Wilderness Experience Tropical Herpetology in Peru

Research course in South America

Herpetology in South America

The Amazon rainforest is one of the richest regions in the world in terms of bird species; more than 1000 species have been reported there, including 265 endemic species. Such richness depends on geological and climatic events that have taken place throughout the Earth’s history. In particular, the Peruvian Amazon is recognized as a biodiversity hotspot of some renown. At the research station which will be your new home you can find almost 20% of all reptile- and amphibian-species worldwide, which give access to several research and conservation opportunities relevant to this fascinating group of animals. Students participating in this course will learn a variety of approaches to gain a deeper understanding about taxonomy and ecology of reptiles/amphibians as well as conservation-methods. Most of the time will be spent in field activities, complemented by nightly lectures. This is intended to foster an interest in conducting scientific research, with a special focus on developing analytical skills relevant to tropical biology.

This Wilderness Experience in the Peruvian rainforest will allow you to interact actively with the nature and its inhabitants. The rainforests of southeastern Peru shelter more species of plants, insects, birds and other animals than anywhere else, but many of them are seriously endangered. Thus, research as well as broad monitoring-programs are important tools to ensure their survival. You will have the chance to work in a beautiful and unique environment, in the middle of untouched nature. Around the project site you can undertake boat trips on the Los Amigos River, explore the river branches or go on some nocturnal hikes to spice up your free time. This experience will leave you with more than average travel memories.

Services Our Services


  • Placement in the course
  • Accommodation during the course
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • All meals during the course
  • Assistance with selecting travel insurance
  • Course-related equipment
  • Assistance with booking flights
  • English speaking support by long-term experienced staff
  • Pre-departure information pack
  • 24/7 support throughout the course
  • Airport pick up and drop off

Not included

  • Flight to/from Puerto Maldonado
  • Meals in Puerto Maldonado
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses and optional excursions
  • Visa fees


Start DateDurationCostNATUCATE-ID W.PER-003
2 Weeks 2.050 €

The prices stated in euros are approximate values. Due to sharp fluctuations in the exchange rate of the Dollar, all prices will be calculated at the time of enquiry.



You do not need any special prior or specialised knowledge – the only thing that counts is your enthusiasm for biodiversity and the nature and the readiness to learn and participate actively. All of the participants are to be at least 18 years old and have a good knowledge of English, enabling them to understand the instructions given by the course supervisor and the research literature. The application documents include a curriculum vitae, a document concerning your state of health and a vaccination certificate. You will also requested to provide references from your university or employer. The application process also includes Skype interviews with the NATUCATE team and our partner organisation.

We recommend that you apply early as experience has shown that your chance of obtaining a place in the project is better if you do so.


Everyone interested in the our field courses in Peru aware that these courses aim at educating the participants. The courses have a set content and deal with a variety of topics that are introduced in English. A number of theoretical and practical examinations as well as presentations in English are part of the learning experience and can be challenging for non-native speakers.

Please note that the courses are not simply safari excursions but require effort. But if you are interested and also willing to learn something completely new, the challenges and tasks will be manageable for you. You should not get discouraged – feel free to contact us so we can discuss the detailed learning plan and explain the general procedure of the courses to you.

Details Tropical Herpetology Peru


Research Course Herpetology

Your adventure begins at Puerto Maldonado International Airport. An employee will pick you up and take you to a Hostel in Puerto Maldonado, where you are going to spend one night. The next day you will head out to Laberinto from where you will take a boat to your final destination. The boat will take a couple of hours to bring you safely to your future home: Los Amigos Biological Field Station. During the first days at the field site course participants learn about safety, research ethics and how to collect and prepare spatial data which is collected in one of the world’s most diverse rainforests.

In this course, participants will develop an understanding of the natural history, anatomy, ecology, and conservation of neotropical reptiles and amphibians. We will additionally examine the roles of chemicals in herpetological studies, focusing on defense, food capture, aboriginal use, and modern pharmacology. Moreover the students will learn about different field-research methods such as telemetry and implementation of field studies. There will be a focus on practical work during daytime and nightly lectures which convey theoretical knowledge. Grades and certificates of completion are based on participant’s assignments and short exam. Depending on your university or college you might be able to get credit for this course. For any further information you are welcome to contact us.


Course subjects

The course topics are:

  • Field ethics, safety precautions, rules, and useful tips
  • Herpetological natural history and evolution
  • Herpetological identification and taxonomy
  • Reptile and amphibian conservation and management
  • Drift fence and leaf litter sampling
  • Audio recording and transects
  • Disease and biosecurity
  • Toxicology of Amazonia

We realise that some of the people on our projects want to see as many animals as possible in their natural environment. However, this is dependent on a number of factors. Please note that NATUCATE makes no guarantee that you will see a variety of animals, as nature doesn’t always give us what we want. To make such a guarantee would be unprofessional and against our corporate philosophy.



On your arrival and departure day you will stay one night at a hostel in Puerto Maldonado. These two days breakfast will be prepared for you at the hostel. For lunch and dinner you may visit downtown Puerto Maldonado for some culinary experiences. During your stay in the project you will reside at the Los Amigos research station. The station is located at the foot of the Southern Andes in the Amazon rainforest. The research station has two dormitories in which you will share bunk beds with other course participants. The station also has shared bathrooms. During the day you will be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner. All of the meals will be taken together with the others in a large dining room. Thanks to the balanced food supply a vegetarian diet is also possible, even though fresh vegetables might not be available daily. In any case you should inform us about your choice of diet in advance. The research station also consists of a laboratory, a classroom and a library. The whole property is surrounded by trees and bushes and covers an area of two hectares. Sometimes a small group of monkeys comes to visit the site.


Everybody interested in our field courses abroad should be able to adjust to entirely unfamiliar standards of living in their future host country. Therefore, we would like to point out the importance of being flexible and adaptable regarding the accommodation and sanitary facilities provided by the project. Those are very basic and – depending on the project – cannot be compared to European standards. The equipment and furnishings are limited to a minimum; air conditioning is not available. Depending on your host country occasional power blackouts or water outages are quite common. Please contact us if you have further questions about your accommodation. We are pleased to provide you with comprehensive information since we would like you to feel entirely prepared for your time abroad.

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