In 1975 Explorer´s Inn was established in the Madre de Dios region of Peru with the aim of providing sustainable eco-tourism and providing critical support to research of the surrounding tropical forest.
Subsequent research and lobbying by the lodge led to the establishment of the Tambopata National Reserve, an area recognised as having incredible incredible biodiversity. Peru is second only to Columbia in bird biodiversity and Explorers Inn has over one-third of Peru’s bird species with the current cumulative list at 620 species including 19 species of parrots and macaws that regularly flock at local clay licks. The forest also contains 91 recorded mammal species and over 1500 butterfly species.
These incredible levels of biodiversity are in no small part due to the numerous habitat types in the surrounding forest that have some of the highest productivity levels in the world due to nutrient rich soils, unusual for Amazonia. Conservation efforts are also important, and the Tambopata Reserve remains the best area in Peru to see large charismatic mammals such as capybaras, tapirs, white-lipped peccaries, giant-river otters, large bodied monkeys such as red howlers, and the elusive jaguar. Explorers Inn continues to run today as a lodge for ecotourism and a home base for visiting researchers.
Now the lodge is looking for volunteers to assist in the surrounding tropical research as well as assist in the management of Peru’s oldest Amazonian lodge. This is an opportunity not to be missed for those who are interested in a future in conservation or tropical research. It is the chance to hone your research and conservation skills as well as live in Amazonian tropical forest! Click here for a list of current research activities underway at the lodge.
1. Assist in data collection and data processing for visiting researchers: Various scientists from around the World are currently running experiments and long-term studies of the surrounding areas. The availability of permanent volunteers to assists in data collection is of great value, while the volunteers themselves get crucial exposure to how scientific research is done.
2. Compile and update faunal and floral species lists: Since Explorer’s inception, various species lists have been compiled; however, the majority require updating, while others need to be restarted from scratch. This can be a highly entertaining activity as one searches for rare species throughout the forest and attempt to identify sightings in our field guides back at the lodge. Sightings of rare and charismatic species are of particularly importance, as their location is invaluable to our guides.
3. Trail maintenance: We have a network of trails that snake their way through- out the surrounding forest passing through several types of tropical forest. The sheer size of our private network means that many of these trails eventually be- gin to disappear or become impassable and need to be cleared. Small and simple bridges are also often needed to allow crossing during the rainy season.
4. Maintain and develop our botanical garden: The local people of the Madre de Dios province use a number of local plants for medicinal uses. The knowledge of which plants to use for which ailment has been passed down for generations. Many of these plants grow in our surrounding forest and our resident natural healer is cultivating them at the lodge.
5. Help develop our new permaculture farm: On the other side of the Tambopata River is a small area of land outside of the reserve that belongs to Explorer’s Inn. This area forms part of a buffer zone for the reserve. The forest there hosts a number of fruit tree species that have found their way there from surrounding agricultural areas. We want to use this land to join the permaculture revolution and grow our own food in symbiosis with the surrounding ecological processes. Mono-crop agriculture is a problem in Madre de Dios, and depressing considering the potential of an area with staggering primal productivity levels. We want to be an example to our surrounding neighbours and contribute to the epistemology of tropical permaculture.
6. Shadow and assist our local guides: Our local guides are fountains of knowledge on the surround forest and its fauna and flora. They are always willing to share this knowledge, but also sometimes need assistance when guiding large numbers of guests.
7. Construction of green infrastructure: We are constantly upgrading and improving our lodge and we take in more guests each year. Our local engineers and builders can always use an extra hand. We also construct things outside the lodge such as jetties for the local oxbow lakes, or bird and animal hides. To reduce costs and more importantly our impact on the surrounding forest, we are constantly looking for ways to become sustainable and improve our water and waste systems through jungle ingenuity!
8. Language exchange: We are a lodge staffed by young local people who are eager to improve their English, a crucial necessity for a career in tourism. We welcome any effort to help teach our staff and in exchange, learn and improve your Spanish, the most widely spoken language on the planet!
Volunteers will have their own rooms with a shared bathroom within the premises of the lodge.
Meals will be with the rest of the staff. Volunteers will sometimes be expected to assist and learn from our trained chefs in the preparation of their own food.
Football is played almost every day and volunteers are welcome to hone their skills against some of Peru’s finest! On days off we relax by swimming, fishing and or just playing games of cards. We also have a television with cable which we turn on in the evenings, especially for important football matches!
The lodge has electricity from our generator, for at least 4 hours a day for the charging of any local equipment and to power our lights at night. Local mobile phone signal is also available throughout most of the lodge, with full 3G signal in our canopy tower. This means that phone calls, Whatsapp and social media platforms are all available, depending on your service provider, or whether you buy a local sim card.
While all research equipment while be provided, we strongly recommend volunteers bring a pair of at least 10x32 binoculars for aid in the field as well as for personal use. Binoculars greatly improve one’s ability to observes fauna, particularly birds, in the forest where visibility if often difficult.
Volunteers will have four days off per month and will be allowed to return to the nearby town of Puerto Maldonado on any date provided the lodge and research supervisor is given two weeks’ notice. We will provide free transport to, and accommodation in, Puerto Maldonado. Accommodation includes a Wi-Fi connection. Application and payment details: Volunteers must be prepared to stay with us for at least one month and can stay there after for up to six months (Maximum length of a Peruvian tourist visa).
The cost of the volunteering for us which includes: accommodation, food, as well as transport to and from Puerto Maldonado and the lodge; is $750 per month, $750 per two months, and $750 per three months.
If you are interested please send us a mail indicating your interest or any inquiries you might have to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and we will get back to you within seven days. If you receive no reply, please check your spam folder before sending another email.
You can also contact our office by telephone: +51 950 186 820
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We recommend visitors bring a small backpack with:
** In the rainy season it is usually necessary to walk in rubber boots / wellies, which are provided by the lodge (up to size 10). During the dry season it may be possible to walk in walking boots.