Tambopata National Reserve
The intimate Heath River provides the fastest and easiest route to the uninhabited, unhunted core of these parks, a vast 2.5-million-acre (one-million-hectare) wilderness full of the five top predators of the Amazon–Jaguar, Giant Otter, Black Caiman, Harpy Eagle, and Anaconda. The unhunted region of Manu (the other great Peruvian nature reserve) is only 750,000 acres (300,000 hectares) and demands more money and time to visit.
The Heath River features the world’s most accessible large macaw lick, which has registered up to 260 large macaws in one day, making it one of the five largest recorded macaw licks in the world.
Though all five of these licks are spectacular, the Heath Lick is by far the most economical to visit, making it ideal for a short Amazon itinerary to combine with the Inca sites of Cusco and Machu Picchu. The Heath lick is the only one of the five that can be reached the same day that you fly by jet from Cusco, thus saving one or two nights over other licks.
The biological diversity of the Tambopata-Candamo zone is in itself extraordinary. The area is home to 90% of Peru’s species of amphibians, reptiles and fish species living in continental waters, in addition to half the country’s known bird and mammal species.
Genetic diversity, the entire genetic heritage of all plant and animal species, is so vast that it guarantees that cientists can improve on species currently in use and the selection of varieties. However, genetic diversity is suffering from genetic erosion and could eventually become a non-renewable resource.