Chuncho Claylick | The tallest clay wall in the Amazon
Chuncho Claylick is the largest clay lick in the world, deep in the heart of Tambopata National Park. Because the Amazon rainforest is kilometers away from the ocean, salt-free rainwater and foods are part of the wildlife’s natural diet. The majority of the minerals and nutrients in the jungle are commonly found on the banks of the rivers, deposited in clay walls ( also known as saltlicks or claylicks). Although these areas are quite rare and most of them very small, every morning they attract large flocks of colorful Amazonian parrots, macaws, tapirs, jaguars, or monkeys.
Tambopata is the most complex and biodiverse area in the world, with many species of butterflies, mammals, and birds. Although the distance between most of the lodges and Puerto Maldonado is quite large and the road is difficult to travel, the whole area is spectacular, and visiting a clay lick is a unique experience. Nothing can compare to the spectacle of dozens of free birds that are flying above you, just after the sunrise.
Tips & Tricks
We stayed for three days at Chuncho Lodge, where we traveled from Puerto Maldonado with our guide and a driver. Although the city is not so safe, we choose to travel by car, because it is the easiest way. The journey lasted more than one hour on the highway and two hours through the jungle, along a road covered in mud. At the end of it, we continued walking forward for about 20 minutes to reach the banks of the Tambopata river. The lodge was just on the other side, so from here we took a short boat ride across the river.
One day expedition at Chuncho Claylick
From the lodge we traveled by boat early in the morning, witnessing the most beautiful sunrise in the Amazon jungle. It took us about 40 minutes to reach Chuncho Claylick, and the journey down the Tambopata river was an adventure. We were lucky enough to spot a rare jaguar and other incredible wildlife living along the riverbanks.
Although we arrived before the birds began to gather in the nearby trees, being in the middle of the jungle was a surreal experience.
A large flock of loud scarlet macaws appeared first. Soon, they were followed by blue and gold and military macaws flying close to each other above us. After a while, their squawks and screams attract dozens of tiny colorful Amazonian parrots, creating the most unique spectacle in the Amazon.
Tips & Tricks
The medium-sized parrots are the first who dare to taste the clay, while macaws keep their distance and carefully observe the whole area from the distance. Only after they are fully convinced there is no nearby danger, they fly down from the top of the trees to enjoy snacking on the wall full of nutrients.