in the world in terms of biodiversity.View less
A 20 minute walk along the Shebonal trail that starts next to the lodge, will let you see several bird species associated with bamboo forest and some large mammals like red deer (Mazama americana) and occasionally frightening, but wonderful jaguars (Panthera onca).
At the end of the trail is Blanquillo oxbow lake, a body of water with black caiman (Melanosuchus niger) and white caiman (Caiman crocodylus) . Here, thanks to the catamaran, a ride along the lake is possible and also the viewing of the amazon kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona) and osprey (Pandion halietus) attentive to possible hunting, since this lake is characterized by large populations of fish. Among these we find the cat fish (doncella and zungaro), piranhas, boquichico, mullet, etc. For this reason some river otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) also use this lake for their fishing activity and then bake in the sun on top of one of the many logs that are near the water. If you are of adventurous spirit you can take a ride on the oxbow lake in single or double kayaks, and appreciate nature from another perspective. It is also the only lake on the private reserve of Blanquillo, where sport fishing is permitted by the visitors.View less
10 minutes downriver by boat from the lodge, and after a 15 minutes walk through a primary forest trail, we arrive to Camungo Oxbow Lake.
On the way, there is the possibility of encountering some red deer (Mazama americana), puma (Puma concolor) , white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari) and 6 species of monkeys.Taking a ride in the catamaran and on the lake surface, the black caiman (Melanosuchus niger), the prehistoric hoatzin (Opisthocomus hoazin), horned screamers (Anhima cornuta), spider monkey (Ateles sp), and various river turtles and jacamars can be found. The abundance of fish, makes the family of giant river otters (Pteronura brasiliensis), almost permanent residents of the lake during long stretches of time.View less
The Blanquillo Macaw Clay Lick is a section of the banks in the Madre de Dios River with a height of 6 meters and a length of 250 meters.
This area is an early and daily meeting point of several families of Orange-cheeked parrot (Pyrilia barrabandi), Blue-headed parrot (Pionus menstruus), Mealy parrot (Amazona farinosa) and more small parakeets . A little later in the morning, Red and Green macaws (Ara chloropterus),Scarlet macaws (Ara macao), and the Piping guan (Pipile cumanensis) arrive to the clay lick.
Not only birds use this clay wall as a source of needed antacids. Not surprisingly, mammals such as Tapirs (Tapirus terrestris), Red Deer (Mazama americana), Howler Monkey (Alouatta sara) can be found. The act of eating clay performed by these animals is mainly to neutralize their pH, which has been acidified as a consequence of eating green fruits and also to absorb various nutrients of this wonderful clay which are not found in their daily diet.
Observation platform or blind is a platform-observatory of 8 meters high and 50 meters long, that can accommodate 100 visitors. This amazing building, very well located only 50 meters from the wall of the clay lick, which allows extraordinary photos of the daily bird activity without the need for very expensive lenses and due to its positioning, it's possible to take very sharp pictures when the early morning sun light bathes the clay wall .Comfortable swivel chairs and a long table used for equipment support or to take notes ,enables to notice in total tranquility, the stunning work of parrots, macaws, parakeets and other birds and animals attending this clay lick. A hearty breakfast is served in the comfort of this location. To enter, you have to arrive early in the morning (5:20 am) and do a 26 minute walk ( at normal pace) through a trail that crosses a secondary forest, where you can find various species of birds, reptiles, and the possible presence of tapirs, deer, agouti and peccary.
* NOTE: The arriving times are from 5:20am to 6:20am maximum, and we suggest your previous nightstay to be in the very rear Blanquillo Lodge or camp, to avoid possible late arrivals.View less
This observation tower on top of a Kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra) at 50 meters from the ground is the highest and most stunning of the entire region of Manu.
A steel staircase leads to the observation deck made out of wood. From there you can see the movement of birds, mainly, the macaws early in the morning on their way to the Collpa ( Clay Lick). Here you can also see rare species frequently, as the harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) nesting, or better yet, in full hunt and the king vulture (Sarcoramphus papa) of the jungle. One of the most spectacular views of this tower is towards the Camungo oxbow lake, a rich body of water, home to a huge number of birds and other species such as caimans and giant river otters (Pteronura brasiliensis).View less
The Famous Tambo Blanquillo Trails in the Manu area are worldwide known for the astounding biodiversity found in them.
This is reflected in more than 1000 bird species found in this area of The Peruvian Amazon Basin which makes it a treat for bird lovers. But this is not the only attraction to be found, there are enormous roedents, tapirs and monkeys of different types. Also a wide variety of insects and botanical species. Some of them not even studied by science.
Species that can be spotted
The Madre de Dios River is one of the most important rivers en the Peruvian Amazon Basin. Born in the highlands of Cusco grows in volume due to its tributaries in peruvian soil like: Manu, Blanco, Colorado, Chilive, Inambari, Las Piedras and Tambopata until joining the Heath river and entering bolivian territory.
Afterwards upon entering Brasil it changes its name to Madeira and becomes one of the principal tributaries of the great Amazon.
This river is the only access to the Manu National Park and its buffer zone where Tambo Blanquillo Lodge is located.
During the trip in motorized canoes to and from Blanquillo there is the opportunity to observe a wide variety of birds, an animals and reptiles sunbathing in the beaches and river banks, being the most commonly found macaws, ducks, caimans and herons. Sometimes if lucky, capibaras and the elusive jaguar can be spotted.
Species that can be spotted
Fishing is another alternative for you. In the middle of the Oxbow Lake, immerse in the thick everlasting green of the Amazon jungle, you can grab your fishing string and hook onto the fun.
There is a special lake for this activity, causing zero impact on the environment and to any vulnerable species. You can catch delicious Doncellas, Zungaros and naughty piranhas for dinner.
Big families of Giant Otters dwell in Blanco and Camungo Oxbow Lakes. There is a big chance to catch sight of them at a close distance (50 feet), either they are playing, fishing or sneaking away while we are paddling in the catamaran.
Although we can tour around the lakes, strict policies have been established to avoid any tourist impact on the otters environment and reproduction conduct by limiting tourism areas and securing place where the river otter shelter. Tambo Blanquillo is the only Tourism Company in Manu that carries out a constant and responsible control of the Giant River Otter in Blanco for its proper conservation.
The graph below shows the Giant Otter sighting percentage on Tambo Blanquillo and main oxbow lakes on each month of the last year.View less
Near the lodge there are two streams which are perfect for a nice afternoon kayaking. Along the stream you can find monkeys, dears, lowland tapirs, monkey species and if you are lucky a family of river otters.
Some bird we hope to find include the Orinoco Geese, Roseate Spoonbill, white-necked Heron, capped Heron, tiger Heron the Great Egret, Black Skimmer and the Jabiru. For most visitors this is the best way to enjoy the jungle.View less
An interesting fact reveal that 25% of medical drugs in the pharmaceutical industry derives from rainforests plants, but only 1% of the 15,000 plants present in the rainforest have been chemically analyzed. Its a matter of time for the rainforest to unveil its most safeguarded and hidden secrets to science.
For the moment we are building a garden with native medical plants used by natives, such as Sangre de Grado and Uña de Gato, Also, we are reforesting the Blanquillo Island with magnificent rainforest trees such as oak and cedar. These trees serve as home and diet supplement for Woodpeckers, three species of Macaws and other species of birds and monkeys. Future projects include the planting of natives trees called Chihuahuaco, Tornillo and the Ceiba Tree locally known as Lupuna.View less
Next to our New Lodge we are building a Special Trail System for Birdwatchers. We have planted native fruit tree on a secondary forest to attract a great variety of bird species.
Flycatchers, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, tanagers, parrots and parakeets are everywhere. Its possible to witness daily bird activity thanks to near presence of the Blanquillo Macaw Clay Lick.View less