Frequently Asked Questions
Health and Safety
You will have to provide proof of a normal vaccination record (as listed here by the CDC). For travel to Peru, we require that you also get the following vaccines:
- Typhoid (Required)
- Tetanus (Required)
- Rabies (Primate Monitoring and Wildlife Health programs need the Rabies pre-exposure vaccine series. This is not required for any other program.)
- COVID-19 (if you have trouble getting this, please contact us.)
- Yellow Fever (Strongly recommended; discuss with doctor. Note current shortages in the U.S. The CDC website includes a link to locations that will offer the Stamaril vaccine instead of the Sanofi Pasteur vaccine. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/news-announcements/yellow-fever-vaccine-access)
If you have the flu shot for the year, all the better. Find a travel clinic and get your shots EARLY.
The field station and the course do not provide any medications to students. As such, they must bring a small medical kit for minor issues:
- A course of broad-spectrum antibiotics (ciprofloxacin is a common and effective one)
- A course of antibiotics for digestive trouble, and a small number of pills of immodium (to be used in emergencies only)
- Electrolyte/rehydration packs (hint: the juice flavoured ones are much nicer than the medical ones)
- Anti-fungal cream/powder (effective on yeast), particularly if you are prone to these infections
- Anti-itch medication: over-the counter lotions are ok
- Camphorated alcohol – a local anti-itch/disinfecting method that we highly recommend (can be purchased in Puerto Maldonado)
- Antacids to comfort your stomach
- Band aids, tweezers
- An Epipen for any serious allergies
- Antihistamines for mild allergies (something like Claritin/Zyrtec, and/or Benadryl for more acute reactions)
- Thermometer to self-monitor for signs of fever, possibly associated with COVID-19
This is the Amazon rainforest, and as with all tropical areas, there are disease risks. Unlike towns, however, this field station does not hold enough people to serve as constant reservoirs for many diseases.
As such, malaria is not a major concern, and none of our principal researchers take malaria prophylactics. Your travel doctor will most likely disagree because their information is about the region in general, and it is true that malaria can be contracted in Puerto Maldonado. As such, the choice to take malaria prophylactics is entirely personal – if you feel better about it, take the medication. FPI offers no recommendation or medical advice whatsoever.
In recent years, there have been a few cases of dengue at this site, although it is hard to verify whether researchers have contracted it in town or at the field station. There is no vaccine, but there are cures – we remain watchful for this disease.
Leishmaniasis is a tropical disease that is found at this site – and several researchers have contracted it in past years. It is not a painful disease, but it can be unpleasant if left untreated. As such, if any student or researcher receives a bite that does not heal in a week, we advise them to get tested locally. This has worked for everybody in preventing leishmaniasis, and will be the rule for our team at this field site. In short, any misgivings you may have about using high concentration DEET are significantly outweighed by the unpleasantness of leishmaniasis. Treatment for leishmaniasis can be obtained in Peru or abroad at a travel/CDC clinic.
Although there is a history of Zika transmission in Peru, there is not currently an outbreak. However, bear in mind that most people who contract the virus remain asymptomatic. Since Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are the primary vector of the virus, we again recommend DEET, loose-fitting clothes, and long sleeves to prevent bites – especially during the day.
Chiggers are annoying but do not carry disease. They are small mites of the family Trombiculidae (also known as harvest mites) that can cause you some irritation at Los Amigos. They cause small welts, like mosquito bites, that can itch very badly. They clear up quickly, and there are rarely any scars. Using insect repellent can help in preventing these bites. Also avoid directly on the ground, and tuck your shirt into your pants. Wearing the tall rubber boots will also help greatly. FYI, the mites are 1/60th of an inch long (nearly invisible to the naked eye) and are long gone by the time the bites start itching.
Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic is a concern everywhere. Please refer to out COVID-19 update page to stay informed about how it is affecting our programs in Peru.
Currently, Peru requires inbound international passengers on commercial flights to have either a negative real-time COVID-19 molecular (RT-PCR), negative antigen test result, or a medical certificate of epidemiological discharge that is no more than 72 hours old after being issued and before boarding the plane. All passengers must also complete an affidavit of health (found here: https://e-notificacion.migraciones.gob.pe/dj-salud/). These requirements may change, so we advise you to contact your airline days prior your flight to gather the proper documentation and regularly consult the airport website for the latest guidance: https://www.lima-airport.com/eng/for-passengers/covid-19-protocol/arrival-protocol (in English) and https://www.lima-airport.com/esp/para-pasajeros/protocolo-covid-19/antes-de-viajar (in Spanish).
While everyone will have their temperatures taken upon arrival by an infrared thermometer, we strongly suggest that visitors add their own thermometers to the first-aid kits that they bring, and check themselves regularly.
The first signs of suspected symptoms or a temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit should be reported immediately to the field station managers and FPI senior scientists. They will have protocols for isolating symptomatic guests, arranging viral testing, notifying those you have been in contact with, and evacuating you to the nearest hospital if necessary. (Note that travel to a hospital and any care there is at your own cost; make sure your insurance policy covers this.)
The nearest healthcare facilities are in Puerto Maldonado, which is approximately 4-5 hours downriver from our field site. In that city, our Peruvian partners have a doctor certified by MINSA (the Ministry go Health). There are also other private and public healthcare options. The private facilities are more expensive (one of the reasons we require participants to have travel medical insurance), but they will likely be able to treat patients faster if public facilities are full.
The second option would be in Cusco, which is approximately 10 hours by car from Puerto Maldonado. There are more clinics in Cusco than Puerto Maldonado.
If a person must leave the field station to get treatment and recover from COVID-19, they will be permitted to return after 7 days with a negative antigen test. A negative molecular test will let someone back to the station after 14 days.
According to the U.S. State Department website, you must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 calendar days prior to boarding a flight bound for the United States, and sign an attestation confirming this. The test must be either NAAT (nucleic acid amplification tests such as PCR or LAMP), or it can be a viral antigen test. These tests reflect your current status, whereas an antibody test does not.
You can get your COVID test at many clinics in Lima. We recommend getting this test at UniLabs. They have a location at the airport and in Miraflores (about a 35 minutes by taxi from the airport). You must purchase the test online, then they send you an e-ticket for confirmation by email. If you have trouble reading Spanish on their website, we will be available to help. The cost of these tests ranges from 160 to 245 soles ($44-$68 USD), and the results should arrive within 1 to 12 hours via email or Whatsapp. You should get tested the day you arrive in Lima, as soon as you can.
In the event that you test positive, your travel/health insurer may be able to cover expenses related to an extended stay/repatriation. You are advised to contact them before traveling to Peru to understand what they cover, recommend, and require.
Please also review the COVID-19 protocols of the Lima airport.
Some people stay at the Costa del Sol Wyndham at Lima Airport, which is just a two minute walk. Otherwise, Girasoles in the neighbourhood of Mirasoles is an option. Prices can be found on their websites.
We also suggest checking hostelworld.com for budget accommodations.
Please note that if you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will need to verify whether the location where you are staying is willing and authorized to accept you for a quarantine period.
FPI staff and partners will be able to help you prior to travel and during your stay. Before departure, we will share numbers to contact one another via WhatsApp, which is HIGHLY recommended for your to download before arriving.
The Peru embassy site is also a vital resource for information.
U.S. tourists in Peru may consult iPeru for the latest guidance for tourists. iPeru has a WhatsApp number that will respond to questions in English: (+51) 944 492 314.
The field station’s safety protocols apply to everybody: staff, researchers, guests, and visitors.
For every new person arriving at the field station, the science director will go over the COVID-protocol with them personally and explain to them about the mandatory use of face masks, hand sanitizer, table seating, and social distancing. There are planned spaces equipped for maximum distance between people.
People living or travelling together in a group for more than 14 days can share the same table at the commissary and will be treated as a “grupo de aislamiento,” keeping distance from other guests or groups. Room service and/or separate seating at different tables will be arranged for all others.
The field station also practices “cuarentena laboral.” This means that there are separate working areas, and you will be expected to avoid using workspaces and equipment that is designated for other individuals or groups.
Regarding the 14-day quarantine for all visitors in Peru, travellers are able to quarantine at their final destination if they get there within 24 hours after landing in Lima. The field station where we work can serve as this site, as they meet all government-approved COVID protocols, and have the capacity to maintain social distance between all visitors.
Our Peruvian partners who operate the field station can optionally send an additional ‘letter of invitation’ in Spanish, to be shown at customs, which states that the field station will serve as a quarantine location. To receive this letter, let us know well in advance. They can personalize the letter, send it to you electronically, then you can print it at home before travelling.
Update: As of March 15, 2021, the Government of Peru announced that travelers who take an antigen test and receive a negative result after their first day of arrival may suspend the 14-day quarantine requirement. Travelers may take an antigen test at the airport, a local hospital, or any laboratory authorized by the Ministry of Health (MINSA). Travelers who test positive must complete the 14-day quarantine at either the Pan-American Village or location of their choice in coordination with health authorities.
Negative tests are not an official requirement for those arriving at the field station, but a strong recommendation. Researchers from different institutions and others who are not affiliated with FPI also use this field station, and while temperatures will be taken and screening questions will be asked of everyone, there is no guarantee that an asymptomatic or presymptomatic person won’t be present. This means that masks, social distancing, and other detailed protocols are especially important. In addition, this is why we are strongly pushing for all participants to get vaccinated.
Our enhanced protocols in laboratory or wildlife handling situations are designed to meet or exceed scientific best practices. They are drafted in conjunction with our Peruvian partners (Conservacion Amazonica), Peruvian authorities (SERFOR) and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) of our affiliate research universities. Broadly speaking, they will involve strict use of face shields, N95 masks, and gloves. Participants will receive a detailed procedures pamphlet prior to departing for the field site, and may be required to complete a short online training on our website.
We take the health and safety of all participants very seriously at this site. We look out for each other and take care of our team. The field site has stringent protocols on safety procedures in the case of an emergency that we are obliged to follow. If anyone should need medical help, they can be transported downriver to town in a matter of three hours, where they can be treated or evacuated to Lima for treatment. This is why medical insurance that is valid while abroad is essential. Neither the field station nor Field Projects International will be responsible for costs associated with medical emergencies.
Before being accepted to the program, applicants must submit a brief medical history evaluation. This is not meant to discriminate against people, but instead to protect them from being in a situation where they are at a serious or life-threatening disadvantage.
All participants must sign a participation contract, without which applicants cannot participate in our courses or research programs. We make special references to an alcohol policy in our participation contract – we have a zero tolerance policy at this field station. You will also sign a sexual and gender-based misconduct contract (and so will your supervisors). This is not to suggest that this issue is a problem at this field site in particular. However, there has been a large amount of reporting on these matters in the press of late, and we want to assure you that we take any such violations extremely seriously. We want our participants to be as safe and comfortable as possible.
Preparing to travel to Peru
When booking plane tickets, you should land in Puerto Maldonado EXACTLY on your program start date (this often means you will depart from your home country the day before).
You don’t want to arrive earlier because Peru regulations give you only 24 hours upon arrival to quarantine at your final destination (in this case, the field station). Also, you want to minimize time spent in contact with people as much possible before arriving. On the other hand, if you arrive later than your start date, you will not be able to travel upriver to the field station with the rest of us.
On your way back home, you will want to add two days to the end of your program. You will spend one additional night in Puerto Maldonado (PEM), and one additional night in Lima, giving yourself ample time to obtain a negative covid-19 test that is required for travel back to your home country (this is the policy as of the present time).
The final date of your program is the day that you head back downriver to PEM by boat. You do NOT want to schedule a flight that same day because there may be delays with the boat or other transportation issues that cause you to arrive late. Instead, reserve your flight for the next morning (flights start departing to Lima from PEM in the late morning).
Upon arrival in Lima you will want to go obtain a covid-19 test the same day. A negative test is a requirement to re-enter the U.S., and documentation will be requested in order to board your flight. Results can take up to 12 hours to be received, so we recommend that you reserve a flight back home as late as possible the day after you arrive in Lima.
|Arrival in PEM||Return to PEM||PEM to Lima||Home from Lima|
|May 30||June 26||June 27||June 28|
|June 13||July 10||July 11||July 12|
|June 27||July 24||July 25||July 26|
|July 11||August 7||August 8||August 9|
* If you have received a special permission to travel outside of these program dates, verify your itinerary with us directly before booking your flights.
** It is very likely that you will need to buy your local flights between Lima and Puerto Maldonado separately from your international flight between your home and Lima, so that you will have a sufficient layover in Lima in order to get a COVID test.
We will have someone meet you at the airport and take you to the hostel where we always stay. This hostel booking will be arranged by us. Very, very early the next morning we will head upriver to the field station.
Yes. We will book and pay for your stay in Puerto Maldonado, both for the first night of your program, and for the last night of your program. We have long used Hostel Tambopata as our favorite place to stay.
No. It will be your responsibility to arrange and pay for your stay in Lima. However, we will be available to help with those bookings, if needed.
The currency in Peru is the Peruvian Nueve Sol. We say 1 “sol” and many “soles.” The currency exchange rate is ~ 2.7 soles to 1 USD. Changing US dollars in Peru is a difficult thing to do; you will need to bring brand new,high-denomination bills, without any blemishes on them, for a bank to exchange them for you. You can find currency exchanges easily in the airport in Lima as well as in Lima city. In Puerto Maldonado you will have to change currency at a bank (so keep in mind bank working weeks and hours). Thus, the easiest way to get money is to use an ATM via a credit or debit card.
Things to consider: Bring two cards, in case one doesn’t work. Test that your pins work on both of your cards before you come to Peru. You can use an ATM in Lima and Puerto Maldonado very easily. The most you can withdraw in a single day from an ATM is 700 soles or ~$260. ATM charges can apply, including conversion fees, so check with your bank about that. Withdrawing from an ATM is convenient, and prevents you from carrying around a lot of cash, which is always a much safer way to travel.
Traveler’s checks are entirely a thing of the past – just don’t buy them!
You do not need to have cash on you at the station except for possibly 100-200 soles at the very most, for emergencies. There’s nothing to buy, no stores to spend it on; cash, in short, is irrelevant in the rainforest. You only need enough to allow you to return back to town in comfort.
What the field station provides:
- Electricity every evening
- Mosquito net
- Bed sheets & one towel
- Safe drinking water
- Showers and facilities
What you will need to bring:
- Rubber boots
- Binoculars (suggested models/specs: 10×42 or 8×42 Nikon Monarch/Trailblazer)
- Water bottle
- First-aid kit
- Ziplock bags
- Fast-drying clothes
- Rain jacket/poncho
- Laptop – for data entry, assignments, and practice with software. Also good for internet. Please download Garmin Basecamp prior to arrival.
- Pocket knife
- DEET-based repellent
- Long-sleeved shirts (lightweight, worn to protect arms from thorns and biting insects)
- Towel (one spare towel, fast-drying and thin)
- Shampoo/soap/body wash
- Day pack (small backpack to carry lunch, rainjacket, etc., in the field)
- Contact lenses
- Warm clothing (for cold weather: sweatshirt/ Yes jacket, wool hat, warm socks, gloves)
- Hat or bandana
- Wristwatch (digital, with a repeat countdown timer)
- Prescription eyeglasses (good idea to bring a spare pair in case they get lost or broken)
- Saline for lenses (preferably use contacts that you don’t have to change every day
*Hiking boots are not needed
*Please read sections below for additional information.
You will require gumboots (aka wellingtons or muck boots), which are knee-high rubber boots. These are essential for all activities, every day at the station. You can bring these from home or buy them in Puerto Maldonado. If you have unusually large feet, don’t risk it and please buy your boots at home. Select a natural colored or black pair, if possible. You will wear these boots every single day while you are in the forest, so if you’re bringing them from home, break them in if you can. If you have sensitive feet with arch trouble, please bring insoles for your boots.
A pair of sneakers will come in handy during your travels and for use while at camp itself. You will never wear flip-flops at camp, for your own safety. You may however prefer to bring a pair so that you can wear them to — or in — the shower.
Pack in something you can carry on your shoulders. Suitcases are not very practical (though people have managed with them). We recommend bringing a big duffel bag, or a backpack with most of your things in it. Try to make it waterproof, or buy some kind of waterproof cover. In the worst case scenario, though, you can put your whole bag in a giant plastic bag to keep it dry once you get to Puerto Maldonado. You’ll also need a small daypack when on site.
The most important things you need in the forest that we will not be providing (other than rubber boots) are your daypack, a water bottle, insect repellent, rain jacket or poncho, and a pair of binoculars. Additionally, for those joining us for research programs, a laptop (not a Chromebook) will be extremely helpful. In addition, a digital watch with a repeat timer will greatly assist those collecting behavioral data (see below). Check your packing list for more details.
Some other things to consider bringing include a penknife (check it with your luggage, don’t hand carry – it will get caught), a bandana or hat, and some kind of energy bar as an extra snack.
You will need to use a headlamp with LEDs at this site. This headlamp will be your best friend and is useful since it is hands-free. If you’re interested in seeing wildlife at night, bring one that is bright (high lumens) and that has a red light option, as the red light disturbs nocturnal animals a lot less. We suggest that you bring a rechargeable headlamp, or bring rechargeable batteries. This means that you must also obtain a small battery charger. If you can’t and have to bring regular batteries, please buy energy efficient ones so you use as few as possible, since you will have to take all batteries back with you and recycle them (you cannot leave them at the field station).
Yes. Make sure that you have something extremely reliable as an alarm clock – whether you use your phone or watch is up to you. Please buy a digital watch with a repeat timer – this last factor is essential in allowing you to collect behavioral data. When at the store, please specifically ask if you can set a timer for a specific duration (eg. 1 minute) that will continually beep every minute. That is what we mean by a repeat timer. If in doubt, purchase this watch from Amazon Smile, or something like it.
Passports are valuable items that you want to protect from mold in the rainforest. The best way to do this is to put them in small ziplock bags and then leave them entirely alone. Do the same with any cash you bring with you also. Paper gets moldy very quickly.
While the weather at the station is typically warm and pleasant (~24C or 75F), we do get moments of cold weather coming in from the Andes. We call these friajes and they can last anywhere from a day to a week. At these times, temperatures can drop as low as 8C (~46F) but tend to be around 12C (~54F). Now a lot of you have definitely experienced temperatures a lot worse than this, but experiencing this type of weather in the rainforest is quite different from anything you have been through. Since the station is designed to keep people cool for most of the year, all the buildings are made of wood and wire mesh (to keep bugs out). Unfortunately, this lets the cold weather right in, so you have to be prepared for this to happen. Bring at least one pair of warm socks, a pair of light gloves and a hoody and some thick sweatpants. If you tend to feel colder than most, bring a little more warm clothing than listed above.
We cannot promise you a friaje but they occur often from May to July, so you have to be prepared for one to happen!
Field Station Amenities
You will be provided with three meals at the field station each day – breakfast (6 – 7 am), lunch (12-1 pm) and dinner (6:30 – 7:30 pm). These meals are healthy and will fill you up, but this being the middle of the rainforest, don’t expect to get all your food groups represented in the same way you try to eat while you are at home. If you are concerned, take a multi-vitamin while at the field station. Every single thing you eat has to be brought in by boat, so there are limitations on what will make the journey. Rice is a major staple of most every meal, with proteins, vegetables, and fruits widely available. The station has fabulous cooks who can make the tasty dishes with basic and wholesome ingredients. Vegetarians will sometimes get tofu and soy meat substitutes. Being vegan at this field site can be difficult (but not impossible).
You will also have access to cookies, crackers, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, at all times during the day (while you are at camp). If you think you will do better with Cliff or Lara bars (or the like), please bring some for yourself. Any additional treats you bring (including precious chocolate) will be fair game for a lot of small rainforest creatures, so bring plenty of ziplock bags in which to place your food. Also avoid leaving wrappers in your rooms because that will attract some curiosity from miniature wildlife.
The station will provide you with sheets and towels during your stay. However, we strongly encourage you to bring a spare towel for use while your present one is in the wash or drying. It really sucks to be without a towel!
We strongly encourage you to bring your laptops to the field station, as well as your cell phones. They will come in handy for data entry, entertainment, and for checking email. Due to the intermittent/slow nature of internet, as well as the need to use Garmin Basecamp software, Chromebooks are not recommended at all.
Electronics have to be treated differently in the rainforest than you would anywhere else. Do not bother to bring a soft sleeve for the laptop with you, because it will suck up moisture from the air and will envelope your laptop in it, which is bad news. We find that simple plastic ziplock bags work better than sports dry bags. We recommend that you purchase at least two ziplock bags that are large enough to fit your computer. You can also purchase silicon gel packages online (Amazon Smile or Jake’s Silica Gel are good places to try, along with local stores like REI). Put a couple of 5 gram packets inside the ziplock with your computer and bring at least 2 more packets with you.
Peru uses a different set of plugs than the U.S. or England. The field site, however, will have extension cords and power strips that accept US plugs. If you want to plug things in while you travel, though, you might consider picking up a small converter for your electronics that will fit plugs in Peru (see here for a full explanation). The Peruvian system uses 220 volts, instead of 120/140 volts as in the U.S. Please CHECK your electronics to make sure they are compatible before plugging them in at the station or anywhere in Peru. If they don’t work at both voltages, you will need to bring a step up converter such as this one. Also note that you will not find three-pronged sockets in most places, so definitely at least bring a three-to-two prong modifier (such as this) for your electronics.
Electricity at the field station is now provided throughout the day, during which you will charge your electronics as needed. Do not bring a hair dryer, electric razor, or electric toothbrush because those are very much considered an unnecessary luxury at this site. We will prioritize charging absolutely everything else over those items.
Internet access at the field station is wireless, but slow. This means that smartphones, iPads, tablets, and computers of all kinds should be able to connect to the internet.
Please note that since the internet depends on a satellite connection, weather can interfere with it in two ways – one, messing with the signal and two, not allowing solar panels to charge long enough to power the wireless router. Thus, the internet may not be available at all hours of the day. Most likely, neither will you, since you’ll be in the forest fully occupied. We strongly recommend that you do not rely on it to be available to you every single day. See the section on phones to learn about other ways in which to communicate with home from the field station.
The best way to stay in touch with your family is through your phone. The phone network accessible at the field site is called “Claro.” Contact your cell service provider and make sure that you can pick up Claro service while in Peru. Then, purchase an international calling plan, pre-paid minutes, or some kind of international texting plan. This will allow you to communicate with your family at home, as and when you want.
Things to consider: If your phone is not compatible with Claro, you can rent a cell phone in the Lima airport with a local number. You can communicate by services like Whatsapp while you are in Puerto Maldonado because your hostel has wireless internet service, but remember that the internet can sometimes be slow or inaccessible at the field station.
You will do your own laundry at the field station, so bring (preferably) biodegradable laundry detergent from the US with you. You can purchase non biodegradable detergent as well as clothes pins (to secure your washing to a line for drying) in the Puerto Maldonado market.
Travel and Stay in Puerto Maldonado
Please make sure to arrive in Puerto Maldonado on the exact date specified for your program.
For departure, please plan to leave Puerto Maldonado the day AFTER the end date listed for your program. This will assure that you do not miss your flight because of boats running late or other issues.
For example, if your program runs from June 1st to July 1st, please arrive in Puerto Maldonado on June 1st, and fly out of Puerto Maldonado no earlier than July 2nd.
If you have any confusion about this at all when booking your flights, please contact us (email@example.com).
No, it does not. You will be using either Taca, LATAM or StarPeru to fly the last leg between Lima and Puerto Maldonado. It does not matter which flight you book on that day at all. All flights arrive before 4:00pm and the earlier you fly in, the more time you get to spend in the town and the market.
*Please make sure to arrive in Puerto Maldonado on the date specified for your program. If you have any confusion about this at all when booking your flights, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You can take a bus from Lima to Puerto Maldonado, but it is a very long journey so give yourself a lot of time to finish this. People frequently experience delays in bus travel from Lima to Cusco, and sometimes from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado. Traveling by bus from Lima to Cusco takes ~21 hours non-stop, and tickets cost between $65 and $85 for a one-way ticket. Traveling from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado takes ~11 hours and occurs only overnight at a cost of ~ $30 each way. (These prices are based on bookings at this site – note that we are not responsible for the failures of third party websites) If you are late in arriving to Puerto Maldonado, the scheduled boat might leave without you and you will have to take a local boat taxi to the site. We strongly advise you to give yourself plenty of time if you are planning to rely on bus service in Peru for local transportation.
When all program participants have submitted their travel information, we will collate this information and send you an Arrival Packet. This document will let you know if others are traveling on the same flight/bus as you, and provide you with their email addresses so you can get in touch in advance (if you want to). You will also receive exact instructions on what to do when you land, and an image of your PIs or team leaders so you can look out for them at the airport/bus station. If they cannot be there, we will arrange hostel transportation and/or a trusted local fixer to meet you. The Arrival packet will also provide you with instructions on what to do if you have been delayed, or if your luggage should go missing. In addition, it will include local contact information for your instructors so that you can get in touch with them if needed to let them know if your travel plans were forced to change for some reason.
Getting to the station: You will travel as a group to the field station on a water taxi. Boats depart from Laberinto, a town ~ 1 hour from Puerto Maldonado. Vans will be arranged to take you from Puerto Maldonado to Laberinto. The journey to the field station takes ~6 hours, going upstream on the Madre de Dios River.
Returning to Puerto Maldonado: Return journeys can happen in less than 3.5 hours, because you will be traveling by boat downstream on the Madre de Dios River. Taxis will take you from Laberinto to Puerto Maldonado.
From the airport, you will be picked up and taken to a local hostel with whom we have partnered for many years. You will likely be sharing rooms with others. Women preferring not to share dorm rooms with men will have their requests honored. You do not have to pay for this accommodation, as it will be covered by the program fee. You will spend one night in Puerto Maldonado both before you go to the field station, and possibly one more after you return from the station.
Individual lunches and dinners in Puerto Maldonado will not be covered by the program, and snacks are highly recommended for the boat journey to the field station. Meals in Puerto Maldonado are very affordable. For example, a fancy dinner at a very nice restaurant will cost ~$10. Other meals can be purchased for less than that amount. You will thus be responsible for a lunch (possible, depending on your flight) and dinner on your first and last day in Puerto Maldonado. Breakfast in Puerto Maldonado will be provided at your hostel (on the last morning only, since we typically leave for the station too early in the morning to have the hostel breakfast).