Across nine different countries, the Amazon rainforest covers around 40% of the South American continent and is home to many of the planet’s most unspoiled tropical wilderness areas. Most of the Amazon basin is contained within just two countries. Brazil and Peru. It is not uncommon for individual national parks and nature reserves in South America to record more bird species and other examples of major Amazon fauna than entire countries in other parts of the world, and Tambopata National Reserve is no exception.
The Amazon basin is perfect for nature lovers and fans of ecotourism and adventure tourism, or for those travelers who are just looking for a different kind of vacation. In Peru in particular, the Amazon offers the perfect add-on to other tourist attractions and travel destinations, such as Cusco and Machu Picchu.
It is this accessibility that makes a rainforest trip in Peru the best option for many travelers. Most of the people who travel to Peru come to see the cultural, historical and archaeological wonders of Cusco and Machu Picchu, often unaware that 60% of Peru lies within the Amazon basin. And even fewer travelers are aware that they can visit the Amazon from Cusco, via daily scheduled flights that will take them from the high Andes to lowland tropical forests! It is just a short plane ride and a fascinating boat ride from the city of Cusco all the way to our own Tambopata Ecolodge Private Conservation Area!
The most biodiverse areas of rainforest are found on the western side of the South American continent, including the forests of southeastern Peru where we operate our selection of itineraries. Protected natural areas like Tambopata National Reserve continue to set world records for biodiversity, with hundreds of species of birds and butterflies and other fauna recorded within their borders.
From Cusco, daily flights arrive in the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado, from where road and river transport takes visitors to lodges within pristine primary forest, including our own Tambopata Ecolodge. Fascinating attractions within the forests we help to conserve include oxbow lakes, clay licks, and many species of tall emergent trees.
Oxbow lakes are among the best places in the Amazon forest to spot wildlife, including giant river otters, caimans, waterfowl, fish, and the many land animals that visit these essential sources of fresh water, including many species of monkeys.
Clay licks are areas of exposed riverbank where rainforest animals come to feed on clay as a method of neutralizing certain toxins contained in the fruits of the forest. In South America, clay licks attract many species of macaws and parrots, and seeing so many colorful and noisy birds gather in one place is one of the greatest spectacles offered by the natural world. The rainforests accessed from Puerto Maldonado in southeastern Peru are home to the greatest number of clay licks found anywhere in South America, including the world’s largest macaw clay lick, known as Colorado and easily accessed from our own Tambopata Ecolodge.