The Peruvian Amazon
A great alternative to the Brazilian Amazon
Often overlooked as far as its jungle access is concerned, Peru actually offers some of the best and easiest to access Amazon jungle experiences in South America. Below we have run through the two main areas to head for if you are looking to spend a few days in the jungle although, as a brief note, where Iquitos has become a large trading port and regional population hub, getting into untouched rainforest can take some doing. In our opinion, the lesser known and visited southern Amazon around the town of Puerto Maldonado is, arguably, more rewarding.
Please see a little more information on each area below:
Puerto Maldonado, Manu and Tambopata National Parks (Southern Amazon)
Just a 50 minute flight out of Cuzco is the small town of Puerto Maldonado and the start of the western edge of the Amazon rainforest. The two reserves that are located not far from the town are Manu National Park and Tambopata National Reserve, which are two of the largest protected areas of rainforest left in South America and dubbed as arguably the most untouched conservation regions in the world. The figures for what the park contains as far as tree species and animals is staggering (they have found up to 250 different species of tree within a single hectare!)
Unlike in Pacaya-Samiria National Park, outside Iquitos in the north, the accommodation options here tend to be in hotels set in amongst the rainforest, using sites that have been used as research bases amongst the trees.
Iquitos and Pacaya-Samiria National Park (Northern Amazon)
Located much further north than the Amazon in Puerto Maldonado, the Pacaya-Samiria National Park has become synonymous with Amazonian boat trips and offers a real chance to get out amongst this stunning and pristine wilderness.
It is true that it is quite a bit further to come for what is, essentially, a similar experience to that of the Amazon around Puerto Maldonado, but we assure you that it is worthwhile coming here and a 3 or 4 night cruise on one of the luxury boats that meander along the river ways is a real treat!