7 Destinations That Will Surprise You In The Amazon Rainforest Peru

Peru’s Amazon Rainforest offers one of the best areas of Amazon to visit.

To provide a summary:

  • Peru has the second highest amount of rainforest after Brazil.
  • Peru offers one of the most thought out tourism industries in Amazonia.
  • There are more clay licks in the Peruvian Amazon than anywhere else in South America.
  • Along with Ecuador, Peru’s rainforest is located in western Amazonia, which offers the most wildlife (linked to the nearby Andes Mountains).

With these things in mind, visit Amazon Rainforest Peru is an incredible choice for beautiful scenery, fantastic wildlife opportunities, relaxing cruises, and adventure tours.

Here are 7 destinations that will surprise you when you visit the Amazon Rainforest Peru.

1. The Tambopata National Reserve

Found in southern Peru near the gateway jungle town of Puerto Maldonado, the Tambopata National Reserve offers a fantastic area of Amazonia to visit.

Protecting 274,690 hectares, the reserve includes for the forest fed by the Tambopata and Heath River.

Because Tambopata is so close to the gateway jungle town of Puerto Maldonado, this is often the best choice for a short 2 or 3-day rainforest tour. This is because you can be in areas of high diversity after only 30 minutes or travel time.

The reserve offers continual forest with other protected areas, including the Madidi National Park and Bahuaja Sonene National Park. This allows wildlife to move freely in a vast area of protected tropical forest.

On guided tours, enjoy an abundance of tropical birds, several different monkeys, tall emergent trees and many different flowers. There are also many clay-licks where you can watch colourful parrots.

There are some fantastic lodges within and nearby the Tambopata Reserve for some fantastic guided rainforest tours.

2. The Manu National Park

The Manu National Park is one of the more famous areas to visit in the Amazon Rainforest Peru. This vast expanse of forest covers 1.7 million hectares of lowland rainforest and Andean forest.

An incredible diversity of species are found in Manu National Park and the park has won world records for diversity. Although visitors are not permitted inside the national park itself, you can tour the reserved zone and connected Amarakaeri Communal Reserve.

Lake Salvador in the Manu Reserved Zone is one of the main attractions of the area. In and around the lake, enjoy spotting giant river otters, many different birds, and different monkeys in surrounding rainforest.

Like Tambopata, the Manu region is also famous for clay-licks and you can see many colourful macaws gathered at the clay.

3. Manaus

Manaus is the most populated city in both the Brazil Amazon and the rest of the Amazon rain forests. With a population of around two million, this city is large and chaotic, offering a city-life atmosphere surrounded by the jungle. The city experienced a period of tremendous wealth during the 19th century when rubber barons were taking over, as Manaus quickly became the centre of the huge Amazon rubber boom. By all means, stay here for a night, but only to check your emails and get an internet fix. There are many places to explore in the jungle and Manaus is not one of them. Come for the guided tours and leave.

Maybe the only excuse to stay in Manaus is to hit the beaches. The oddity of laying out on a beautiful beach in the Amazon will quickly dissipate as the Amazon heat bears down. The beaches are only accessible during the dry months of August to November, outside of that they’re submerged under water for the rest of the year.

4. The Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve

Located around 150 km from Iquitos, a port city of the Amazon River in northern Peru, you can find the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve.
The reserve was founded for local initiatives and also to protect the range of the rare red uakari monkeys. These monkeys have red fur and a bald head and live in the middle of the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo area.

The Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve contains both flooded and non-flooded forest with many different emergent trees, bromeliads and orchids.

There are many other monkeys that live in the reserve. On tours from the Tahuayo Lodge, you can spot howler monkeys, capuchins, tamarins, pygmy marmosets, titis, and saki monkeys.

The reserve is also home to an impressive diversity of birds, including hoatzins, oropendolas, macaws, toucans, and colourful cotingas and tanagers.

5. The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve

Accessed from Iquitos in Peru’s northern Amazon, the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is one of the largest of Peru’s protected areas. This is a mostly flooded area of Amazon Rainforest best experienced on a rainforest cruise.

Protecting just over 2 million hectares of tropical forest, within the Pacaya Samiria Reserve you can find an incredible diversity of animals and plants.

The tributaries here are often blackened by nutrient-rich waters. This causes the water to perfectly reflect the trees and sky giving the Pacaya Samiria its other name of ‘The Forest of Mirrors.’

In addition to spectacular scenery, enjoy watching pink river dolphins, colourful birds, several different monkeys, and tall trees with orchids and bromeliads perched on the branches.

6. Clay-licks

Clay-licks are areas of exposed ground, usually on the riverbank, where different animals come to feed from salt-rich and medicinal clay.
In the Amazon Rainforest, the most famous animals that visit the licks are the large and colourful macaws. However, many other animals including parrots, monkeys, peccary, capybara, and tapir also visit different licks.

Because of the draw to parrots and herbivores, predators such as margays, ocelots and even jaguar patrol the clay-licks looking for an easy meal. It’s not unusual to watch these animals catch their prey when watching the birds.

The clay-licks offer guests almost guaranteed wildlife spectacles with hundreds of colourful parrots seen at one time.

When you visit the Amazon Rainforest Peru, enjoy seeing the many different species of Peruvian macaws. These include blue-and-yellow macaws, scarlet macaws, red-and-green macaws, chestnut-fronted macaws, red-bellied macaws, blue-headed macaws, and red-shouldered macaws.

Some favourite lodges to enjoy the clay-licks are the Tambopata Research Centre, Refugio Amazonas Lodge, and the exclusive Amazon Villa from Puerto Maldonado in Peru’s south.

7. Amazon Lakes

Lakes in the Amazon Rainforest Peru are often oxbow lakes, which are areas where tributaries of the Amazon River once flowed but the river has since changed direction.

This has left behind bodies of water cut off from the rest of the tributary, which often have an oxbow shape due to the river once curving its way through the forest.

These lakes attract a wide variety of Amazon Rainforest animals. Different trees and plants start to grow, which attract a variety of monkeys as they fruit and flower. The lake itself provides home to caiman crocodilians and many different fish, including the giant arapaima.

Cormorants, herons, and hoatzins then patrol the lake edges.

Sometimes, the lakes also provide home to endangered giant river otters, which can often be seen at the fantastic community-owned Posada Amazonas Lodge.