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Visiting the Rainforest is a unique adventure into the heart of nature, and by far was the most interesting and exciting experience we’ve ever encountered. Among towering trees that have stood for centuries, we discovered for the first time how many different shades of green truly exist. Home to an incredible array of extraordinary wildlife, the Peruvian part of the Amazon is one of the most breathtaking and biodiverse places, that despite its challenges is our favorite awe-inspiring destination in the world.

What you need to know before you visit the Amazon jungle

1. Choosing the perfect region

The Amazon extends across multiple countries, each offering its own entry points and activities for exploring the jungle. Popular starting points include Manaus in Brazil and Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado in Peru. When selecting the ideal destination for your trip, it’s important to consider your preferred activities, whether it’s wildlife spotting, jungle trekking, or cultural experiences with indigenous communities.

Tips&Tricks: If you have the opportunity, choose two distinct regions of the Amazon to diversify your experience.

So, after we decided that visiting beautiful Peru could not be complete without crossing the Andes to the jungle, it wasn’t easy to choose the perfect region. Given how special the entire Peruvian Amazon is, after many weeks of reading blogs and travel magazines, we kept oscillating between various lodges situated in Manu National Park and Tambopata National Reserve. Although Manu boasts a extraordinary central position within the Amazon and offers remarkable biodiversity, its remote location (eight hours away from Cusco, the nearest major city), made us hesitate. Considering that Amazon is a dangerous and unpredictable place, for safety reasons we ultimately settled on two locations closer to Puerto Maldonado: one within Taricaya Reserve, a protected area on the right bank of the Madre de Dios River, and the other along the banks of the Tambopata River, within the Tambopata National Reserve.

2. Where to stay in the Amazon

If you are planning a trip on your own and you’re not sure where to start, first you need to know that the usual accommodation facilities in the Amazon are lodges that provide various day and night activities. Because they occupy only a small area in the jungle, the wildlife is used to human presence and there are days when you could watch for hours colorful pairs of macaws flying around, as well as capuchin or howler monkeys playing in the nearby trees or agoutis running around your bungalow porch.

Tips&Tricks: Usually the electricity in the lodge is produced by a generator operated during specific intervals in the morning and evening.

Where to stay in Tambopata National Reserve (our favorite choices)

Our Amazon adventure began in Puerto Maldonado, a city located in the southeastern part of Peru, near the border with Bolivia and Brazil. Known as the gateway to the southern Amazon, this is the starting point for many tourists and researchers venturing into the rainforest due to its accessibility and proximity to several important nature reserves and national parks.

We booked the first part of our trip with Amazon Planet and we stayed at Amazon Planet Lodge (approximately 30 km from Puerto Maldonado), an eco-lodge established in 2001 in Taricaya Reserve, on the banks of Madre de Dios River. Upon arrival, our guide picked us up from Padre Aldamiz International Airport and accompanied us to their travel office in the city to register and leave our larger luggage in a storage area they offer. From there we took the boat down Madre de Dios River to get to our lodge, where we arrived two hours later, just in time for our first night walk.

The facility provides different types of bungalows, depending on the view and facilities. Each of them has its own bathroom, hot water, a fan, and mosquito repellent, including personal hygiene products such as shower gel and shampoo. The bed is surrounded by a net that is daily kept clean by the staff, to protect against bites and stings from insects. Drinking water is available for free in every room, and also in the main house. Between the activities and excursions that you will take part accompanied by a bilingual naturalist guide, you can spend your time around the lodge relaxing in hammocks, playing different board games or tasting traditional cocktails.

Tips&Tricks: In 2001, Taricaya Ecoreserve was born as a non-profit association dedicated to the conservation of the Amazon Rainforest and its diverse wildlife. The center is involved in various research projects related to the ecology, behavior, and conservation of Amazonian flora and fauna, and often hosts visitors, including tourists and volunteers, who are interested in experiencing the Amazon Rainforest and contributing to conservation efforts. Discover more…

Accommodation options in Tambopata are situated further into the jungle, with the road posing greater challenges, particularly during the rainy season. For the second part of our trip we booked Carlos Expeditions and stayed at Hacienda Tambopata lodge (150 km from Puerto Maldonado), deep within Tambopata National Park. Although the highway isn’t entirely secure, it wasn’t long before we entered the jungle through a muddy trail, navigating for nearly two hours until the car could no longer proceed. From there, we embarked on a 20-minute trek on foot along the banks of the Tambopata River, ultimately crossing by boat to the opposite side.

The distance from Puerto Maldonado is perceived in many aspects around the lodge. Although the rooms are clean and well maintained, the place itself reminds you that you are actually in the jungle, so it’s better to come prepared from Puerto Maldonado with all necessary supplies. The lodge comprises six bungalows, each equipped with a private bathroom and boasting a 360-degree view of the jungle, river, and the surrounding complex. Additionally, every room features a hammock on the porch and beds with mosquito nets for protection against insects. Drinking water is readily available in the common area, which although modest, provides a nice and welcoming atmosphere.

Tips&Tricks: Tambopata National Reserve covers more than 2750 km2 and is the most complex and biodiverse area in the world, with many different species of butterflies, mammals, and birds. The most colorful spectacle in this part of the jungle takes place in the morning near the yellow walls called salt licks or clay licks, where dozens of parrots gather to snack.

3. Best time to visit

The jungle can be visited throughout the year, but keep in mind that regardless of the month, the air is very humid and the temperatures are high. Like every other tropical region, the Amazon is known for having only two seasons: a rainy season and a dry season. As the name suggests, the main difference between these two seasons in tropical climates is that in the dry season sometimes it does not rain for months (but that does not mean that there is no precipitation at all).

During the rainy season, the Amazonian Rainforest receives a significant amount of precipitation, which transform the landscape into a lush paradise adorned with various shades of green. Rivers swell and flood extensive areas of forest, thus creating new networks of waterways that offer perfect opportunities to go on boat tours searching for wildlife on their banks. Moreover, although the humidity level are high, frequent rain showers bring down the temperature, so now you will also be able to comfortable enjoy exploring numerous hiking trails in the jungle.

Contrary to the rainy season, the dry season in the Amazon is characterized by lower rainfall and clearer skies. As the waters recede, the landscape transforms quite a bit, revealing hidden trails and secluded beaches along the riverbanks. Discover more…

4. Rainforest Essentials

The weather in the Amazon is unpredictable, so pack accordingly. First, it’s important to note that even the smallest creatures can pose significant threats. Pack a mix of lightweight and breathable clothing, as fit as possible (but not tight) to prevent insects from reaching your skin. Opt for neutral colors like white, beige, or khaki instead of colorful patterns that may attract mosquitoes, and keep your pants tucked into your socks, even while in the lodge. Additionally, protect sensitive areas like the neck and face by wearing a wide-brimmed trekking hat. Don’t forget about a comfortable pair of trekking boots, insect repellent, and a raincoat or poncho to protect you against sudden rainfall. Also, a compartmentalized waterproof backpack is a must to keep your electronics, glasses, clothing, and other essentials dry. Discover more…

5. Health and Safety Considerations

Diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and typhoid fever can be common in the region, making it very important to take preventive measures before you begin your journey. Schedule a consultation with a healthcare professional that knows the risks you are predisposed to and verify the conditions provided by the tour operator. Do not rely on the fact that you will find medicines at the lodge and make sure you have everything you need for: sun allergies, irritations caused by insect bites, mild colds, indigestion and stomach pain, as well as disinfectant solutions or patches in case of injury.. Discover more…

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