The Amazon rainforest covers an area of almost 3 million square miles and is home to the most diverse flora and fauna on the planet. Planning to travel in the rainforest can be as daunting as it is exciting, and it can be hard to know where to start.
The Amazon rainforest occupies the territories of nine South American countries. While around two-thirds of the rainforest lies within Brazil, roughly 13 percent of it is found in Peru, a country more famous for tourism attractions like Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. In fact, untouched, biologically diverse Amazon forest habitat can be accessed from the popular tourist city of Cusco via daily scheduled flights and all-inclusive full-board packages.
The climate in the Amazon rainforest is hot and humid all year round. Precipitation is always heavy, but January and February tend to be the wettest months. Wetter conditions lead to higher water levels, making it easier to get around by boat when looking out for the birds and monkeys that are particularly active during the rainiest months, when trees are in fruit. At other times of the year, drier conditions facilitate walks on jungle trails, as previously flooded areas are uncovered, making it easier to spot many other species of rainforest fauna and study up close the lush vegetation of the Amazon.
Transportation in the Amazon basin is limited, with dense tropical and subtropical vegetation making it difficult to get very far on the few primitive roads running through the region. The primary means of entry into the Amazon is by plane. In southeastern Peru, flights from Lima and Cusco to the town of Puerto Maldonado make protected natural areas like Tambopata National Reserve and our own Tambopata Private Conservation Area some of the most accessible pristine rainforest destinations anywhere in South America. Once you are in the Amazon basin, the most common way to get around is by boat, via the major rivers that form the tributaries of the great Amazon River itself.
Ecotourism is the primary attraction for foreign tourists visiting the Amazon, where they can learn about the natural environment as well as the local people who inhabit it. Through sustainable tourism initiatives, emphasis is placed on the conservation of ecosystems and the protection of indigenous communities, while preserving natural resources and educating visitors. Tourists who expect to experience amazing wildlife encounters during every second of their trip may be disappointed. Successful wildlife observation in the jungles of the Amazon requires time, patience, and the services of an experienced naturalist guide. Understanding the characteristics of tourism in the Amazon will help you set realistic expectations as you plan your trip.
Wildlife abounds in the Amazon rainforest. National parks and nature reserves have been established in many countries throughout the Amazon basin. Tambopata National Reserve, where we operate our rainforest itineraries, has set records for birdwatching and offers the chance to spot many other rainforest animals. Professional guides take visitors to locations where it is possible to spot animals in their natural habitat. From monkeys and frogs to jaguars, macaws and parrots, the Amazon is home to an extraordinary array of wildlife for tourists to discover.
The Amazon boasts countless attractions, but a few stand out. From our own comfortable eco-lodge, a fascinating boat ride takes guests to the world’s largest known macaw clay lick, where several species of macaws and parrots gather in large numbers to feed on the mineral deposits they need as part of their diet.