Peru Iquitos Jungle canopy walk Iquitos Lodge

Ultimate Guide to the Jungle in Peru

Exploring Peru isn’t complete without immersing yourself in the depths of the largest rainforest on the planet. Housing an incredible diversity of over 10 million species, including animals, insects, and plants, the Amazon Rainforest is a natural wonder. With more than 1800 bird species, a trip to this pristine wilderness promises an unforgettable experience. Often referred to as the “Lungs of the Earth,” the Amazon Rainforest produces 20% of the world’s oxygen. Choosing between the enchanting Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado regions was tough, as each area boasts a unique allure. After extensive research into the world’s most expansive jungle, we set our sights on the Tambopata region, where we were treated to mesmerizing encounters with the captivating jungle and its wildlife. I’m excited to share our detailed Peru jungle itinerary, packed with valuable tips on the best things to do, and I hope it serves as a helpful guide for you.

Peru Jungle Amazon river
Peru Jungle Amazon river

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Where is the Jungle in Peru?

Two-thirds of the Peruvian Amazonia, or Peruvian Jungle, is the Amazon rainforest within the country of Peru. It lies east of the Andes and borders Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, and Bolivia. Peru has three Rainforests.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is Peru a good place to visit, or why visit the Amazon Jungle? Exploring Peru’s Rainforest with its trillions of indigenous animals—insects and plant species—is truly enriching.
  • Does the Amazon Rainforest pass through Peru? Yes, Peru has the second-largest portion of the Amazon rainforest, with Brazil having the most significant portion, about 58.4%.
  • What River in Peru connects to the Amazon River? About halfway upstream from the city of Iquitos, the Amazon divides into the Marañón and the Ucayali Rivers.

Rainforests in Peru

Here are the 3 Jungle in Peru regions and what they offer.

Tambopata Jungle Peru

Puerto Maldonado is the gateway to Peru’s Tambopata National Reserve Amazon Jungle. Moreover, the largest province in the Madre de Dios Peru region, Puerto Maldonado, is easily reached from Cusco. Furthermore, Madre de Dios Peru is less touristy than most other Peruvian Jungle parts. Here is The best of what to do in the Peruvian Amazon.

Where is Tambopata National Reserve?

Located in south-eastern Peru, Tambopata National Reserve lies only 50 km from the Bolivian border.

How to get to Puerto Maldonado in Peru

You can drive, fly, take a bus, or even cycle to Puerto Maldonado, Peru’s gateway to the Southern Amazon, Tambopata National Reserve, and Manu National Park. However, flying is the quickest and most popular option.  

Cusco Puerto Maldonado bus: The 477 km Bus Journey from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado takes about 10 hours. Be prepared for a less comfortable trip with only one 30-minute stop at Quince Mill.

Man departed Latam airways plane at Puerto Maldonado airport airport
Latam Airways plane at Puerto Maldonado airport

How to get around in Puerto Maldonado

Taxi Puerto Maldonado

Most Lodges and hotels in Puerto Maldonado offer shuttle services or arrange transport from and to the airport. Motorcycle-driving taxis are the cheapest option for travelling around Puerto Maldonado; however, consider the size and weight of your luggage. We arrived at the airport without arranging any transport to our Lodge. Manny, with his three-wheel-taxi, was delighted when he stopped and agreed to take us to our Lodge at Tambopata, Madre de Dios region.  

After leaving the airport, we had to stop to put our big red bag on the roof rack as Manny couldn’t hold on to it while driving. Taxis in the Puerto Maldonado region are more expensive and not as widely available as in Cusco.

Blue and white Motorcycle-driving taxi at San Juan Airport taxi
Motorcycle-driving taxis San Juan Airport taxi

Tambopata Rainforest Tours

There are many reasons to visit the Tambopata, Madre de Dios Peru region of the Jungle in Peru. Here are the best Tambopata tours and most popular Peru Jungle attractions.

Visit the Amazon Rainforest Macaw Clay Lick

One of the most exciting Riverboat Amazon Rainforest Tours and attractions is visiting the giant Macaw and Parrot spectacle on the upper Tambopata River close to the Tambopata research centre. The famous Macaw Clay Lick Tambopata is where up to 15 Parrots and macaws gather daily to indulge in the detoxifying Clay. Tours to the Pinkish Amazon rainforest Macaw Clay Lick are one of the main attractions. Be sure to leave long before sunrise to arrive early enough to ensure you get a good spot close to the Lick. While enjoying our breakfast, we watched the green parrots and colourful Macstartedho start coming to have a feast.  

Rainforest Macaw Clay Lick Tambopata research centre
Rainforest Macaw Clay Lick

Take Pleasure in the Largest living rodent on Earth

Have encounters with cute giant-like rats. The capybara is the World’s largest living rodent and one of the most seen Jungle animals alongside the river banks in the Jungle of Peru. These Social rodents inhabit dense forests and savannahs in South America.

Capybara, the largest living rodent in the World
The largest living rodent in the World, the Capybara

Admire the slowest animal on earth

Sloths are known as the World’s slowest animals. The Sloth Bear is among the rarest and endangered species in South America’s tropical rainforests. Three-toed Sloths are moving leisurely at only 1.8 to 2.4 m per minute through the trees in the Amazon of Peru.

With a name synonymous with passivity, the truth is that sloths move so slowly for survival. What is most fascinating is that these cute Sloths are arboreal animals—their matted hair hosts green algae and a community of parasites that camouflage them from predators.

A Sloth in the amazon rainforest, hanging from a tree
Sloth in the Amazon Rainforest

Jaguars in Peru

Otorongos, or Jaguars in Peru, are mainly seen on the Madre de Dios riverbanks. These predators derive their name from the Tupi-guarani language. Jaguars are excellent swimmers, love water, and like to sunbake. Alan Luinga, our guide, took this beautiful photo of a Jaguar in the Jungle in Peru.

Otorongo, or Jaguar at Tambopata Peru on riverbank
Otorongo, or Jaguar at Tambopata Peru on the riverbank, photo by Alan Luinga

Rainforests Snakes

The World’s tropical rainforests are home to numerous snakes. There are more types of snakes in the World’s tropical Rainforest than in any other biome (tropical rainforests provide the perfect habitat for snakes to survive and flourish; these regions are warm, wet, and shady, with plenty of prey for snakes.

Guided Jungle Tours

It is very rewarding to explore the jungle in Peru on day walks and search for jungle animals, either on your own or on a guided tour. Discover a variety of rainforest animal species. In the Amazon rainforest, animals are splendid; most believe they are undiscovered. Aside from Agouti, the common mammal in the Amazon rainforest, we also spot a wild dog during our Jungle expeditions.

Along with squirrels, peccaries, and multiple monkey species, we observe beautiful butterflies. Apart from the different birdlife species and lovely flowers, the Amazon rainforest, with its plants and trees, will blow your mind away.

Peruvian Agouti Jungle animal
Agouti mammal Amazon rainforest animal in Peru Jungle

Jungle Expedition at Night

I recommend Night Jungle walks in search of the Nocturnal Amazon rainforest animals. From Bearded Pigs, Night owls, Night monkeys, owl Monkeys, Andean bears, the Maned Wolf bush dog, and the beautiful Ocelot dwarf leopard. Ocelots are active at night and are great swimmers spotted on rainy and cloudy days. These dwarf leopard Andean bears are good swimmers but shy, solitary creatures who like to hide in hollow trees. Check the following list of nocturnal animals in the Rainforest.

Tambopata National Reserve Sandoval Lake

Close to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon basin lies Sandoval Lake. At Lake Sandoval, we’ve seen various Jungle animals, such as squirrels, parrots, and many other beautiful bird species.

Furthermore, you might also be lucky to spot the famous Sandoval giant otters, highlighting our trip to Sandoval Lake Lodge.

  • Experience Black Caiman in Lake Sandoval and along the savanna of the Amazon basin.
  • Admire the fantastic Birdlife.
  • Watch Butterflies drinking tears of Turtles for their rich minerals at Sandoval Lake.

Why do butterflies drink the tears of Turtles?

Butterflies in the Amazon basin flock around the turtles to drink their tears, which are rich in minerals and sodium.

Orange Butterfly on a Turtles nose in the Sandoval Lake in Peru. Another turtle watching
Butterflies and Turtles Sandoval Lake

The Sandoval Giant Otters

One of our best experiences at Sandoval Lake was watching the Giant River Otter family. They are so cute, but unfortunately, it is impossible to follow them as they swim too fast. These Giant River Otters are exclusively active during the daytime. Want to know more about the cutest Amazon river Otter mammals? You can read more on diurnal Giant Otters here.

Seeing and hearing the small Otter pups begging mom and dad impatiently for fish with their sharp squeaking voices was unique and adorable. We overnighted at the famous Sandoval Lake Lodge. However, it is well-known and pricey, so don’t expect to get 5-star food for the 5-star rate they charge.

Giant Amazon Otter feasting on fish #Amazon river Otter Sandoval Lake
Giant Amazon Otter #Amazon River Otter Sandoval Lake

Tambopata National Reserve

Where to stay at Lodges en Tambopata

Booking.com

Tambopata Research Centre

The only Lodge inside the National Reserve of Tambopata is 3.5 hours from Puerto Maldonado. In addition to guided activities, all meals and transport from the airport are included. Check prices for accommodation at Tambopata Research Centre Lodge.

Puero Maldonada Lodges

The eco-friendly charming Refugio Amazonas Lodge is only 2 hours from Puerto Maldonado city (one hour by boat and 2 hours by bus). The Lodge has a restaurant and offers several Guided tours and activities. For reviews, prices, and bookings, go to Accommodation at Refugio Amazonas Lodge.

We booked two nights at Passiflora Lodge outside Puerto Maldonado from the few Puerto Maldonado lodges. You can read all about our three-week Peru Itinerary.

Chuncho Lodge, located deep in the Peruvian Jungle, is in the Tambopata National Reserve and is only reachable by riverboat. We spend three days at Chuncho Lodge. Here are a few experiences durinJungletime in TimeJungle:

  • Besides featuring a canopy tower overlooking the Jungle, we went on a jungle expedition and a night walk.
  • Early morning River boat trip to the Timetacular Rainforest Macaws Clay Lick.

One of the highly rated jungles in the Amazon rainforest is the Puerto Maldonado Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, overlooking the Madre de Dios Peru rainforest. At Puerto Maldonado, one can explore the Jungle from a spectacular 100-foot Canopy Walkway.

Iquitos Jungle in Peru

Iquitos is the largest globally, and it is only accessible by riverboat or Plane from the cities of Lima or Cusco, Peru.

Where are Iquitos & How to get to Iquitos?

Amazing Iquitos rainforest is located in north-eastern Peru, South America. The best way to get from Lima to Iquitos is by Plane. With a distance of 1 013 km between Lima and Iquitos, you’ll reach your destination in about 55 minutes.

Things to do in Iquitos

Experience the wonders of the Amazon rainforest and wildlife in Iquitos. In addition to the abundance of Amazon Rainforest animals, interact with indigenous groups, experience their culture, and learn about their traditions. Moreover, explore the markets.

Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

Explore the 20,000 km squarely flooded tropical forest Pacaya Samiria National Park covers to experience Pink Dolphins, incredible sunsets, Iquitos Wildlife, and fantastic flora. These rare Pink river dolphins, both or Bouto, are commonly found in freshwater throughout South America’s Amazon rivers and Orinoco river basins.

Piranha Fishing

Fishing in the Amazon jungle in Peru is unlike any other fishing method. Check out the popular Iquitos tours below.

Iquitos Jungle Tours

The Worldmazon Monkeys

If you find monkeys interesting, the Amazon rainforest Monkeys play a vital role in the forest ecosystem. Nine of the 15 recognized species live in the Amazon rainforest. Moreover, the smallest Monkey in the Amazon is the Pygmy Marmoset, the smallest monkey in the World.

Then you hear the adorable load of howler monkeys from miles away. But, of course, the most exciting monkeys in the Jungle are the Spider Monkeys. Squirrel Monkeys, Titi Monkeys, Tamarin Monkeys, and the extraordinary Bald Uakari and Worldy Monkeys are other monkeys.

Amazon Monkey with light brown patch on his forehead swinging in the forest in Amazon jungle
Amazon Monkey, in the Amazon Jungle.

Manu National Park

The Manu National Park in the Madre de Dios region in the Jungle of Peru has protected its diverse ecosystems, Andean grasslands, and the Manu cloud forest since 1968.

Where is Manu in Peru

One of the most fascinating adventure trips in the World runs through the Andes Mountains, Madre de Dios region, in southern Peru. Cusco is the gateway to all trips leading to Manu Wildlife Center.

How to get to Manu Rainforest in Peru

The road journey from Cusco to Mano is spectacular, and it is a day-long journey through astonishing mountain ranges and cloud forests. To save time, we took a short, inexpensive flight. By Plane, from Cusco to Lima is a 45-minute flight, and then it is about an 8-hour journey, first by road and then by riverboat.

Be prepared for a day’s riverboat ride along the Madre de Dios to experience the giant otter, tapir, and macaw clay clicks. When looking at the Manu tour prices, consider the Logistics involved in planning a Peruvian Amazon journey.

Where to Stay in Manu

Although many Lodges are available to tourists in the Manu Biosphere, not all are accessible and open to tourists. Known as Zone B, the areas open to tourists run along the western and eastern edges, including the Madre de Dios River. Only sure scientists can access the restricted areas known as Zone A. World-renowned Manu Wildlife Center Lodge, located in the southern Peruvian Rainforest, offers incredible Wildlife tours and is highly rated Manu Lodge.

Best things to do in Manú National Park

Endangered Rainforest Animals

The Manu Jungle offers the Amazon’s best Tapir Clay Lick, where you can watch these social Jungle animals weighing up to 600 pounds feasting on Clay. Tapirs are one of the endangered animals in the Amazon Rainforest. With its round donkey-like build, the South American Tapir has short legs, anteater snouts, a stumpy tail, and hippo-like ears.

Their four toes on each front foot are a real hodge-podge and are related to Rhinos, herbivores, and native to South America. The indigenous Tapirs’ name is Brazilian, meaning thick, referring to the Jungle animal’s hide. Tapir calves are cute and look like speckled watermelons that act as camouflage to protect them in the shady forest.

Tapir Mother and her striped Tapir calf in the Peruvian rainforest  American Tapir endangered species
Tapir Mother and her striped Tapir calf in the Peruvian rainforest
  • Experience one of the unique adventures in the Amazon jungle.
  • View the Jungle from the 40m superior Amazon Rainforest Canopy.
  • Admire the famous Andean Cock-of-the-rocks bird, the National bird of Peru. The Cock of the rock bird is found in tropical and sub-tropical forests native to South America. These brightly orange-coloured Cock of the Rock males are unique with their prominent fan-shapJunglests.
  • Visit the Macaw Clay Lick, explore the Jungle, and look out for Capuchin monkeys, hummingbirds, spectacle bears, and various reptiles and insects.
  • Search for the Giant River Otters on the riverbanks of Pristine lakes.

Best time to Visit the Jungle in Peru

The world’s tropical rainforests are home to more types of snakes than any other biome (area). With plenty of prey and its wet, humid climate, the tropical Rainforest provides the perfect habitat for snakes to survive and flourish.

Jaguars in Peru

The best time to spot Jaguars in the Manu Biosphere ReserTimes is during the Jaguar Season, which runs from May to July. For more Jaguar experiences in Peru, see Amazon Wildlife Peru.

Check out our 21 Days in Peru post to find the most popular Time to Trek in Peru, the best Trails, and our 3-week Itinerary. During the Jaguar Season from May to July, the best time to spot Jaguars in the Manu Biosphere Reserve is during the Jaguar Season.

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Amazon Jungle Peru Jungle Lodge overlooking the water
Jungle in Peru overlooking treetops
A Jaguar in Peru in Amazon Rainforest Peru

Insects and Animals in the Jungle in Peru

Spiders of the Amazon

Besides animals in the Jungle, you’ll be amazed by watching the insects in the Amazon Rainforest. The largest Tarantula species lives in the Peruvian Amazon in the tropical and subtropical areas and the desert regions. Approximately 3,600 different species of spiders inhabit the Amazon basin.


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