Picture this: A vast jungle teeming with vibrant wildlife, where a single square mile of rainforest can house more species of trees than all of North America combined. In this guide on the best time to visit the Amazon in Peru, we’ll make sure you know what you need to know, when exploring the Amazon in Peru
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Tambopata National Reserve, Amazon Basin
Tambopata National Reserve, located in the southeastern part of Peru, is an area renowned for its breathtaking biodiversity and stunning natural landscapes. This area is where the Madre de Dios River intersects with the Tambopata River.
Tambopata is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, housing an incredible variety of flora and fauna. It’s home to 630 bird species, including the iconic macaws, as well as 160 mammals like jaguars, capybaras, peccaries and several monkey species. You can also find over 100 reptile species, 179 species of fish and 1200 butterfly species.
The area is inhabited by several indigenous communities who maintain a deep connection with the land and its resources, living in harmony with the rainforest. Visitors to Tambopata have the opportunity to learn about these communities’ traditions, knowledge, and sustainable practices.
Why Visit Tambopata?
This is the best place to see the Amazon in Peru for many reasons. I honestly thought it was one of the best areas of Amazon jungle to visit.
Biodiversity: The Amazon is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including jaguars, giant river otters, macaws, monkeys, and numerous amphibians and reptiles. It’s also known for its extraordinary insect diversity, including colorful butterflies.
Rainforests: The area boasts extensive, pristine rainforests that are vital for maintaining the health of the Amazon ecosystem. Visitors can explore these lush jungles on guided hikes and nature walks.
Birdwatching: Tambopata is a paradise for birdwatchers, with over 600 species of birds recorded in the region. It’s particularly famous for its large macaw clay licks, where these colorful parrots gather to feed on clay.
River Adventures: The Tambopata River offers opportunities for river excursions, canoeing, and wildlife spotting. You can also take boat tours to explore the waterways and spot riverine species.
Eco-Tourism: Several eco-lodges and research centers in the area provide sustainable and responsible accommodation options for visitors who want to experience the rainforest while minimizing their impact on the environment.
Research and Conservation: The Tambopata National Reserve is significant for scientific research and conservation efforts aimed at protecting the Amazon Rainforest and its unique biodiversity.
Best Time to Visit the Amazon in Peru
The best time to visit the Amazon in Peru, specifically Tambopata, is during the dry season, which runs from May to September. This period offers more stable weather conditions with less rainfall, making it easier to explore the rainforest, go on wildlife excursions, and enjoy outdoor activities. Additionally, the lower water levels in the rivers make it ideal for wildlife spotting. Daytime highs can go down to 50°F (9°C) and the nighttime lows to 43°F (5°C).
The Amazon in Peru is a year-round destination, and the wet season (from November to March) has its own unique appeal, as it brings lush, vibrant greenery and the opportunity to witness some aquatic species more easily. Around 80% of the annual average of rainfall occurs during this season.
Ultimately, the best time for visiting the Amazon in Peru depends on your preferences, but the dry season is generally recommended for a more comfortable and wildlife-rich experience.
How to Visit the Amazon in Peru (south)
Before you embark on your rainforest adventure, you’ll need to reach Puerto Maldonado, a vibrant town in southeastern Peru that serves as the gateway to the Amazon. Most travelers choose to fly into Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, the capital of Peru, and then take a connecting flight to Puerto Maldonado. The journey offers breathtaking aerial views of the Andes mountains as they give way to the Amazon basin.
All lodges in the Amazon provide transportation by either van or bus and then by boat to their remote jungle location. It definitely adds to the experience when you travel on the river. It was a very cool experience for me when I was visiting the Amazon in Peru.
Choosing the Right Amazon Tour
Visiting the Amazon in Peru offers a myriad of exhilarating experiences, with various types of tours to choose from. Jungle lodges provide an immersive experience, allowing you to stay deep within the rainforest and explore its rich biodiversity. River cruises offer a unique perspective as you navigate the winding waterways, providing opportunities for wildlife sightings and relaxation. If you’re seeking a more adventurous excursion, consider adventure tours, which often include activities like hiking, kayaking, and canopy walks, allowing you to delve deeper into the jungle’s secrets.
When selecting the right tour operator, it’s crucial to research their reputation, safety records, and commitment to sustainable and responsible tourism. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations from fellow travelers can be immensely helpful. Ensure that the operator is licensed, follows ethical wildlife interaction practices, and prioritizes environmental conservation. I highly recommend tours with Rainforest Expeditions.
The ideal tour duration can vary depending on your interests and schedule. A short 3-4 day tour can provide a taste of the Amazon’s wonders, while a week-long expedition allows for more in-depth exploration. Keep in mind that travel to and from the Amazon can be time-consuming, so consider how many days you’re willing to devote to the adventure. You will find there are a few options of tours that might interest you.
My recommendation is to stay for at least 4 days to make the most of your visit to the Amazon in Peru. If possible, visiting more than one lodge will enable you to experience different areas of the Amazon. The further you go from Puerto Maldonado, the more remote it gets. This really is the best place to see the Amazon in Peru. You will not be disappointed, I promise!
When I planned my visit to the Amazon in Peru, I stayed between two different lodges for 5 days. I traveled a total of 7 hours up the Tambopata River to the most remote lodge in Peru. The tour that I did included stays at both Refugio Amazonas and Tambopata Research Center.
I have a partnership with Rainforest Expeditions and I would be more than happy to help you plan and book your amazing Amazonian jungle experience. Contact me today to get started.
The Adventure Down the River
Any way you look at it, you will travel down the Tambopata river by boat. Your rainforest expedition truly begins when you journey deep into the heart of the Amazon. The Tambopata River, which snakes its way through the rainforest, is a very neat adventure. You can expect to navigate through beautiful scenery, spotting exotic birds and perhaps even an elusive jaguar if you’re lucky. Keep your camera ready, as opportunities for wildlife and bird photography can be anywhere.
There are quite a few different lodges in Tambopata that you could choose. You can read about some of the best Amazon lodges in Peru, but I will provide a brief summary here of my two favorite lodges that I personally experienced and thought they were the best places to see the Amazon in Peru.
If you are short on time or do not want to venture too far into the Amazon, then you can find shorter options to stay only at Refugio Amazonas.
The Refugio Amazonas Eco-lodge is part of the Wired Amazon program allowing for the promotion of sustainability through its collection of science projects. You can read more about this lodge in the post about the best Amazon lodges.
This lodge has an open wall facing the Amazon rainforest, limited electricity at certain times of the day, and provides eco-friendly toiletries. One of the best things about this hotel is being able to go up a 25 meter canopy tour. The view from the top is amazing! I would go here if only for that view.
Tambopata Research Center (TRC)
If you want a more amazing experience, you can travel further into the dense Amazon jungle, and end up at the Tambopata Research Center (TRC), which is one of the most remote lodges in South America. It was very cool to stay here – especially being so far away from civilization.
This lodge also has an open wall to the Amazon rainforest. It was a creepy yet cool experience!
You have the ability to explore the trails in the area, learn about the Macaws and see the Colorado and Chunco Clay licks and so many more activities to truly connect with nature. There are so many activities you can do here.
Please feel free to contact me to help you plan your stay at one of these lodges!
What to Expect When You Visit the Amazon in Peru
Now that you’ve arrived at your accommodations, let’s explore the incredible experiences waiting for you in the Peruvian Rainforest:
The Amazon is a treasure trove of wildlife, and you’ll have numerous opportunities to spot fascinating creatures. Keep an eye out for iconic species like macaws, toucans, sloths, and capybaras. Guided nature walks and night hikes will bring you face to face with the rainforest’s nocturnal inhabitants, including tree frogs, tarantulas, and brilliantly colored insects.
One of the highlights of your journey will undoubtedly be the canopy walks. Suspended high above the forest floor, these walkways provide a unique perspective on the rainforest’s diverse flora and fauna. Stroll amidst the treetops and witness the forest from a bird’s-eye view.
As day fades into night, the rainforest transforms into a different world. The jungle comes alive with the sounds of nocturnal creatures, from the haunting calls of night monkeys to the chirping of insects. Don’t forget to stargaze; the clear, unpolluted skies of the Amazon reveal a dazzling celestial display.
When I stayed at the TRC, I woke up in the middle of the night to hearing a ‘crunching’ of leaves outside my ‘room’. I had no idea what it was, but I wasn’t going to look and find out what it was!
Exploring the waterways of the Amazon is an adventure in itself. Glide through narrow tributaries on small boats, searching for caimans, river otters, and the rare pink river dolphins. You can also partake in a sunset cruise to truly enjoy the beauty of the Amazon.
What Should You Bring To The Amazon?
Travel Insurance: Ensure your insurance includes cancellation, curtailment, damage/theft/loss of luggage and medical coverage. I recommend SafetyWing Travel Insurance for all your needs.
Currency: Most lodges accept credit cards for payments of services and goods. Bring small denominations of cash for gratuities. Tipping is not compulsory but is always suggested if you receive good service.
Travel Documents: All visitors to Peru must have a passport that is valid or at least 6 months from the date they will be leaving the country. NOTE: Travel visas are not required for residents of Canada, USA, UK and New Zealand.
Pack Light: When venturing into the rainforest, it’s essential to pack light, focusing on comfortable, moisture-wicking clothing, sturdy hiking boots, and insect repellent. Don’t forget a good-quality raincoat and a compact, waterproof backpack for excursions.
Make sure you download your free Amazon Rainforest Packing List below, to ensure you have everything you need for your trip to the Amazon. (You’ll also be subscribing to my newsletter)
Do I Need to Get Vaccinated?
While there are no required vaccinations for travel to Peru, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has the following recommendations:
Hepatitis A: Vaccination is recommended to all travelers to Peru.
Hepatitis B: Vaccination recommended to all travelers to Peru, especially those who may have exposure to blood or body fluids through the giving or receiving of medical care, drug injections, tattooing, or sexual contact with the local population.
Typhoid Fever: Vaccination is recommended to all travelers to tropical South America especially those who may be staying in rural areas where exposure through food or water could occur.
Yellow Fever: Vaccination is highly recommended for travel to the Amazon. The shot should be given at least 10 days before your arrival and at 10-year intervals if you decide to stay.
Rabies: Vaccination is ONLY recommended to travelers with an increased risk of exposure.
Tips for Visiting the Amazon in Peru
WiFi / Cell Service: There is a good chance that your lodge will have intermittent WiFi and no cell service. Enjoy the experience and disconnect! If you want to take the chance on signal, I do recommend getting an eSim card from Airalo.
Stay Hydrated: The Amazon’s heat and humidity can be intense. Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Respect the Environment: Follow the principles of ecotourism by leaving no trace. Be mindful of your impact on the fragile ecosystem and listen to your knowledgeable guides on responsible behavior.
Respect the Wildlife: Remember that we are in their home, so show them the respect they deserve. Observe animals silently with minimum disturbance to their activities.
Immerse Yourself: Embrace the rainforest experience fully. Disconnect from digital devices and let the sights, sounds, and sensations of the jungle surround you. The connection to nature will be worth the effort you put in.
Sustainability in the Amazon
Did you know that more than 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon, and Amazon rainforest animals make up more than half of the plant, animal, and insect species in the world?
This pristine ecosystem is home to an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, including many endangered species. Efforts to promote sustainability in Tambopata focus on responsible ecotourism, reforestation initiatives, and protecting indigenous communities’ rights and lands.
Tambopata National reserve is well known for its abundance of clay licks frequented by macaws and parrots and being one of the most biodiverse areas in the world.
By supporting eco-friendly tourism practices that minimize environmental impact, conserving natural resources, and respecting the indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge and territories, we can ensure the long-term health and vitality of this crucial part of the Amazon rainforest while contributing to global conservation efforts and addressing climate change challenges.
Blue-and-yellow macaws by Carl Safina for Rainforest Expeditions
A journey through the Peruvian Rainforest is an unforgettable adventure that allows you to connect with nature, witness incredible wildlife, and experience the magic of the Amazon. IT truly is one of the best places to see Amazon in Peru.
From the moment you board the boat to the serene nights at your chosen lodge, every moment in this tropical paradise is an opportunity to create lasting memories. So, pack your sense of adventure and embark on a journey into one of the world’s most biodiverse and captivating ecosystems. No matter when you go, there really is no best time to visit the Amazon in Peru; any time is good!
Don’t forget to download your Amazon Rainforest packing list!
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