We’re currently giving talks about our work and how you can get involved! Interested? Click here for more details.

  • Overview
  • Objectives
  • Skills you gain
  • Costs to Consider
  • Site Conditions

Given the low levels of vaccination in Peru and therefore the susceptibility of the remote Amazonian communities with which we work to infections, we are not at this stage proposing to run expeditions to Peru in 2022. However, travel advisories and conditions on the ground change rapidly, and if by early 2022 it is looking as though Peru is possible, we will be bringing forward the 2023 options and run them in 2022. Our partners and the local communities with which we work are desperate for the Opwall teams to return so we would like to run in 2022 if at all possible. However, if you want to be sure of joining an expedition in 2022 then it would be best to look at one of the other countries

Options include:

  • 2023 dates available:
    2 weeks – 11 June – 23 June 2023
    2 weeks – 25 June – 7 July 2023
    2 weeks – 9 July – 21 July 2023
    2 weeks – 23 July – 4 August 2023
    4 weeks – 11 June – 7 July 2023
    6 weeks – 25 June – 4 August 2023

Unique Amazonian research ship experience

The research team are based on a historic research ship moored in the Yarapa river and also operate from a field camp in an indigenous village on the Tahuayo river. In your first week you will be having a series of lectures on Amazonian wildlife and survey methods. You will then be rotating between a series of projects including boat-based surveys of pink and grey dolphin populations, gillnet and rod surveys of the fish communities and point counts of the macaws and wading birds. As water levels drop over the season, the ecology of the flooded forests changes and you will record the transition from high to low water while on site. During these falling water level periods, water birds migrate to this site to predate on the fish fry that are returning to the river from the flooded forest. Foot-based surveys of the flooded forests and transitional forests include forest structure surveys, mist net surveys of the understorey birds, butterfly surveys, terrestrial frog surveys, camera trap points for big cats, tapirs, peccary and other terrestrial mammals, and distance sampling for primate species and other arboreal mammals. In the evening, you will have the opportunity to join fishing bat, amphibian and caiman surveys.

Peru - Amazonian Research Objectives

The primary study site is an area of seasonally flooded forest that connects the Pacaya-Samira National Reserve and the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Community Reserve. Surveys are conducted in the forest and white-water systems of the Lower Yarapa River from the confluence with the Amazon upriver towards its origin in the Ucayali river. A secondary field site extends from a base within an Amazonian community in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Community Reserve, surveying the black water system of the Tahuayo River and surrounding forests. The overarching goal of this project is to help conserve the Peruvian Amazon through field research that provides the science base for biodiversity conservation. Community-based conservation dominates the landscape of the western Amazon with large community-based reserves, community co-managed reserves and indigenous territories covering 98,800km². Opwall teams work closely with local communities, with particular areas of focus studying sustainable use of fish and bushmeat to support community management, and monitoring the recovery of endangered species such as giant river otter and jaguar populations. The flooded forests (várzea) of this area are particularly susceptible to global climate change which appears to be increasing the frequency of extreme flooding events and low water periods. Research will be conducted into how wildlife and people have been impacted by recent historic floods and droughts, especially in the flooded forests where effects have been devastating for terrestrial mammals, such as tapir, peccaries, armadillos and large rodents. Opwall teams contribute to one of the most extensive datasets in the Amazon and this information, managed by our Peruvian partners Fund Amazonia, is showing the impact of climate change on a range of taxa and on the livelihoods of indigenous people. It is being used to inform management decisions for community reserves and protected areas, and policy decisions for conserving the Peruvian Amazon.

  • Attend lectures/workshops on Amazonian ecology and conservation
  • Learn survey methods to sample fish, dolphins, wading birds, macaws, parrots and parakeets, understorey birds, bats, butterflies, caimans, amphibians, large mammals and game birds
  • Visit a local indigenous village and gain first-hand experience of Amazonian culture
  • Work with local Peruvian staff and try out some basic Spanish
  • Visit a manatee rescue centre and learn more about grassroot conservation programmes
  • Opwall fee
  • International flights in and out of Iquitos.
  • Internal travel – travel costs to and from the airport, overnight stays in Iquitos before and after the expedition, and transfers to and from the field site. This costs around £143 or $207 on average, with additional nights’ accommodation in Iquitos costing around £23 or $33.
  • Community fee – £22 or $32.
  • Vaccinations and prophylactic medicines – cost can vary depending on your healthcare provider.
  • All prices in GBP or USD unless specified.
  • Visa* (Not required for most nationalities, but click here to check)
  • Additional spending money (in Peruvian Soles)

Most of our volunteers fundraise for their expedition costs. Find out more.

In this area of Peru, the temperature varies very little, averaging between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius (70 and 90 Fahrenheit). The humidity is, as standard, over 95%, which can make it feel quite hot and sticky. During the evenings, the temperature drops and it can feel much cooler, but it tends not to drop below around 20 degrees.

Fitness level required
Medium. This is terrestrial-based project so you will be in the forest for many of your surveys. There are no hills and you will be on marked transects but the terrain can be extremely muddy and quite uneven, which can be made more challenging by the heat and humidity.

Creature comforts
Facilities in Peru are aboard a research boat at the main site and in traditional forest lodging at the satellite site (university students only). At both sites you will sleep in bunkbeds in dormitory-style rooms, and bathrooms are also shared, with bucket-flushed toilets and cold showers. It is unlikely that you will have any cell phone signal or wi-fi.


  • Peru
  • Rio Amazonas and the historical river boats
  • Community Lodging

Want to get involved with this project?


Want to get involved with this project?

   Latest from our blog

  • Jungle, Mud, Caimans and a PhD: Why I decided to ...

    Posted on 10th December 2019
    Written by and photos courtesy of Frederico M. Barroso While most young children soon outgrow their “dinosaur phase”, it is safe to say that I never quite did so. Grown on a healthy diet of abundant outdoor play sprinkled with ad libitum...
  • Peru – Geology Rocks, but Biology is Life

    Posted on 21st September 2018
    Written by and photos courtesy of Kathryn Christinsen This summer I spent nearly three weeks in Peru on the Pacaya – Samiria National Reserve helping biologists collect data through surveys. With no exaggeration, I can say it was simply indescribable and eye-opening....
  • Peru – Hip-hop hooray

    Posted on 10th November 2017
    Written by and Photos Courtesy of Emily Tees Cover Photo Courtesy of  Mark Bowler This summer I had the utmost pleasure of spending almost three weeks in the Peruvian Amazon with other Southridge students on a biology trip. While in Peru, we...
Wallace House, Old Bolingbroke, Spilsby, Lincolnshire PE23 4EX, UK
| +44 (0) 1790 763194 or +44 (0) 1522 405667 | info@opwall.com