The Amazon jungle in Peru has the second largest portion of the world’s largest rain-forest. The Peruvian Amazon, the most bio-diverse land on the planet makes for an indelible trekking experience for an eco-tourist, a traveller, a nature seeker or a science explorer.
It is green, dense and massive, and the world’s most bio-diverse land. Caimans, anacondas, jaguars, tapirs and anteaters call it their home. On its habitable land, still survive some indigenous tribes, mainly by hunting and fishing. It is here that the world’s largest river, the Amazon flows. Peru contains the second-largest portion of the entire rainforest, exceeded only by Brazil.
The rainforest shares its western edge with Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil and covers about 60 pc of Peru. On its south-eastern side is the city of Cusco, the departure point for explorers and travellers heading to the Peruvian forest. A UNESCO world heritage site, it is the Cusco city where the adventure trail begins, either on boats or flights.
Madre De Dios, an Amazon forest, has the rich Reserva Nacional Tambopata and the Parque Nacional Bahuaja-Sonene, an enormous tract of virgin rainforest close to the Bolivian border and can be reached via Cusco.
Southern Selva, a large forested region, is one of the best places on earth to experience wildlife and is connected by boats and flights from Cusco. The northern part of Selva is also the most organized and established of the Peruvian Amazon’s tourist destinations, with many reputable companies offering a range of jungle visits, from luxury lodges and cruises to survival expeditions.
Manu Biosphere Reserve and National Park, located in the regions of Madre De Dios and Loreto runs from a cloud forest on the slopes of the Andes down to a lowland forest. Buses from Cusco are a cheap mode of transport for reaching here.
One of the most famous and the largest conserved natural areas across the world; it is one of the best destinations for eco-tourism.
An eco-tourist’s paradise
Besides the animals that crawl under the shade of the giant Amazon trees, the jungle has 2,000 species of fish and some unique animals like the pink dolphin, the giant river otter, the piranha, the Amazonian manatee, the giant Amazon turtle, the arapaima, the electric eel, the dwarf caiman, and the notorious anaconda in the waters of the mighty Amazon river.
In order to stay closer to nature, an eco-tourist might be interested in the eco-lodges here which have been designed and developed under the ‘International Eco-lodge Guidelines’ and uphold the social and ecological integrity of their given environments.
The Manu National Park offers tourists and science communities an unique experience to explore and study the Andean cloud forest ecosystem by walking on the first ever high-elevation cloud forest canopy walkway in the world. The forest covers an area of 1,716,295.22 hectares. Since 1977, the area has constituted the core of the Manu Biosphere Reserve, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. Most of the area in the park is reserved for research purposes only and not open to public. The park consists of some wonderful landscapes, along with fantastic flora and fauna. The area holds over 1,000 species of birds and 200 species of mammals. Trees here reach heights of over 45 metres and measure 3 metres in diameter. Tourists can take a tour of the park accompanied by the authorized guides.
280kms from Cuzco along the Cuzco-Paucartambo road (10 hours) is Atalaya, from where the trip to river Boca Manu (7 hours by boat), leads to Manu River to access the park. It is also possible to reach Boca Manu from Cuzco by light aircrafts (45 minutes).
Another region, Loreto, the largest and the least populated in Peru, is covered by dense vegetation and by primary and secondary jungle with low hills and slightly rolling landscape, crisscrossed by the many rivers of the Amazon river basin. Iquitos, the capital of Loreto, is the main port city on the Amazon river. The only way to reach it is by air or by river making it, more or less, an island in the midst of a vast ocean of green forests, cut off by its meandering rivers. It is this exact isolation that contributes to its charm. There are ground and river transportation, guided tours, fully serviced expeditions to the jungle, cruises down the Amazon and its tributaries, and visits to native communities.
Suit yourself – the right time to experience the Amazon
If your prime aim is to see lots of mammals and birds, then the best time to visit would be from December to May. June to November is the right time for jungle hiking and spotting migratory birds. Spotting kinkajou, capuchin monkeys and other exotic mammals around this time is common.
It is highly recommended to get Yellow Fever Vaccination before heading here.
The Peruvian Amazon is a natural, wild and raw oasis in the concrete jungle that the world has come to be. An expedition here is not just unique but also a surreal experience, bringing a tourist in close proximity to one of the planet’s greatest landscapes.