The tourism industry has drastically improved the quality of its Amazonian tours, and exciting options are now available to those visiting the Amazon in Peru.
The Peruvian Amazon makes up 60% of the country’s territory. This huge region is covered in an infinite green that – thanks to heavy rainfall and powerful rivers – has come to house the most vital ecosystem in the world. Have you considered visiting the Amazon in Peru?
Until fairly recently, previous to the construction of Iquitos and Madre de Dios’ respective airports, the Amazon was only accessible by river or by land and each journey was a costly odyssey.
Nowadays, thanks to better infrastructure and more accessible protected areas, the travel industry has managed to bring tourism to the Amazon in a sustainable way, allowing travelers to experience and enjoy some of the most sublime paradises on earth.
Join Traveling & Living in Peru as we explain why visiting the Amazon in Peru is worth it, giving you valid options to choose from for your next jungle vacation.
Hop on an Amazon River cruise
Some of the most original tours in the industry are the cruise ships that navigate the Amazon River and its tributaries, departing from either Nauta or Iquitos.
These exclusive vessels cruise the waters for an average of five days, allowing for passengers to experience the jungle in a unique way.
During the day, partake in a variety of adventures as small motor boats or canoes depart daily to explore shallower waters and immerse travelers in the surrounding nature.
Passengers can also spend their evenings listening to the myths of the jungle, as recounted by their local guides, while enjoying a refreshing cocktail from the well-stocked bar within deluxe restaurants.
In general, these ships offer guests luxury in the midst of a true jungle experience.
Take in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve
The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve – located in the Loreto region – is Peru’s largest protected area and has become known for its incredible transformation after each rainy season, when the reserve becomes flooded, allowing for fish and wildlife to swim between the trees.
Visitors can explore the tranquil waters on canoes, and observe a number of animals – including groups of river otters hunting for snacks and large paiche fish, which can grow to be two and a half meters long.
In the dry season, visitors can walk along the beaches and take in the overwhelming beauty. With any luck while visiting the Amazon in Peru, they’ll get the chance to witness the hatching of baby charapa and taricaya turtles.
Swim with pink dolphins
One of the more surreal moments a visitor might have while visiting the Loreto jungle is swimming with pink dolphins.
These fairy tale creatures – usually found in the Yanayacu River – are the biggest river dolphin species, growing close to 2.5 meters long. Interestingly, only adult males grow into the pink color that these animals are famous for.
Where one can find them depends on the season.
In the dry season, they generally inhabit the larger rivers. In the rainy season, however, they move through the flooded forests. Females usually stay in these tranquil areas as they provide the ideal setting for nursing and raising newborn calves.
Enjoy the jungle’s nocturnal activities
At night, thejungle reveals a completely different side of itself.
During these nocturnal activities – be it a walk through the forest or a boat ride – one has the opportunity to see the creatures of the night: ants, spiders, centipedes, caymans and snakes.
Night is also when the majestic black panthers come out to hunt; however, these felines are usually so stealthy that they are rarely seen.
Admire the diverse ecosystems
Meanwhile, in the jungle of San Martin, near the city of Tarapoto, travelers can enjoy learning about the variety of ecosystems that exist along the Huallaga River: the dry tropical forest, the cloud forest, and the Amazonian plains.
Tours in this area include: the exploration of different rivers, lagoons, canyons, and waterfalls; a visit to the Chazuta community; and a tour through coffee and cacao plantations.
Fish the generous Amazon rivers
If one is interested in fishing, the Amazon Rivers can be very generous.
Little has been said for sport fishing in the Amazon, a region that provides almost three thousand species – many of which are exclusive to the area. They include dorados, payaras and tucunares.
Visitors to the Peruvian Amazon should always respect the catch and release practice.
The journey takes travelers to peaceful lagoons, where they will camp in secluded malocas. This way, one avoids scaring off the wildlife with their arrival and can wake up at dawn to catch unsuspecting fish.
Partake in the lively dawn activities
It is precisely in the earliest moments of the morning that the jungle seems more alive than ever.
Dawn appears to unleash animal wildness. Monkeys howl and screech in the distance. Deer, capibara, and sloths slowly awaken. This is perhaps the best time to explore.
Almost all established lodges have hiking trails that tourists can wander in hopes to observe local fauna.
In southern Peru’s Tambopata reserve, one can take a short hike to one of the various clay-licks, where hundreds of macaws congregate in a frenzy to lick the clay – a way to clean the stomach – and chat before the day unfolds.
Immerse yourself in the jungle flora
The plants are the foundation of the food chain, nurturing the creatures of the Amazon, big and small.
While most flora fights for light, the ceiba tree revels in the sunlight as the tallest in the jungle, growing up to 40 meters.
In both Peru’s northern jungle and southern Madre de Dios jungle, visitors have the incomparable privilege of walking above the canopy on a series of hanging bridges that connect the tallest trees.
These canopy walks take tourists through a rarely seen world of monkeys, birds, insects, and other species who spend their days far from the ground, in a cloud of green leaves famous for being “the lungs” of planet earth.
This experience also provides an amazing perspective of the jungle’s dense, green forests.
If any of these reasons for visiting the Amazon in Peru catch your fancy, we’d love to hear from you! Let us help you plan your jungle experience of a lifetime.
This article has been revised and updated from its original publication on May 28, 2018.
Cover Art: Amaraphoto.com
Credit: Ultimate Journeys
Now that you're here:
We're asking you, our reader, to make a contribution in support of our digital guide in order to keep informing, updating and inspiring people to visit Peru. Why now? In our near 20-year journey as the leading English-language source on travel in Peru, we've had our fair share of ups and downs-but nothing quite like the challenges brought forth in the first quarter of 2020.
By adapting to the changing face of the tourism and travel industry (on both local and international levels), we have no doubt we will come out stronger-especially with the support of our community. Because you will travel again, and we will be ready to show you the best of Peru.
Your financial support means we can keep sharing the best of Peru through high-quality stories, videos and insights provided by our dedicated team of contributors and editors based in Peru. And of course, We are here to answer your questions and help whenever you need us.
As well, it makes possible our commitment to support local and small businesses that make your visit an unforgettable one. Your support will help the people working in these industries get back on their feet once the world allows us to make our dream of enjoying everything Peru has to offer a reality again-from its mouthwatering gastronomy, thriving Amazon and archaeological wonders such as Machu Picchu.
Together, we will find a way through this. As a member of our community, your contribution, however big or small, is valuable.