East of the Andes, Peru's landscape descends into densely-forested river basin. The runoff collected here merges with waters from across the northern half of the continent to form the tributaries of the Amazon. Three such rivers—the Tambopata Manu and Madre de Dios—can be explored from the southeastern city of Puerto Maldonado.
Some of the most pristine rainforests in the world are found here. The most accessible sections are in and around the Tambopata National Reserve, where the Madre de Dios River meanders in wide curves and oxbow lakes. Riverside lodges, reached by boat, provide multi-day programs focused on wildlife viewing.
Giant river otters, five species of monkey, tamarins, sloths, caimans and tapirs inhabit this region. This is also prime bird watching territory; hundreds of macaws congregate at riverbank clay licks, obtaining sodium and minerals that serve as an antidote to the poisonous seeds they consume. Parrots, parakeets, toucans and herons are found in abundance in Tambopata.
Puerto Maldonado can be reached by air from Lima in two hours. Flights from Cusco take just 25 minutes. The climate is humid and tropical; the average temperature is 89°, varying from 77° to a wilting 107°. December through March is rainy season, with higher temperatures and afternoon rainfall. To avoid the heat, most forest hikes and canoe trips are conducted in the early morning and afternoon; midday is best for shady siestas with a hammock and a best seller.
Another option for Amazon travel is a multi-day river cruise. Luxurious river boats embark from Iquitos, in Peru's far northwest. Day-trips by motor canoe allow passengers to explore narrow river branches, viewing pink dolphins, monkeys, and colorful birds. Iquitos is 1.5 hours from Lima by air.
Mosaico Travel Services arranges personalized travel in Peru and throughout South America. We organize luxury accommodation, private transportation, and tours with expert guides. Speak with a Mosaico travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.
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