An Adventure in the Spectacular Amazon Rainforest of Peru
The rainforest is one of nature’s wonders, housing an astounding diversity of flora and fauna. Over 65% of the world’s plant and animal species are found in the rainforest. It is believed there are millions of species still to be discovered. In addition rainforests provide a natural air filter, removing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These are just a couple of the reasons why protecting this environment is essential to the health and well being of the planet.
An Adventure into the Amazon Rainforest of Peru is a chance to explore this spectacular environment.
The Amazon Rainforest of Peru
So when we were in Peru with the chance to go to the Amazon Rainforest, we couldn’t miss the opportunity. It is a densely forested and isolated area and the accommodation options are therefore fully inclusive. You won’t be heading out into the jungle to find a restaurant for dinner! Boats are the primary means of transportation as it is too hot, the jungle is too dense and the distances are too far to enable walking or driving.
We stayed at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica. The resort is adjacent to the Tambopata National Reserve, a large 275,000 hectare reserve of virgin, tropical rainforest. The rainforest receives a very high amount of annual rainfall which promotes the lush, dense plant growth. It is tropical and is warm and humid. It is also at sea level so unlike other parts of Peru there is no need to worry about the altitude.
We flew into Puerto Maldonado, located where the Tambopata and Madre de Dios rivers meet. We were greeted at the airport and prepared for the boat trip 9 miles (15 kilometers) down the river to the hotel. The change of weather is abrupt. Most of our previous travels within Peru had been at high altitude, low humidity and cooler temperatures. Arriving in the jungle, sweat begins immediately.
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The Tambopata National Reserve
Inkaterra is a Peruvian company operating a number of properties across the country. The hotel works to train and hire local people and there is a focus on environmental sustainability and economic development where they operate. The all-inclusive package includes meals and excursions. A guide is assigned to you upon arrival and works with you to organize your activities during your stay.
Some of the Highlights:
- During a night cruise on the river to see wildlife we were very fortunate to see a jaguar. He was near the river high on the river bank hunting a capybara. It is extremely rare to see a jaguar. For the guide on the boat it was only the second jaguar he has ever seen (and the previous one had been several years before). When we returned and told our guide he thought we were kidding!
- Seeing capybara, the world’s largest rodent weighing 110-130 pounds (50-60 kilos), in the wild. The capybara is related to the guinea pig. We saw several near the banks of the river; they are the size of a small bear.
- The opportunity to learn about traditional medicinal plants from the rainforest. We visited a garden that contains over 200 medicinal plants. If you have any interest in gardening, naturopathy or traditional medicine this is fascinating. We noticed throughout Peru there is a general knowledge of local plants useful as common remedies (i.e. coca leaves for altitude sickness, plants for digestive upsets). In the rainforest Dragon’s Blood was a common remedy. Dragon’s blood is used from both the bark and the resin of a tree found in the rainforest. It is used to internally and externally to stop bleeding, heal wounds, and treat digestive issues.
- A tree top canopy walk almost 100 feet in the air with 7 hanging walkways. The walkway provides you a bird’s eye view of the rainforest and its canopy.
- There are a lot of butterflies in the rainforest and Inkaterra has a Butterfly Pavilion near the Puerto Maldonado airport. Definitely bring a camera.
- A trip to Lake Sandoval to view the wildlife including monkeys, caimans and a wide variety of bird life.
- A walk around the grounds near the hotel at night to spot wildlife including tarantulas.
- A visit to a local farm cultivating rainforest fruits including cashew nuts and processing sun dried bananas.
The Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica
The Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica resort was very nice and a luxurious option for exploring the Amazon rainforest of Peru. The meals and service were top notch. Breakfast was a buffet with the option of freshly cooked eggs. At lunch and dinner there is a choice of meals from a menu which changed daily.
The resort has 35 lantern-lit, palm-thatched cabañas and at night the resorts paths are lit by lantern as well. There is a spa at the resort and a massage is just what you need before dinner. If you want something extra special, the Tambopata Suite has a private terrace with a plunge pool and an outdoor shower. This was a welcome relief from the heat and humidity!
The cabanas feature hammocks, screens, mosquito netting. Umbrellas, flashlights, bathrobes and slippers are also provided. Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is a comfortable way to spend some very relaxing time enjoying the sights and sounds of the jungle.
For more information about visiting the Amazon Rainforest of Peru, see How to Make the Most of 2-3 Weeks in Peru.
If you enjoyed this post, and would like to learn more about traveling through Peru and the the cuisine of Peru, you can find further information on Compass & Fork.