Are you planning your trip to the Amazon in Peru? Wondering how to visit and where to go?
If you only have one chance to experience the Amazon rainforest, you want to do it right. But there’s a lot to figure out, and it can be overwhelming.
That’s where I come in.
I spent a week exploring the Peruvian Amazon – this was after I visited (and camped in) the Bolivian Amazon. I had the full Amazon experience, from meeting the local communities that call the Amazon home to seeing the diverse wildlife that lives in its forests and rivers.
I’m now sharing everything I learned in this detailed guide on how to visit the Amazon in Peru. It covers what you need to know and tips for planning your adventure.
Where to see the Amazon in Peru
There are a few places where you can visit the Amazon.
- Iquitos: This is the best place to see the Amazon in Peru as you’ll experience nature, wildlife, and culture. Located northeast of the country, Iquitos is only accessible by boat or air.
- Manu National Park: This is part of the southern Amazon basin and is accessible from Cusco. It’s a full-day journey to get to, but you’ll get a wilder experience here.
- Tambopata National Reserve: This is a convenient option if you visit Cusco and only have a few extra days to see the Amazon. You’ll fly into Puerto Maldonado and take a short ride to your jungle lodge.
If I had to choose the best place to visit the Amazon in Peru, it’s Iquitos. But logistically, it can be difficult to get to if you’re coming from Cusco. There are no direct flights, and you’ll have to transit in Lima first.
This is why many people visit either Tambopata National Reserve or Manu National Park, both of which are easier (and cheaper) to get to from Cusco.
Best time to visit the Peruvian Amazon
There is a striking contrast between the dry and wet seasons in the Amazon. The best time to visit is during the dry season, from May to October.
During the dry season (between May and October), the conditions are ideal for trekking through the jungle. You’ll also be able to explore the river by boat.
However, just because it’s the dry season doesn’t mean it won’t rain. It is the Amazon Rainforest, after all! Expect the occasional rain shower, but nothing like you’d experience during the wet season.
I visited the Peruvian Amazon in July and highly recommend this time of year. From my experience, it was warm and slightly humid, but nothing like you would find during the wet season.
In the rainy season (December to April), you can expect a lot more mosquitos, higher levels of humidity, and daily rain showers.
The water levels are much higher, and many trails are underwater. This means you won’t do as much trekking through the jungle. Instead, you’ll do more boat-based activities.
Avoid visiting the Peruvian Amazon Jungle in January, February, and March if possible. These are the rainiest months. Mosquitos are also at their peak during this time which can be unpleasant.
How to get to the Amazon
There are three main entry points to the Amazon in Peru: Iquitos (in the northern part of the country). Or Manu National Park and Tambopata National Reserve ( in the southern part).
Note: If it’s the Amazon River you want to see, you’ll need to go north to Iquitos. While Manu National Park and Tambopata National Reserve are part of the Amazon Rainforest, they do not have the Amazon River flowing through them.
- Best from: Lima
- Time recommended: 4 to 6 days
Iquitos is the primary gateway to the Amazon in Peru. It’s the largest city in the world that cannot be reached by road; the only access is by air or boat on the Amazon River.
There’s a hive of activity here and the city is where you’ll find the best Amazon tours. These tours depart from Iquitos, and you’ll drive by car (or go by boat) for a few hours before reaching one of the many smaller villages that line the banks of the Amazon River.
Here, you’ll stay in jungle lodges surrounded by local communities completely detached from the outside world. This offers a unique perspective on daily life in the Amazon – I was fascinated by it all.
Iquitos is also the best place to visit if you want to do an Amazon River cruise in Peru. There are various options to choose from, but the luxury cruises are quite something!
How to get to Iquitos
There are daily flights from Lima to Iquitos with Sky Airline or Latam. This 2-hour flight is the best and cheapest way to get here.
Unfortunately, there are no direct flights from Cusco to Iquitos. If you’re coming from Cusco (which is what I did), then you’ll need to fly to Lima first and catch another flight to Iquitos.
2. Manu National Park
- Best from: Cusco
- Time recommended: 4 to 6 days
Manu National Park is a great place to visit the Amazon in Peru if you’re looking for a remote experience in the jungle.
While it’s accessible from Cusco, it is pretty challenging to get to! The journey takes a full day and involves a car and boat ride, but this travel day is an experience in itself.
The beauty of visiting Manu National Park is just how deep into the jungle you’ll go. The wildlife is magnificent here and ideal for travelers looking for a wilder experience.
Unfortunately, you won’t see the same sort of community presence or culture as you would find in Iquitos. But if you’re looking to go completely off the beaten track and explore the jungle, this is an excellent option.
You’ll also need more time in Manu National Park than in Tambopata National Park. This is due to how long it takes to reach the jungle from Cusco.
How to get to Manu National Park
The easiest way to get to Manu National Park is via bus from Cusco, followed by a boat ride up the river. This is a long journey that will take a full day.
Alternatively, you can fly from Cusco (or Lima) to Puerto Maldonado. From there, you’ll need to go by boat to access Manu National Park.
3. Reserva Nacional Tambopata
- Best from: Cusco (will need to fly into Puerto Maldonado)
- Time recommended: 2 to 3 days
Tambopata National Park forms part of the southern Peruvian Amazon. It’s located near the town of Puerto Maldonado, which is a quick flight from Cusco.
Puerto Maldonado is a small town and not as chaotic and busy as Iquitos.
Tambopata National Park is a great option for those with less time to see the jungle, as the national park is next to Puerto Maldonado. This means you won’t need to spend a whole day driving or going by boat to your jungle lodge.
You can experience a lot of the jungle here, from birdwatching to piranha fishing and more.
How to get to Reserva Nacional Tambopata
To get to Reserva Nacional Tambopata, you’ll need to take a 1-hour flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado. From here, you’ll drive or go by boat to your jungle lodge, about an hour or two away.
How to plan your Amazon tour in Peru
When planning a trip to the Amazon in Peru, you’ll need to find a tour operator or jungle lodge that will take care of your entire experience. It will be all-inclusive of accommodation, meals, transport, and activities for the duration of your stay.
This is why it’s so important to ensure you book with a reliable and ethical company.
Booking an Amazon tour
I visited the Peruvian Amazon from Iquitos and booked with Libertad Jungle Lodge based on the numerous positive reviews here. They were fantastic, and I highly recommend them. No, this was not a sponsored trip, and they did not know I was a travel blogger.
Libertad Jungle Lodge is about a 4-hour journey from Iquitos and is owned and managed by the local community.
I paid 720 USD for a 4-day / 3-night tour for two people (360 USD each).
This included pick up from Iquitos, all meals (which were delicious), a basic private room with an ensuite (cold shower), and all activities. We also had a private guide who was born and raised in the Libertad Village.
The lodge itself was a rustic set-up but extremely comfortable.
Activities on the Peru Amazon
There are various things to do in the Amazon, and your tour operator/jungle lodge will arrange them all for you.
These night walks are amazing for seeing all the creatures that come alive after dark. Tarantulas and other spiders, bats, and exotic frogs. It’s scary but it’s incredible!
I loved the boat trips along the Amazon River. You’ll go in a small wooden boat and spot birds, sloths, caimans and even pink dolphins.
If you’re visiting the Amazon from Iquitos, I highly recommend doing a walk-through of the Belen Market. Go with your tour guide so that he can point out all the vegetables, meat, and fish. This will give you a unique perspective on how the Amazon economy works and what life is like for the local people.
This is a part of most Amazon itineraries and allows you to go deeper into the jungle to see unique plants and trees and learn more about their medicinal value. You’ll also spot birds, spiders, mushrooms, monkeys and more.
I went camping in the Amazon jungle, and wow, it was quite the experience! I recommend you do it for at least one night. Yes, it’s rough! But it’s something I’ll never forget.
There are many other activities to do in the Amazon, including Piranha fishing, sunset trips, and canoeing.
Amazon in Peru FAQs
Is the Amazon in Peru worth visiting?
Yes! The Peruvian Amazon is one of the best places to visit in Peru. It’s a bucket list travel destination and should be on every travel itinerary.
Does the Amazon pass through Peru?
Peru is one of the best places to see the Amazing Jungle. The Amazon River runs through the city of Iquitos in northern Peru, or you can visit the southern Amazon basin from Puerto Maldonado.
Is the Amazon in Peru dangerous?
I never felt threatened or scared when visiting the Amazon in Peru. But there are many dangerous and poisonous animals that live in the jungle, and the conditions are harsh. This is why you should book through a reputable operator who will prioritize your safety.
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Do you have any questions about how to visit the Amazon in Peru? Or do you have any suggestions for the best Amazon tours? Drop me a message in the comments section below!
Looking for more Peru travel inspiration? Check out my other posts!