Travelers visit the Amazonian city of Puerto Maldonado in order to use it as a gateway into the famously diverse Amazon rainforest. From Puerto Maldonado, they have a choice of three protected national reserves whose buffer zones are open to tourism. Tambopata National Reserve is popular mainly because of Lake Sandoval, which teems with life and can be visited in a short daytrip, and because of its parrot and macaw clay licks. There’s plenty to see in Tambopata, if you have a few days to spare.
A visit to the small city of Puerto Maldonado lays the Peruvian Amazon at your feet. It acts as a port for travelers to take boats along the Madre de Dios River to their eco lodges, which will act as a base for canoe trips, treks into the virgin jungle, and more. It’s an amazing combination of vibrant forest, huge rivers and swamps, and diverse flora and fauna. You’ll see exotic plants, animals, and insects that you never knew existed, such as pig-like capybara and pink river dolphins.
While most everyone can easily pack for a beach weekend, preparing for a trip to the Amazon is confusing to many people. We all know that there will be intense heat, humidity, and mosquitos, but how best to prepare for this? Here are our best recommendations for trips to the Amazon Rainforest, whether it be vía Rurrenabaque in Bolivia or Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos in Peru.
There’s no doubt- Iquitos is one of the best ways to see the Peruvian Amazon. Founded on the left bank of the Amazon River as a Jesuit mission catering to the Napeano and Iquito indigenous communities, Iquitos grew rapidly in the late 1800s and early 1900s, mostly due to a series of rubber and oil booms that made the city very diverse in population and gave it a strong Amazonian, European, and Bohemian feel- it’s even home to an isolated community of Sephardic Jews. Today, it’s still the major fluvial port and the cultural, urban, and commercial center of life in the Peruvian Amazon, even hosting the plaque commemorating the Amazon as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World (which belongs to all the countries boasting part of the Amazon). Despite of being the world’s largest inland city that is inaccessible by road, it has been steadily gaining a reputation as a party town.
Peru’s largest national park shelters the most pristine segments of the Peruvian Amazon and has battled with Bolivia’s Madidi National Park in the last years for the title of the most bio diverse site in the world. It’s estimated that around 12,000 species in the Manu Biosphere Reserve remain to be identified, but more than 20,000 plant species, 1200 butterfly species, and 200 mammal species have been registered- meaning there’s a lot to see and do in this lush area of Peru.