While many people head to Brazil to explore the Amazon rainforest, this diverse and wonderful eco-system also covers about 60 per cent of Peru. This region is one of the richest places on earth in its startling diversity of natural life. There are more than 800 species of birds living in the Peruvian Amazon, more than 2,500 different kinds of butterflies and more than 7,000 flowering plants.
There are lots of different ways to explore this dense and lovely forest, and experience the world’s last great wilderness first hand.
There are many eco-lodges in the Peruvian Amazon, many of them located in the Tambopata Candamo Reserved Zone. This protected area was created in 1990 to protect this corner of the forest, and covers an area the same size as Connecticut. There are more than 200 species of mammals and 32 different kinds of parrots living in this area alone.
From basic accommodations to luxury resorts, there are many options when it comes to choosing the perfect eco-lodge for you. Every eco-lodge encourages tourism to the region, and the money they generate is put back into conservation projects and the local population.
Amazon river cruises
Of course, one of the best ways to experience this region is by travelling on the river itself. There are many options for Amazon River cruises, which will take you travelling hundreds of miles down the Amazon and some of its spectacular tributaries. Your comfortable river boat will chug past manatees and crocodiles, as you experience the river the way it has always been explored.
Amazon guided treks
You can also arrange to go on a guided trek through different parts of the jungle. There are several tour operators who lead treks through Iquitos, which is the northern gateway to the Peruvian Amazon. You’ll hike for several days, camping or staying in jungle lodges, and spotting wild spider monkeys, giant river turtles, and giant otters.
Many of these treks also offer the chance to see the jungle from a bird’s eye perspective on a canopy tour. Canopy tours are conducted along a series of suspended walkways, high up in the jungle canopy. More than half of the incredible species found in the rainforest live high up in the trees, closer to the sunlight, and walking along the canopy walkways is your only chance to glimpse this beautiful world.
Many tours, cruises and treks also offer stops at local native villages, where locals are happy to show you a little of their daily life and barter for handicrafts. This region of Peru isn’t travelled enough for this experience to have become too touristy, so it is actually a lovely chance to see a little of a lifestyle very different from your own. People are friendly and welcoming, and these tours are a helpful part of their economy.