Did you know that, besides the highlands, the city of Cusco has also a beautiful jungle side? For example, if you think about Machu Picchu, it was located in the lower part of the Region, 1000 kilometers lesser than Cusco City, very near to the high jungle.
So, if you’re visiting Cusco and all its incredible attractions, it could be a good idea to touring also the Tambopata region, located in the neighbor Region of Madre de Dios.
Why visiting the Tambopata Reserve?
There are many reasons, one of them is that the jungle at Tambopata in Peru is one of the best-preserved forests in the world. It’s also one of the places where you will see the widest variety of flora and fauna.
This natural reserve also stands out for the efforts that have been made in order to preserve it. The nearest city, Puerto Maldonado, is small and happily, the pollution hasn’t been trouble. In contrast with many other natural areas where the extraction of resources has affected the wildlife in the amazon.
Another reason for visiting Tambopata is an interesting and lively native community that still live around the reserve. The groups that take part in this community belong to the Ese Eja ethnic cohort. They are divided between three different groups: Palma Real, Sonene and Infierno. The last one work with a private company offering a different type of touristic services that allows the visitors to know in depth their culture, food, language, artistic representations and so on. If you want more information regarding these activities, contact us!
How to reach this natural gem?
As we mentioned, Puerto Maldonado is near to the jungle part of Cusco so you can reach this place easily from Cusco center or if you’re traveling around. You can either take a plane or a bus.
Planes take between 30 and 45 minutes to reach the Puerto Maldonado Airport (PEM) from there, if you’re taking a tour with a lodge, the staff will pick you up and transfer you to their headquarters in the city. There, you will be able to repack your belongings and just take the necessary things for your jungle adventure.
The bus trip from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado take between 8 and 10 hours. You can take an overnight bus and you will be in the morning in the jungle. If you pick this option, please be sure to find a reliable company, try to find for the references on the Internet and be aware of the signs that can tell you that this company is safe to travel with.
The bus station is near the center of Puerto Maldonado. If you have already booked a lodge for your stay, it’s probable that the process will be the same. But some lodges don’t pick up their customers from the bus station, so double check with them if you’re planning to take that option.
If you will be coming from another site in Peru, the most advisable option is to take a flight from Lima to Puerto Maldonado. This will be short and if you buy the tickets in advance, you can get good prices!
Where to go?
If you are going to search for some nice place directly when you arrive in Puerto Maldonado, you can take safe transportation from the airport or the bus station to the port. There, you will see some nice lodges that can offer you the accommodation and the tours.
However, we advise that you search before and take your option comparing well all the lodges there. Some are located upon the river inside of the main Tambopata reserve. This experience will allow you to see more wildlife and fauna. We especially recommend the Rainforest lodges and the Inkaterra ones.
What to do?
Here the options are countless! The virgin jungle of the Tambopata offers different kind of activities. One of the most popular is bird watching. Some lodges have a canopy tower platform where you can climb and see the birds over the whole green forest. That’s certainly a magnificent spectacle. You can see the “sansho”, the Pale-vented Pigeon, the Purple Gallinule between many others.
There are also plenty of options and walks to discover the cochas (lakes) and lagoons. One especially beautiful is the “tres chimbadas” one. There, you will be able to see a family of nutrias living in freedom. You might see also some monkeys playing around. The big turtles and the scary alligators will be there as well.
You can also practice the fishing, but it’s advisable that you take the fishes back to the water after the activity.
Some lodges will lead you to the river where you can also take a refreshing bath. That will be a nice contact with nature.
Another amazon tours from Cusco:
If you want to explore different sites besides Tambopata or doesn’t have time to go there, you can also visit the Cusco Jungle.
One of our favorite places is Quillabamba. You can reach the “city of the eternal summer”, as people call it, in 5 – 6 hours. We advise going on private transportation, but if not, there are small cars and public buses that departs in Cusco from the “Almudena” station. The road has a lot of bends so if you usually feel sick, you can take a pill to avoid the dizziness. After this road trip, you will find a totally different side of Cusco. Quillabamba is very warm, very green and the food you will find is amazing! Because this place is located at a lower altitude than Cusco, countless fruit types grow. You can enjoy a delicious and healthy breakfast drinking a juice of any fruit that you can imagine. Also, the coffee plantations are nearby so your morning cup of coffee will be unbeatable.
While in Quillabamba you can easily visit many sites. We recommend going to the Illapani waterfall. This a fantastic natural place that not many people visit so you can enjoy the quiet and energy of the water going down from very high. There’s also the “Pongo de Mainique”. This is a magnify canyon that divides the last high jungle side with the vast Amazon area. It’s the only break in the whole Vilcabamba mountain range. Again, this site is not popular among foreigner visitors, if you enjoy going to the off the beaten track sites, these are your places!
We hope to have given you some ideas to visit the Amazon area of Peru. You won’t regret!