Among all wonders that Peru has, the Amazon river, and the place where it was born, means a privilege for the Inca country. This river, which gives its name to all Peruvian jungle, is divided into many others that will flow through all green areas of Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, even Bolivia. However, the Peruvian Amazon is more than beautiful rivers and lakes, the jungle means adventures, pleasant surprises, gastronomy, nature, and it is lovely and authentic. Do you want to visit it? So, Machu Travel Peru will give the most accurate information to make the best travel plan to Amazon. Let us inform you about the main virtues that saved the Peruvian Amazon.
Different reasons to visit the Amazon in Peru
- Peruvian Amazon: The location of the world’s lung
- The South Jungle: Madre de Dios and its two treasures
- Oxapampa and Chanchamayo, in the middle of the Peruvian Amazon
- The north jungle: Iquitos and Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
- Let yourself be enchanted by its Fauna
- Jungle people: The Peruvian who was born among trees
- Dare to prove its exotic gastronomy!
- Best ways to get to Amazon and some trip advice
- Activities that you can do at Peruvian Amazon
PERUVIAN AMAZON: THE LOCATION OF THE WORLD’S LUNG
The Amazon in Peru covers around 60% of the Inca Country. This percentage makes Peru the second country with the most amazon areas, just behind Brazil. Perhaps, only 13% of the Peruvian population lives there. Which is the cause? The agrestic and inhospitable territory that hosted a great variety of Flora and Fauna in Peru. So, we will begin by saying that the Amazon in Peru is located in the east part of Peruvian territory, adjacent to Brazil by the east, with Peruvian Mountain Range by the west, Colombia and Ecuador by the north, and Bolivia by the South.
This location causes the Amazon in Peru to have a tropical climate throughout all its territory. This origin to the Peruvian rainforest has two different seasons during the year, the Dry Season and Rainy Season:
- Dry Season: This period ranges from May to October. Humid climate and unusual lighter showers are present, however, if you want to visit the jungle in this season, you will find clear skies, strong sunshine, and beautiful sunsets.
- Rainy Season: The heavy rains, some thunder, and warm conditions are the characteristics of this season that goes from November to March. If you don’t want to get dirty with mud or support annoying mosquitos.
THE SOUTH JUNGLE: MADRE DE DIOS AND ITS TWO TREASURES
The southern Amazon is another of the main regions within the entire Peruvian jungle. Madre de Dios (Mother of God) is a political region of Peru located in the south Peruvian area. Its borders are, by the east with Bolivia and Brazil, with the south with the Puno region, by the west with Cusco, and the north with Ucayali. This Peruvian department is the most important region in the south of Amazon in Peru. It has a political capital department called Puerto Maldonado. As its name indicates, Puerto Maldonado is a port for those who want to begin an adventure in the Peruvian Amazon. Trekking throughout the jungle, bird watching, canoe ride, inter alia, are some of the most important activities that have a point of start in this city. Therefore, the tours in Puerto Maldonado can represent the beginning of a great adventure Peruvian Jungle.
Another important piece of information is about the southern jungle that is made up of beautiful nature reserves like the Manu National Park, and the Tambopata National Reserve. Compared to the northern region, the south is located at a higher altitude and with much more dry land. Therefore, it is usually an ideal destination for wildlife observation and hiking through beautiful natural landscapes.
Manu National Park
The Manu is the most important national park in the country. The park has great biodiversity in all south of Peru with more than 1.7 million hectares and is divided into three zones that you have to know before arranging any tour there. The first one is the Manu National Park itself, a restricted area in which only the indigenous tribes, the park rangers can enter, besides some researchers and scientists with government authorization, of course.
The Cultural Zone is the other one, this area receives the majority of tourists in Manu. The advantage of this nature zone is that you can reach it by car from Cusco, in a complete full day because it has easy access by road. The disadvantage is that you can find areas and many people, due it is located next to Cusco, and can lose its enchantment of quiet peace like other zones of Amazon in Peru.
The third one is the Manu National Reserve that is located much deeper into the jungle, next to Brazil, to get there you have to take a flight from Lima or Cusco to Puerto Maldonado and from here, take a boat river deep into the jungle. However, it has a great variety of Flora and Fauna, and it is fantastic for those people who want to make specialist activities like Bird Watching or wildlife photography.
Tambopata National Reserve
The Tambopata region is one of the best refuges to appreciate animals in their natural habitat, you can enjoy excursions in places like Sandoval Lake and much more. Tambopata tends to receive many more tourists than the Manu region because trips to Manu Park require much more organization and reservations in advance. Despite this, both Manu and Tambopata can be visited throughout the year. The National reserve has more than 1,000 square miles of rainforest.
Since 1977 the Peruvian Government forbade hunting and logging in the area, so the biodiversity of Tambopata could be maintained until these days. Therefore you can find 595 species of bird and more than 1,200 species of butterflies, as an example. Besides, you can watch one of its principal attractions, birds in Tambopata. The macaw and parrot clay-licks, every morning a several multi colors macaw and parrots arrive at the clay-licks to feed in mineral salts; their blather and sings put melody of all this show. Simply Amazing!
OXAPAMPA AND CHANCHAMAYO, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PERUVIAN AMAZON
The Jungle center in Peru means a zone for relaxation and vacation for Limeños or Capitalinos. People who live in Lima, the capital of Peru, and take their cars to come to the cities of the jungle center in the Amazon in Peru. Therefore, Oxapampa receives more national tourists than Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos (Cities that host more foreign visitors). A cause of this type of tourism is the location, the jungle city is between Lima and Pucallpa region, in this sense, to be a close jungle city of Lima, many visitors of the Peruvian capital arrive there each year. Another important cause is the cost of tourism services, like lodges, hotels, tours inter alia, cheaper than Jungle regions of the north or south, like Tambopata National Reserve or the Manu.
The route, by car or bus, from Lima to Chanchamayo is amazing because you pass through the three different natural regions of Peru; you will begin at the coast (Lima), slowly rising until the mountain range of the Andes. After that, you continue with a slow descent until the High Jungle, where the city is located. San Martin and la Merced are their principal towns, there you can find traditional markets where you can buy handmade products like chocolate, cocoa, and many others. The best products that Amazon in Peru can give you.
In the north of Canchamayo is located another principal city like Oxapampa. The place is famous to host many German and Austrian migrants since 1857, especially in a town called Pozuzo, where a Tyrol Architectonical style can be watched with its native people, descendants of German and Austrian inhabitants, with blue eyes and blonde hairs. All of them dressed with traditional customs and offered their typical drink, the Pozuzo beer.
At this part is important to determine these two types of Jungle, according to the location of each one.
- The low jungle is the largest region in Peru, and this territory compromises heights ranging from 80 to 400 meters above sea level. That is about 260 feet to 1300 feet high. The low jungle is characterized by having a warm climate with high humidity. The region has abundant rainfall throughout the year.
- While the high jungle of Peru is located between the limits of the eastern Andes. The region has altitudes ranging from 400 to 1000 meters high, that is, about 1300 feet to 3280 feet. The region has a much cooler climate. And these regions are isolated from the rest of the Amazon region. The habitat is home to a large number of animal species.
THE NORTH JUNGLE: IQUITOS AND PACAYA SAMIRIA NATIONAL RESERVE
Iquitos is the most famous Jungle city on the Amazon in Peru. It is known as the largest city in the world unreachable by road, that’s why a rugged and wild territory surrounds the city, making impossible the construction of any road or land access. However, the flights and the riverboats are two forms to get there. The majority of flights that depart from Lima have high costs, however, you can find promotional flights from time to time to get there. According to the riverboats, these depart from Pucallpa and last 2 or 3 days until getting Iquitos.
Iquitos is located in the north of Peru, its border with Brazil in the southeast, with Colombia by the northeast, with Ecuador by the northwest, with San Martin and Amazonas by the southwest. The city reached its maximum splendor In the early 20th century, where many European people came to Iquitos and are part of the rubber-boom. Of course, the rubber fiber didn’t last long and they abandoned the city, to leave his house of European architecture style, many of them can be appreciated by visitors to the Historical Center of Iquitos.
Besides, If you looking for things to do in Iquitos, you will have many options of experience, for example doing bird watching or enjoying sharing the main customs of a native tribe; there are many tribes are located surrounding Iquitos, they are accustomed to foreign people and always feel happy to share their ancestral costumes. Another option is the sighting of pink dolphins, unique in the world, they can be seen through a trip by the Amazon river and with the instruction of a specialist tour guide you will enjoy the experience. About this fact, Iquitos is a unique jungle city where the same Amazon River can be navigated, in opposition to many affluent rivers in other places of Amazon in Peru.
Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
With more than 20,000 square kilometers, Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is the second largest Protective area of Peru, only after the Nazca Ridge Protective area. The national reserve is located in the south of Iquitos, with a distance of 308 kilometers. Its vast territory hosts a great variety of animals and plants; more than 1000 animal species and 965 types of plants. All these characteristics made Pacaya Samiria a perfect place to spend a relaxing vacation in the north Jungle.
Even more important are the activities that you can do there like taking a cruise by the Marañon River, the most important tributary the Amazon river has in this part of the Loreto Region. Seeing a beautiful sunset in El Dorado Lake, taking a walk by the border of Yanta Lake, paying attention to your guide about the different types of plants that are located there, or taking a walk at night through the jungle of Pacaya Samiria inter alia, are many options for different pleasures.
LET YOURSELF BE ENCHANTED BY ITS FAUNA
782,880 square kilometers is the total area of the Amazon in Peru. This meant more than 550 hectares of biodiversity in Peru. When we say that Peru is a “Mega diverse” country, we don’t lie; the first country in the diversity of diurnal butterflies (4,441 species), the third one in birds type (1,857 species) and amphibians (623 species), the sixth one in diversity of reptiles (469 species) and the fourth one in mammals type (559 species), makes to Peru in a “mega diversity” treasure at the world. If all these data are not enough, we have something else to say, the vegetal kingdom in the Peruvian Amazon, the flora diversity in Peru is made up of 19,147 species of plants, in which 7,590 of them are endemic.
So this remote region is a paradise for those who seek it. Furthermore, Therefore if you are a fan of nature or animals, you should include this destination in your itinerary.
- In the different natural landscapes of the Amazon, you can meet a large number of endemic species. Pink dolphins are one of the animals that you should know. Some tours have the option to swim between them. While other places offer tours of the clay licks, where hundreds of macaws and parrots congregate. There are numerous Amazon Rainforest animals to spot and observe.
- However, the Amazon not only has an enormous diversity of animals but also natural landscapes. From mountain wetlands to cloud forests the Amazon in Peru offers some scenarios in which you will get amazing glimpses. You will also be able to observe the floating water lilies of the Amazon River. Hopefully, you can even get to know some of the 3000 species of orchids that grow in the place. Peruvian biodiversity is something you should not miss.
JUNGLE PEOPLE, THE PERUVIAN WHO WAS BORN AMONG TREES
The Peruvian people of the Amazon in Peru have an ancestral covenant with the rainforest and its spirits. New research about the history of Amazon concluded that native Amazon people lived there, through millennia, without causing losses or alterations in detectable Amazon species (The study was led by the Doctor Dolores Piperno of Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Magazine) In short, the native Amazon people lived in harmony with the rainforest and its other spirits, since that they were installed there. A lesson for everyone who wants to visit this natural wonder. If your interest is knowing the relationship of Peruvian with the visitant, so all year is the best time to visit Peru.
However, many Amazon tribes have disappeared by the advance of modernity and style of life that they adopted through time. Facts like education, health services, comfortable homes inter alia cause that nomads tribes stay in one place, generally close to big cities, and receive the government services there. It is an inevitable development, however, tourism contributes to keeping their customs and traditions. But, How? The moment that you arrange an experiential tour, in which you will have the possibility of sharing a complete day with them, seeing their customs, eating at one table with other tribe integrants, dancing their typical dances, among other activities.
For these reasons, when you go to Amazon in Peru, you will find humble, warm, and hospitable people, with a great sense of solidarity, willing to show the best of their customs, gastronomy, and traditions. Nice people in a nice place.
DARE TO PROVE ITS EXOTIC GASTRONOMY!
The cuisine represents the adaptability of man to its environment and the ancient towns of Amazon are no exception. Peruvians are very proud of their distinguished cuisine and gastronomy. Especially when each region of the country has its traditional food. In Puerto Maldonado, Manu National Park or Iquitos, you can experience new plates for your palates, such as the Ají Negro or Pez Paiche. These are some examples of how the native Amazonian peoples have developed their flavors and cooking techniques. You will be able to experience a mixture of flavors influenced by an endless number of indigenous countries and cultures. Here you have some examples:
- Juane: Dish originating from Moyobamba, a big jungle city located in the northwest of Amazon in Peru. It is similar to a tamale, in which the rice covers, like a blanket, the boiled egg, and the seasoned chicken chunks. All of them wrapped in banana leaves. A delicious culinary experience for you.
- Tacacho with Cecina and Chorizo: Emblematic dish of the Peruvian jungle. This culinary wonder is made up of fried green bananas, which are pounded and mixed with lard. The preparation is accompanied by Cecina (dried and smoked pork meat) and Chorizo (A big sausage). The creativity put in the Amazon Peruvian cuisine.
- Patarashca: A perfect dish for those who enjoy the fish. This meal is prepared by an Amazon river fish seasoned with spices from the Peruvian jungle and wrapped in Bijao leaves (The Bijao is a traditional plan of Amazon). After, this wrapping is cooked on charcoal. A very famous Amazon dish.
- Purtumute: It is a traditional stew of the Amazon in Peru. Seasoned white and black beans with corn kernels and coriander intervene in its preparation. In some places, the dish is accompanied by pine nuts, even.
- Inchicapi of Gallina with Mani: Exquisit Amazon soup with boiled free-range hen (The chicken has to be from free-range), blended or ground peanuts, corn, yucca, and coriander. A dish that will leave you a pleasant surprise.
- Drinks of Peruvian Amazon: There are many and different drinks, some of them are: Chapos, a drink prepared with ripe bananas that are boiled, and smoothies with milk and sugar to taste. Aguajina, a refreshing drink with Aguaje (native fruit north of Peruvian Amazon), is diluted in water and mixed with sugar. Masato: Drink elaborated with fermented yucca, which is rested several days with the objective that its starch becomes sugar.
The cuisine of the Peruvian Amazon invites with its delicious exotic dishes and attracts travelers. With its wide variety of culinary delights, it is not surprising that it is one of the reasons to visit the Amazon in Peru. In addition, you will find unique fruits to enjoy countless juices and other drinks. One of the best things to do in Iquitos is to experience new dishes. Besides, you can experience up to 3,000 types of fresh and native fruits. Do not miss this unique opportunity.
BEST WAYS TO GET THE AMAZON AND SOME TRIP ADVICE
Of course, all know that the Amazon in Peru is such a vast area that reaching it can often be a real headache. Perhaps you can feel that the Amazon rainforest is remote and inaccessible. Or that you are concerned about how and when to plan a trip to the Amazon. Fortunately, there are numerous destinations to enjoy on the Amazon. And there are different ways to get to the starting points to enter the jungle.
For example, the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado is easily accessible from the high Andean town of Cusco by road. There is even a new road that makes travel much easier. In this sense, the Amazon in Peru has many connections to get there, by car, flights, even by cruise river and boat, many options to different preferences. Adventure tours and sightseeing tours are some of the things that await you at the site. But first of all, you must choose a travel agency in whom to place your trust. They will make your experience much easier and more fluid.
Also, we want to give you some recommendations to pay attention to before taking a flight to Amazon in Peru.
- When packing for your tour there is much to consider. Please remember to bring your lightweight breathable, quick-drying clothing. It is best to bring long sleeves and long pants to protect yourself from the insects that will bite. Also, remember that you are in the jungle. Good shoes are essential for your jungle hikes, a hat, a water bottle, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, and wet wipes. For your jungle walks it’s very handy to bring a lightweight backpack to carry your needs for the walk.
- When in the jungle there is no way to get money from the bank. So before you fly to the jungle make sure you have enough money for the time you are there. The lodges will provide all your meals, but you will need to buy snacks and drinks while you are at the jungle lodge. Most lodges offer a tour in Puerto Maldonado that includes a visit to the local Market. So you might want to consider taking some money for that excursion.
- Being vaccinated is a great idea if you plan to visit the Amazon. Depending on what country you are from you will need to check with your doctor about the requirements to re-enter your home country after being in the jungle.
- As mentioned above, there are pesky insects in the jungle. Mosquitoes are many in the Peruvian Amazon. In the jungles of South America, you should know that the bites will leave large red welts. There are risks of dengue fever and Zika. You must bring repellents that contain Deet, this will prevent bites. Also, make sure to wash your hands after using the repellent and make sure to cover all parts of your body.
- Exploring the jungle during the dry season, from May to October, will be recommendable. Between these months you can avoid the heavy rains. But remember, the rainforest is always warm and the humidity is very high.
- Take the time to search for the best-guided tour offering what you want to see in the time frame you have available.
In Cusco, there are many bus companies that you can choose from for reasonable prices to get Amazon tours from Cusco. The trip takes around six hours and if you have the time it is a good way to get to know the countryside. The other faster way is to take a flight. The flight lasts thirty minutes and many companies offer services several times a day. This will cost you more, but you will get there faster, giving you more time to explore the jungle. On the different tours in Peru, you will not have to worry about how to get to the Amazon.
ACTIVITIES THAT YOU CAN DO AT PERUVIAN AMAZON
We recommend planning an organized itinerary where you are clear about the activities you will undertake. It is also a good idea to find out about the infrastructure of the destinations we will visit. Either about the lodging alternatives as well as the transportation options throughout our trip. Below, you have the most important activities developed in the jungle.
SHAMANIC RITUALS IN THE JUNGLE
Another good reason to enter the Peruvian Amazon is the different shamanic rituals that are offered around. One of the favorite facts of many travelers is the variety of opportunities there are to enjoy a ceremony with an Amazonian Shaman. They are known as “Curanderos” and in the Amazon, shamanism was a practice passed down for generations. Besides, It is considered a community service where one can seek help for both emotional and physical ailments. We do not necessarily talk about Ayahuasca rituals, but you can find cleansings, plant diets, Wachuma, and much more.
The shamans offer different ceremonies and cleansing rituals that also include the use of the famous Ayahuasca. Although these ceremonies are not for everyone, there are also some more innocuous ceremonies and rituals. Being able to participate in these ceremonies is an excellent way to learn about the ancient traditions of the native peoples. In the Amazon in Peru, you can find numerous shamans willing to give rituals of all kinds. Not all are rituals of a psychedelic nature, some even offer their teachings at a price. Machu Picchu and Amazon tours offer these kinds of tours. Prepare to immerse yourself in the world’s most ancient teachings and traditions.
CRUISE THE PERUVIAN JUNGLE
If you are near Iquitos, you cannot miss one of the best Amazon tours in Peru available. If you don’t want a rustic and comfortable approach, there are other possibilities to enjoy the Amazon along with the amenities offered in 5-star hotels. You can enjoy numerous exclusive ships and cruises where you can relax while enjoying the scenery. Aqua Expeditions and Delfin Amazon Cruises offer numerous luxury options to experience in one of the most pristine Reserves in northern Peru.
If you are looking for luxury on your Peru vacation, there is much to offer in the Peruvian jungle. You will find luxury hostels and lodges for those with money to spare. These properties offer comfort, style, and all the luxury you would expect from a five-star property. All lodges in the jungle offer a similar type of cabin, most built on stilts surrounded by beautiful rainforest. Some offer pools and have gourmet restaurants. The less expensive hostels have more basic accommodations but are still rustic-style cabins. All cabins, whether five-star or inexpensive, have beds with mosquito nets to keep insects out.
SOME ACTIVITIES THAT YOU CANNOT MISS
Let us give you some suggestions on what to do on your holiday to the Peruvian Amazon:
- Canoeing down the river is a great way to experience the mighty Amazon basin.
- Many lodges offer Piranha fishing as part of their programs.
- In Iquitos, the lodges have the opportunity to swim with pink Dolphins.
- In Puerto Maldonado you should take the time to see a Macaw Lick, the photos are spectacular.
- Enjoy the hike to Sandoval Lake and be amazed by the different animals that inhabit it.
- All the lodges have viewing platforms to see the jungle from above.
- Go on a medicinal walk through the jungle, learn about the benefits of the jungle plants.
- Take a boat ride at night and see the caiman.
- Take the opportunity to visit a local community and see the way the local people live.
These are just a few suggestions to bear in mind. But there are many other fabulous things that you can see and enjoy on your jungle adventure. Take the time to search for the best-guided tour offering what you want to see in the time frame you have available.
“A BRAVE HEART AND A COURTEOUS TONGUE. THEY SHALL CARRY THEE FAR THROUGH THE JUNGLE, MANLING”
As you see, the Peruvian Amazon is a real natural treasure that contains a great variety of plants and animals. It goes without saying, of course, about the Peruvian native people of its forests; traditions and customs that the visitant can share and fell. Certainly, the Amazon in Peru has much to offer and Machu Travel Peru can help you to arrange the perfect plant to visit the Amazon. Of course, don’t hesitate about your style of trip, birdwatching, trekkings, canopy, cruise river, inter alia, we will be glad to guide you into the best way to get your dream in the Amazon.