An Adventure in the Spectacular Amazon Rainforest of Peru
The rainforest is one of nature’s wonders, housing an astounding diversity of flora and fauna. Over 65% of the world’s plant and animal species are found in the rainforest. It is believed there are millions of species still to be discovered. In addition rainforests provide a natural air filter, removing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These are just a couple of the reasons why protecting this environment is essential to the health and well being of the planet.
An Adventure into the Amazon Rainforest of Peru is a chance to explore this spectacular environment.
The Amazon Rainforest of Peru
So when we were in Peru with the chance to go to the Amazon Rainforest, we couldn’t miss the opportunity. It is a densely forested and isolated area and the accommodation options are therefore fully inclusive. You won’t be heading out into the jungle to find a restaurant for dinner! Boats are the primary means of transportation as it is too hot, the jungle is too dense and the distances are too far to enable walking or driving.
We stayed at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica. The resort is adjacent to the Tambopata National Reserve, a large 275,000 hectare reserve of virgin, tropical rainforest. The rainforest receives a very high amount of annual rainfall which promotes the lush, dense plant growth. It is tropical and is warm and humid. It is also at sea level so unlike other parts of Peru there is no need to worry about the altitude.
We flew into Puerto Maldonado, located where the Tambopata and Madre de Dios rivers meet. We were greeted at the airport and prepared for the boat trip 9 miles (15 kilometers) down the river to the hotel. The change of weather is abrupt. Most of our previous travels within Peru had been at high altitude, low humidity and cooler temperatures. Arriving in the jungle, sweat begins immediately.
The Tambopata National Reserve
Inkaterra is a Peruvian company operating a number of properties across the country. The hotel works to train and hire local people and there is a focus on environmental sustainability and economic development where they operate. The all-inclusive package includes meals and excursions. A guide is assigned to you upon arrival and works with you to organize your activities during your stay.
Some of the Highlights:
- During a night cruise on the river to see wildlife we were very fortunate to see a jaguar. He was near the river high on the river bank hunting a capybara. It is extremely rare to see a jaguar. For the guide on the boat it was only the second jaguar he has ever seen (and the previous one had been several years before). When we returned and told our guide he thought we were kidding!
- Seeing capybara, the world’s largest rodent weighing 110-130 pounds (50-60 kilos), in the wild. The capybara is related to the guinea pig. We saw several near the banks of the river; they are the size of a small bear.
- The opportunity to learn about traditional medicinal plants from the rainforest. We visited a garden that contains over 200 medicinal plants. If you have any interest in gardening, naturopathy or traditional medicine this is fascinating. We noticed throughout Peru there is a general knowledge of local plants useful as common remedies (i.e. coca leaves for altitude sickness, plants for digestive upsets). In the rainforest Dragon’s Blood was a common remedy. Dragon’s blood is used from both the bark and the resin of a tree found in the rainforest. It is used to internally and externally to stop bleeding, heal wounds, and treat digestive issues.
- A tree top canopy walk almost 100 feet in the air with 7 hanging walkways. The walkway provides you a bird’s eye view of the rainforest and its canopy.
- There are a lot of butterflies in the rainforest and Inkaterra has a Butterfly Pavilion near the Puerto Maldonado airport. Definitely bring a camera.
- A trip to Lake Sandoval to view the wildlife including monkeys, caimans and a wide variety of bird life.
- A walk around the grounds near the hotel at night to spot wildlife including tarantulas.
- A visit to a local farm cultivating rainforest fruits including cashew nuts and processing sun dried bananas.
The Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica
The Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica resort was very nice and a luxurious option for exploring the Amazon rainforest of Peru. The meals and service were top notch. Breakfast was a buffet with the option of freshly cooked eggs. At lunch and dinner there is a choice of meals from a menu which changed daily.
The resort has 35 lantern-lit, palm-thatched cabañas and at night the resorts paths are lit by lantern as well. There is a spa at the resort and a massage is just what you need before dinner. If you want something extra special, the Tambopata Suite has a private terrace with a plunge pool and an outdoor shower. This was a welcome relief from the heat and humidity!
The cabanas feature hammocks, screens, mosquito netting. Umbrellas, flashlights, bathrobes and slippers are also provided. Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is a comfortable way to spend some very relaxing time enjoying the sights and sounds of the jungle.
For more information about visiting the Amazon Rainforest of Peru, see How to Make the Most of 2-3 Weeks in Peru.
If you enjoyed this post, and would like to learn more about traveling through Peru and the the cuisine of Peru, you can find further information on Compass & Fork.
Allison (Fun Family Vacations)
This looks like an amazing vacation! I’ve been to the Amazon in Brazil. It was so beautiful. I will never forget my experience there.
Great place isn’t it? The plants and trees were magnificent.
The amazon rain forests are a complete ecosystem in themselves where we can see the best of nature and the wilderness, would love to visit some day. Nice post and pictures.
I agree, I would like to explore it further. We are hoping to go to the rain forest in Ecuador this year.
Seems like a beautiful natural escape. Would love to see those animals in real.
Ami, The animals and flora in the rain forest were really interesting. Very unique!
Sounds like a beautiful place. What a nice way to get away and enjoy nature!
Shelly, It was a great part of our Peru trip.
Wow, seeing a jaguar is awesome! And learning about the plants would have been fascinating.
Taylor, Yes the jaguar was a highlight! The traditional medicine gardens were fascinating,
Patricia - Ze Wandering Frogs
We hiked in the Amazon forest in Ecuador, that was a thrill too! We saw capybaras, lots of snakes and frogs… Thanks for sharing and bringing us back memories!
Patricia, We are hoping to go to the rain forest in Ecuador this year. It is an amazing part of the world.
I am told seeing a jaguar is almost as rare as seeing a snow leopard! And you guys saw it! Wow!
Ajay, Yes it was a highlight! I’d love to see a snow leopard as well!
I very much would love to do a night cruise. Even though I have my doubts that it’ll compare, we’re doing a night swap safari on our next Florida trip, which is as close to the Amazon as I will get for some time.
Rob, I bet you will see some great things in Florida at night. We try to get out and see the animals at night so different than during the day. A lot of native animals in these places are nocturnal.
So looking forward to visiting here one day soon.
Definitely a highlight. Thanks for your comment.
Wow! One of my bucket list goals is to visit an amazon rainforest. Love the highlights of your trip. The capybara looks so fascinating. I cant believe how big they are! That’s crazy that they’re the size of a small bear.
The capybara must be the world’s cutest rodent! They are also quite common there. We saw many on the river banks. Thanks for your comment.
Capybaras are so so cute! What a unique and exciting adventure that I’d love to take myself someday 🙂
Lauren, always good to have a bucket list even if it does take 20 years to get there. It seems that’s how long Peru and Patagonia were on our bucket list. Thanks for your comment.
This seems like an interesting trip. Can’t wait to experience it. Can’t believe you had a chance to spot a Jaguar. I am certainly going to do this in a couple of months. Thanks for sharing.
The jaguar was a highlight! Probably the most exciting animal we have seen in the wild. Thanks for your comment.
I stayed with a local family in Iquitos for a month where travellers take their route to the Amazon Rainforest! I also did the boat from Leticia to Manaus. This is really a very interesting trip that everyone should do!
It’s a great opportunity to see the world’s biggest rainforest. It was very interesting for us not having lived in the tropics to see the diversity of flora and fauna. Puerto Maldanado and Iquitos are both good options to access it from. Thanks for your comment Trisha.
Kimberly Erin @ Walkaboot.ca
I love the Peruvian Amazon! I have had some great times there. its so special 🙂 and Capybaras are the freakking cutest
Yes we loved the capybaras. They look to big to be rodents! Thanks for your comment.
I missed out on the rainforest when I was visiting Peru. Unfortunately we did not have enough time. But now that I read your article, I’d love to go back 🙂
Sabine, We almost didn’t go due to time and the fact it is not the easiest place to get to, but it was worth it in the end. I hope you make it back some day!
Fantastic post! I am certainly not as adventurous as you and I envy that. Great information!
Jennifer, The rainforest is an adventure anyone can do! Really! It was fantastic and we stayed in comfort and were taken everywhere- all beautifully organized. Your kids would love it!
I have been to the Amazon valley of Peru and really enjoyed it as well. I was on the chocolate trail, so my experience was very different than yours. But I loved it and would go back in a heartbeat!
Doreen, I bet the chocolate trail was interesting. We really enjoyed the farming and natural medicine gardens. I hope they cultivate more of those types of enterprises, it provides some much needed money to the community and helps protect the rain forest.
Anne | Girl Chasing Sunshine
You’re so luck to have spotted a jaguar! Were you able to snap a photo?
Not a good one because it was dark! But a guy on the boat with some great equipment got some good shots!
Interesting adventure! Really suitable for a sustainable tourism. I am really interested on the farming visit you did. How was the cashew nuts harvesting? do the people still do it naturally?
If you mean harvesting cashews without machines, yes. I think there are huge opportunities for sustainable tourism there, especially directed towards people who do not come from the tropics. It was very interesting. Thanks for your comment.