Amazon Basin Attractions
The Amazon Basin accounts for more than half of Peru. Despite this, the Amazon is home to only 5% of the Peruvian population. This jungle covered area is remote with limited access but offers incredible experiences you won't find in other parts of the country. Trips to the jungle provide exceptional opportunities to see wildlife, while exploring lakes and rivers. It also allows for a glimpse into a unique way of life.The primary destinations for travelers heading into the Amazon are Puerto Maldonado, Iquitos, and the Manu Biosphere Reserve. Most visits entail staying at a resort or lodge which arrange wildlife tours or fishing expeditions, and it is best to book in advance.
Manu Biosphere Reserve
One of the crown jewels of the Amazon region is the Manu Biosphere Reserve. Widely considered one of the most bio diverse regions on the planet, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must see on any Amazonian adventure. The 1.5 million hectare Manu Biosphere Reserve has an incredible diversity of plants and animals and even has two ethnic groups that have had limited contact with 20th century mankind.The Kogapacori and the Mashco Piro are jungle dwellers and still live their traditional lifestyles. Access to both groups are strictly regulated.Entry to the Manu Biosphere Reserve is limited to people traveling with one of the eight companies licensed to operate in the Manu Biosphere Reserve. Accommodations are in comfortable safari camps and travel is via modern covered dugout boats with large outboard engines.With the most incredible diversity of flora and fauna found on planet Earth, the list of living things to see in the Manu Biosphere Reserve is almost endless. Much research takes place in Manu Biosphere Reserve and some areas are off limits, accessible only to scientists. A wide variety of animals can be seen by the average visitor, ranging from butterflies to jaguars and everything in between. The Manu Biosphere Reserve has 15% of the planets bird species and is considered a major birding hot spot.
Famous for the taraputo palm tree that grows in the rich agricultural areas around Tarapoto, this city is reinventing itself as a tourist destination. Just a short flight from Lima, Tarapoto with its 94,000 inhabitants has much to offer the traveler. Cloud forests, waterfalls, and unique jungle flora and fauna including the elusive Cock of the Rock bird are easily accessible via day trips.Tarapoto was formerly the center of Peru's illicit drug trade, however, efforts in the mid 1980's have cleaned up this problem and the city is now safe for travelers. The only remaining evidence of Tarapoto's drug days can be found in the lavish real estate projects situated throughout the city.Tarapoto's location at the foot of the Eastern Andes makes it an ideal spot for a multitude of activities. One trip worth the effort is the Huacamaillo waterfall. The Huacamaillo waterfall literally explodes outwards from the steep rock face. The waterfall is reached after a 2 hour steamy walk from the town of San Antonio de Cumbaza.Other activities include rafting, early morning tours to see the Cock of the Rock bird and a visit to the "lamistas", the local indigenous people living in the village of Lamas.
Moyobamba means circular plain in the native language of Quechua and is an apt moniker for this jungle city founded in 1540 by Captain Jaun Perez de Guervara. Moyobamba is located in a flat area above the muddy Rio Mayo the city's location provides a great view out over the surrounding areas and out towards the hump backed mountain of Morro de Calzada.In the surrounding area of Moyobamba there is much to keep visitors entertained. Activities range from whitewater rafting, hang gliding, and kayaking for the adventurous, to hot springs and waterfalls for those less inclined to action adventure.Also located near Moyobamba are several caves and areas of cloud forest that are relatively untouched and contain over 2500 types of orchids. The mountain of Morro de Calzada is located 12 km away and the top can be reached via a two hour hike.