Three quarters of Peru is in the jungle or ‘Selva’ as the locals refer to it, which is divided into two parts, the high Peru jungle and the low Peru jungle. The high Peru jungle starts at the foot of the Andes and grows up to the mountain slopes and the low Peru jungle is part of the largest jungle in the world and extends through to nearly half of Brazil.
The Peru Amazon River is the longest river in South America and has the richest biodiversity of any river in the world. It is said that the river contains over two thousand five hundred species of fish, a variety of mammal species, amphibians and snakes. Along the shores of the mighty Peru Amazon, many species of animals coexist, some in danger of extinction, but luckily the governments of Peru and Brazil have been working together to protect the river and the jungle and are working on putting projects in place to protect the endangered species of the Amazon River. Probably, the most famous inhabitant of the Peru Amazon river is the Piranha; villianised as a man eating machine, this fish is in fact a fish which aids the ecosystem, helping to keep the river clean, a fun fact that you may not have known about the Piranha (not a man eater).
Whilst the Peruvian jungle Indians were not heavily affected by the Spanish Invasion, they were however heavily affected by the colonisation of European settlers who had discovered and harvested the rubber trees within the region, who brought with them disease which had an immense impact on the Native colonies. Today it is believed that there are tribes living deep within the Peruvian jungle who have lived in peace unaffected by the tolls of European colonisation.
In addition to the rich history and biodiversity of the Peru Amazon, there are also many interesting tours to to along whilst in the Amazon. The Puerto Maldonado and Iquitos regions of Peru are considered the main starting points for any Peruvian Jungle adventure, with lodges and resorts to suit the taste and budget of all travellers. The tour starts in Puerto Maldonado, an hour long flight from the high Andean town of Cusco, a thriving jungle port, and it’s here that you can start your jungle adventure with a boat ride to one of the many Peruvian jungle lodges.
One of the many activities available to tourists in the Peruvian jungle and the lodges of the Puerto Maldonado region is Piranha fishing. A few hours spent on one of the many lakes within the region, fishing for this bizarre looking creature, will surely be something to tell the folks back at home. It is said, that Piranhas love noise and red meat and when you catch one on your fishing line you will know for sure, as they tend to move around a lot.
Whilst at the river, you will also have the rare opportunity to swim with the Pink Dolphins, and these beautiful creatures are very curious about humans and the experience of being up close and personal with them is well worth the fear you will first feel.
Visiting a jungle village and experiencing the way of life of these peaceful people is something not to be missed on any visit to the jungle in Puerto Maldonado. These people live their whole lives in villages with stilted houses living off the water and the surrounding Peru jungle, the people are more than happy to open their homes and share their lives with you. The women of the village stay home and weave baskets and take care of the children whilst the men mostly work in the jungle. If you are lucky enough, you may be able to take part in a local game of soccer.
Floating on a lake full of giant lilies can be a surreal experience but one well worth it for these beautiful displays of mother nature. Giant lilies have been known to grow up to 8 feet long and can hold the full weight of a human and in the wet season they can cover a whole lake making the lake a vision of green. But if you really want to see the lilies at their best, go at night when the flowers open and the scent which is released by the lillies is quite incredible.
Visiting a local medicine man in the Peruvian Amazon can be an interesting and rewarding experience. Full of knowledge and life experience with the native plants and insects, he will have a remedy or cure for most ailments you may encounter. Sometimes you may even be able to take a walk through the jungle with the medicine man and hear about the plants and the medicinal purposes they serve.
Most of the lodges offer jungle walks as part of their programs, here the guide will take you deep into the jungle and if you are lucky enough, you might even see a variety of birds and animals homed to the Amazon. The walks are generally around 6 hours long but are taken at an easy pace, and when you return to the lodge after the long journey, a delicious lunch will await you were afterwards, you will have chance to take a hard earned rest in the afternoon.
But the activity you must take part in at any of the lodges, is the night river cruise to spot Cayman. The cruise is a gentle ride down the river in the cool of the evening after the long walks of the day, this cruise is a delightful way to end the day. The cruise guide aboard the ship is expertly trained to spot the Cayman in dark river banks, and if you are lucky, the guide may even jump out of the boat and catch one for you to see up close, but remember to bring your flashlight.
Moving into the Iquitos region in the north of Peru, the jungle experience can be quite different. Starting with one of the most unique restaurants in Peru, Al Frio and Al Fuego. To get to these restaurants, you have to take a small boat much like an oasis floating in the middle of the Peru Amazon River. Not only is it a restaurant where delicious local cuisine is served, but also a bar, pool and dancefloor. And all of this, is taken in while watching the river life pass you by. Catering for the young and the young at heart, these restaurants are a unique experience not to be missed.
If you are looking for a different Peru Amazon experience, than why not try one of the many rainforest cruises in the Iquitos region? These cruises offer you five-star luxury with rooms that have air conditioning, hot showers and restaurants featuring the top chefs in Peru. These cruises reach destinations that you would not reach from the lodges and see parts of the jungle up close.
For one of the most unique Peruvian experiences, stay at the Tree house lodge, where you ill be able to experience living in a tree top bungalow while viewing an array of exotic birds and monkeys that are guaranteed to wake you every morning; nature’s alarm clock ready and waiting. All of the bungalows are connected by suspension bridges on top of the forest and all have bathrooms and electricity. This is a once in a lifetime experience and will make you feel one with the jungle.
So consider the Peru Amazon for your next adventure holiday, these are only some of the amazing adventures you can have in the Peruvian Amazon, join us and see what else there is to discover!