South America has a rich variety of landscapes and the Amazon region of Peru is one of the most beautiful. American travel writer Julie Falconer shares her impressions of this fascinating area.
When most people think of Peru, they imagine themselves climbing the ruins of Machu Picchu or visiting the famous Sacred Valley. But there is more the country than the Inca sites, and the less obvious places are well worth exploring. One such location is the Peruvian Amazon. Located in the northeast of the country, the Peruvian Amazon is often overlooked in favour of more on-the-beaten-path parts of Peru. But its diversity of plant and animal life, its beautiful natural landscapes, and its variety of adventure travel opportunities make it a perfect place to visit.
I arrived in the region on a flight from Lima to Puerto Maldonado. From there I took a motorized canoe down the Madre de Dios River. An hour later I was settling in to my lodge in Tambopata, the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica. My cabana was situated right in front of the water and I was able to see wild agoutis and capybaras running to and fro on the riverbank.
Further afield, I went on excursions to lakes and islands where I spotted brown capuchin monkeys, spider monkeys, caimans (Amazonian crocodiles) and egrets. On night hikes I spotted tarantulas, night monkeys, frogs, and crabs, and during a day hike I almost ran smack into a giant wasp nest! The breadth of animal life in the region was like nothing I had ever seen on my travels, and the ease of spotting so many species was a very pleasant surprise.
It wasn’t just the fauna in the Amazon that I loved, though. The flora and the scenery were beautiful as well. The abundance of plant life was also an attraction. From tall trees that formed the rainforest canopy to bright flowers and ferns that grew closer to the forest floor, Tambopata was bursting with life. Every morning I woke up early to go on an excursion, and my reward was a stunning sunrise that turned the sky pink, yellow, purple, and orange. They were breathtaking, and made the early alarm worth it.
After three days of exploring the Peruvian Amazon, it was time for me to move on. Yes, I did visit Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. I went to Lima. I travelled to Cuzco and Puno. But no other place in Peru surprised me like the rainforest did, and I was glad to have deviated from the obvious places for part of my trip. You will too if you decide to visit …