Today’s blog on things to know before taking Peru Amazon tours is by Kat Wiess from worldwidehoneymoon.com where she talks about couples travel, destinations, tips, travel hacking, and more.
A visit to the Amazon rainforest is the perfect addition to your trip to Peru. From colorful macaws to the enchanting sounds of the jungle at night, you will quickly fall in love with all that the Peruvian Amazon has to offer.
After our trip in May to the Peruvian Amazon, we knew that it was hands-down the best part of our trip to Peru. So if you are debating on whether to visit or not, it is 100% worth it! But before you go, here are some top tips to remember for visiting the Amazon Jungle in Peru!
Peru Jungle Tours – What to know Before You Go
1. There are a Few Places to Visit the Amazon in Peru
Did you know there are 3 main regions in the Peruvian Amazon for Peru Jungle tours? They are Tambopata, Manu, and Iquitos.
Iquitos is in the northern part of Peru, and sits along the Amazon River. This region is known for being able to connect with local tribes and see the culture of the Amazon. While animal spotting is more difficult, this region is known for pink river dolphins.
Tambopata, which is where we ended up visiting, is only a 45-minute flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado in Southeastern Peru. It is known for an abundant amount of wildlife as there are lodges tucked deep into the jungle, only accessible by boat. This is the perfect place to spot howler monkeys, macaws and parrots at the famous Colorado Clay Lick, and even spy a jaguar from your boat in the early morning hours.
And lastly, Manu is close to the Tambopata, therefore having similar wildlife experiences. It is also accessible by road from Cusco, making it an easy alternative for a 3-day trip from Cusco.
2. Pack Light for the Peruvian Amazon
While we love packing carry-on only for every trip, it is especially important to pack light on Peru jungle tours. As you’ll either be taking a car or boat for some time, it isn’t a great idea for every single person to have a large piece of luggage. So just pack a carry on for your whole trip and you’ll be fine. Alternatively, many lodges have offices near the city and will allow you to store your luggage and take only the things you’ll need for this part of the trip.
3. It Can Be a Long Trek to Get There
Whether you’re taking a 3-hour car ride from Cusco to Manu or flying to Iquitos, it isn’t as simple as driving up to your lodge. It can take a long time to get there.
For example, during our stay at the Tambopata Research Center, we flew an hour and a half from Lima, and then took an hour-long bus ride to the tiny port, and then we had a 3-hour boat ride to the first lodge the first night. Then, the following day, we had a 4-hour boat ride to the Tambopata Research Center, deep inside of the Peruvian Amazon.
While it is a hike to get there, the further out it is, the more animal sightings you’ll probably have!
4. Avoid Rainy Season
I know it is next to impossible to avoid rain in a RAINforest. However, there is a dry season and wet season to pay attention to when visiting the Amazon rainforest in Peru.
The wet season is December through April and it rains a lot. While it can make spotting wildlife easier from the boat (as you’ll be in higher water), the trails are flooded and muddy, there are more mosquitos, and the temperatures are much higher. The employees at our lodge told us that some days they couldn’t do any activities other than educational lectures at the lodge. If you want to get out and explore, dry season is the time to do it.
Dry season is from May through November, with much drier, cooler days. We went at the end of May and it rained one time for an hour during our entire 4 days in the Amazon. The weather also wasn’t terribly hot, and we saw plenty of wildlife!
5. Take Bug Spray and Sunscreen…and Lots of it!
Mosquitos and all kinds of bugs can be relentless in the Peruvian Amazon. Definitely pack some bug spray to ward off the mosquitos, both day and night. In some areas of the Amazon rainforest malaria can be a problem. Just be sure to avoid bites and pack some anti-malarial medicine!
And in most places that are sunny in Peru, pack sunscreen!
6. Electricity is Not 24/7
Most lodges in the Amazon only run electricity a few times a day. So if you were hoping to charge your camera and phone at night, don’t count on it. Instead, have it fully charged before your trip to the Amazon in Peru and charge it when the electric is on.
Also, as the electricity isn’t on until the morning and some morning hikes are super early, be sure to pack a headlamp to see around the forest and your room in the dark!
7. Animal Sightings are Not Guaranteed
Wild animals are free to wander wherever, meaning that you may see them, or you may not. Many animals like capybara and howler monkeys can be spotted as they travel in groups. But solitary animals like jaguars, tapers, and more can be impossible to spot while hiking and there is a small chance of seeing them near the river as well.
Even at places like the Colorado Clay Lick, it may not be full of macaws. It just depends on the weather, threats in the area, etc.
That being said, I’m not saying you won’t see any animals. We were lucky enough to spot two jaguars on our way back to the airport from our lodge! When picking your Peruvian Amazon lodge, definitely check to see what wildlife they typically spot in the area.
8. No Walls = No Problem
Some lodges, like at the Tambopata Research Center, don’t have all 4 walls in your room. They have 3 walls with one open to the sights and sounds of the jungle at night.
And while that sounds like a crazy scary thing, it was actually incredible! Sure, there will be bats, macaws, and other small visitors in the night, but thankfully the beds have a bug net! So sleep easy and enjoy the loud background noise of the Amazon rainforest at night.
9. Budget Accordingly
Visiting the Amazon in Peru can be very affordable and incredibly expensive. It all depends on your budget and what you’re willing to splurge or save money on.
If you book at a travel agency in Cusco, you’ll probably get a cheaper deal than booking online. However, many of the best lodges may be fully booked well ahead of time or aren’t available to book in person. So do your research on which lodge you’d like to visit and see what your options are.
10. Enjoy Every Moment!
How often do you get dropped off in the middle of the Peruvian Amazon and be surrounded by the tranquil sounds of nature? Yes, the Wi-Fi is spotty. Yes, there are more bugs than normal. And yes, you’ll be getting up super early every day. But I can tell you that there was nothing better than watching the sunrise while witnessing hundreds of parrots feed on the clay lick. And there was nothing quite as surreal as listening to howler monkeys as we wound our way up to the top of the canopy tower.
This is the place to embrace, enjoy, and forget about what is going on back home. Enjoy every single moment that you have in the Amazon rainforest in Peru!
The Peruvian Amazon was our top highlight of Peru (even after visiting Machu Picchu)! It is truly stunning and the wildlife is next to none. So whether you want to get off-the-beaten-path or cruise along the Amazon River, these top tips for the Amazon rainforest in Peru are sure to help you prepare for your trip!
Peru Jungle Tours – Get Your Guide
You can book Peru Jungle tours online with Get Your Guide. One of the best is the Tambopata Peruvian Amazon Jungle tour for three days and two nights. Book in advance as it can get fully booked and is likely to sell out. Tambopata is highly featured in this article as an ideal Peru jungle tour There is a chance of seeing Macaws, Howler Monkeys, frogs, jaguars and snakes.
You might also want to consider the Iquitos 6 hour wildlife guided tour and if you are a thrill-seeker, the 4 day Inca Jungle Adventure with mountain biking and rafting.
Peru Jungle Tours – Viator Travel
Viator Travel is another reputable company (partner of Tripadvisor) for booking Peru Jungle Tours. Here are some of the best…
3-Day Amazon Jungle Tour at Sinchicuy Lodge – This 3-day Amazon Jungle adventure with accommodation at Sinchicuy Lodge includes your Amazon Guide, fishing on the Amazon and bird watching. Includes all meals, accommodation and an airport transfer from Iquitos international airport.
Private Amazing Amazon Discovery Tour – 3 Days, Iquitos, Peru – This is the tour from Iquitos that you should opt for if you want your own private guide. Find out in more detail about the wildlife species, medicinal value of plants and visit an Amazon village. If you are blogging you will be pleased to know that the lodge has WI-FI so that you can stay connected.
2-Day All Inclusive Guided Jungle Tour from Iquitos at Irapay Luxury Resort – This is the tour to go for if you want something a little more luxurious on your Amazon stay. The tour comes with all meals, activities and equipment. Finish the day in a Luxury lodge – the Amazon doesn’t have to mean roughing it!
What to pack for Peru
Having a warm base layer under your other layers is an excellent solution when hiking or camping. Both a thermal shirt and thermal leggings are absolute must-haves. They are thin, but really keep you warm.
Even if you’re travelling during the dry season, the weather in the mountains can be unpredictable and it is wise to bring a rain jacket with you.
Also, either you are heading to the beaches or to the hot springs in the highland, don’t forget your swimsuit.
Booking your Flight
Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is so important as it will help you with emergencies and unexpected costs on your trip. Make sure that you declare any pre-existing health conditions so that you are covered for those. Check your cover for accidents and medical care and also lost baggage or getting things stolen. Remember to report as soon as something goes wrong on your trip because some travel insurance companies require you to report something that you want to claim for within 24 hours. Read the fine print carefully when you sign up. I always recommend World Nomads. You can get a free quote here: