South America - Peru

The Peruvian Amazon Basin

Machu Picchu and the Inca ruins may claim most of Peru’s popularity, but the Amazon Basin boasts most of Peru’s land space. Much of the Peruvian Amazon Basin is untouched, but tourism is beginning to carve out a spot for itself here. In this vast and wild area, it is now possible to take a dugout canoe with an outboard motor through the winding tributaries to the Napo and Amazon Rivers, view toucans and squirrel monkeys directly overhead and, if you’re lucky, pink river dolphins, caiman, giant otters and much more.


There are several different tour options. The main choice is between river tours on which you travel for several days in a row and stop to camp out or sleep with indigenous communities, and multi-day stays in jungle lodges which range in quality from rustic to hotel standard. Most Amazon tour companies are in Iquitos.

Iquitos, on the banks of a mile-wide river in the Amazon, features a floating market, various floating restaurants, some interesting architecture, and several crafts markets. It is close to some highlights in the Peruvian Amazon Basin like Lake Quistococha and a few protected nature reserves, including one of the largest protected areas in Peru, the Reserva Nacional Pacaya-Samiria. Freshwater dolphins, turtles and monkeys are just a few of the many animals that live within this reserve.

The Peruvian Amazon is also where you will find the Manu Biosphere Reserve, one of the largest and most important nature reserves in the world. Approximately the size of New Hampshire, the biosphere is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, the most spectacular of which are monkeys, jaguars, caimans, macaws, and giant otters, to name a few. It is also a birdwatcher’s paradise: some estimate that there may be more than 1,000 species of bird in the region.

Southern Jungle and Central Jungle.

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