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Peru Travel Guide: The Amazon

Amazonian forests cover almost 60% of Peruvian territory, but are home to only 5% of the population. Traditionally divided between the highland jungle above 3,000 feet and the lowland forests of the Amazon basin, the latter attracts by far the most visitors with the city of Iquitos as its main gateway in the north and Puerto Maldonado in the southern Madre de Dios region. A visit to the Amazonian jungle in either location is an unforgettable memory on your Peru tour.

The Amazon jungles of Peru are believed to hold the greatest number of biological species in the world. From 400 species of mammals and 2,000 species of birds to over 50,000 types of plants and trees, the Amazon has it all on offer and a lot of it in areas that are hardly ever seen by humans. Depending on your time and budget there are lodges to be found everywhere, with the ones that are furthest away normally also offering the most pristine wildlife.

Nowhere is this more in evidence than in Manu, the largest national park in Peru at 15,328 square kilometers. It’s one of the most authentic and unspoiled locations in the world as even to this day it’s still fairly inaccessible by road. With over a 1,000 different species of birds, it’s a main destination for birdwatchers from all over the world and easiest accessible from Puerto Maldonado. The climate is hot and humid all year with the rainy season from November to May, so it might be wise to travel outside of this period if at all possible.

The northern part of the Amazon around Iquitos has the most inhabitants of the Amazon and is more developed leading to lower costs for trips to the rainforest than those to Manu in the south. The Amazon broadens to about 2 miles from shore to shore beyond Iquitos and many lodges are only an hour or two by boat away from the city.