When considering a quick jaunt to the Amazon Rainforest on your next trip to Peru, first take a moment to decide which area of the vast region you’d like to visit. The three rainforest zones each offer unique opportunities for visitors to spot wildlife, engage with indigenous tribes, and stay in impressive eco-lodges.
Having trouble outlining your jungle itinerary? Look no further!
Iquitos Amazon Jungle Region
Where: Northeastern Peru
Travel: Iquitos is the largest city in the world that cannot be accessed via road. Instead, you’ll need to travel to this region via plane or river boat from either Lima or Cusco — a flight from Lima will take only a few hours, and while that’ll be more expensive than a riverboat, a journey by water may take an entire day.
Wildlife: If you’re lucky, you’ll spot Peru’s giant river turtles, manatee, giant otters, spider monkeys, and the incredibly rare, pink Amazonian river dolphins.
Why visit? Iquitos is home to colorful mansions built by millionaires during Peru’s rubber boom from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. The region features a series of incredible eco-lodges, a bustling jungle city, a host of activities like piranha fishing. There’s also the opportunity to visit indigenous Yagua villages and visit the only place in Peru where you can actually view the Amazon River.
Skip if: You’re most interested in wildlife watching. There are better jungle hotspots for animal enthusiasts.
Manu Amazon Jungle Region
Where: Eastern Peru, nestled in the Andes mountains
Travel: Access the Manu region by car or bus from Cusco — an easy day trip from the Peruvian hub.
Wildlife: Manu National Park is world renowned for its incredible array of wildlife. The park is home to over 15,000 unique plant species; 400 different species of mammals, amphibians, and reptiles; and over 1,000 different kinds of birds. Many birdwatchers travel here to see the famed Peruvian Cock of the Rock. Visitors may also spot giant otters, jaguars, black caiman, and tapirs.
Why visit? Manu is recognized for its unbelievable biodiversity, the scenic journey through the Andes mountain pass from nearby Cusco, the abundance of Amazon cloud forests, its relative affordability, and unparalleled bird-watching opportunities.
Skip if: You’re keen on staying in a high-quality lodge with many amenities.
Tambopata Amazon Jungle Region
Where: Southeastern Peru, near its border with Bolivia.
Travel: Getting to Tambopata is made easy by plane or car from either Cusco or Lima. You’ll set your sights on Puerto Maldonado, the capital of this jungle region.Traveling by air is most efficient — the journey will take no more than an hour and a half.
Wildlife: Tambopata is another wildlife hotspot and an area of rigorous tropical rainforest conservation. Visitors will be able to spot Harpy eagles, spider monkeys, macaws, agouti, jaguars, brown capuchin monkeys, and many more species.
Why visit? Tambopata offers plenty of opportunities for wildlife watching and is home to a number of high-quality eco-lodges. It’s also easy to access.
Skip if: You’re on a budget — Tambopata is one of the pricier Amazon rainforest locations.