When you’re in South America the Amazon is one of those things that is just a must do. You can see the Amazon in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil, depending on the time of year for the rainy season. We headed to the Peruvian Amazon because it was cheaper than both Ecuador and Brazil and it was rainy season in Bolivia. When you go to take a tour you are never sure of the quality you will get in reality. You never 100% know, no matter how much someone explains it in there broken English. But this Amazon tour in Peru completely went above expectations, all for $130 US. The tour was a complete three-day immersion of wild jungle adventure. Cruising along the murky waterways, spotting beautiful Amazonian birds and animals with learning about native life. It was an amazing taster of the biggest rainforest and river in the world. This is my guide to an Amazon tour in Peru. What to actually expect and my tips for the activities while you’re there.
You have a few options. You can either fly which is a short 45 minute flight from Cusco, 1:35 minutes from Lima or an overnight bus from Cusco. It just depends on money and time. Our flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado cost us $80 US return. From Lima it’s around $120 US and the overnight bus is around $20 US each way.
The lodgings are very good quality, they all had mosquito nets without holes over the bed, although there were holes in the roofs so the rooms weren’t completely mosquito proof. You’re given towels, toilet paper and soap so again another thing off your mind. The shower in the small lodges were some of the best I’ve had since travelling.
The meals were large portions and decent food. We’re talking soups, fish, veggies and rice for lunch and dinner with breakfast being star of the show- pancakes, toast jams, plantain, eggs and fruit salads. All with coffee, teas and juices. For the days you didn’t come back to the lodge for meals, you were given a banana leaf wrapped rice dish with fruits. I never felt hungry, but bringing snacks could be a good idea for the in between travelling. There are however snacks you can buy at the lodge if you want- think biscuits, crisps etc.
When you arrive you are assigned a tour guide, they go through and guide you in all the activities while you’re there. Often they come from the local tribes or town. They are knowledgable but more importantly love the plants and animals of the Amazon, you could really tell our guide loved doing what he does. Tour guides are required to go to university and study for seven years to become a guide in Peru. So it’s safe to say they know their stuff by the time they’re qualified!
It is muggy and hot in the jungle, so wear breathable clothes. Bugs and mosquitos are a given, so long lightweight clothing to cover as much of your skin as possible is a good idea.
Amazon tour in Peru: Monkey Island.
You have the choice of taking the boat or kayaking down to ‘Monkey Island’. We chose to kayak as it was a beautiful day. It was about 45 minutes of kayaking before arriving to monkey island. The island was developed by NGOs so the monkeys are very comfortable with humans being close by. They also know that the guides have food for them, so are happy to get up close and personal. It was about a 30-minute walk before we saw Spider and Chapuchin monkeys. We then headed back to the boat and got the motor boat back as the stream was far too strong for kayaking back.
- Wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet for kayaking.
- Take there offer of the Wellys for the walk. One women was wearing ballet pumps and they went from a dark purple to a light brown.
Amazon tour in Peru: Canoeing in swamps, Lago Sandoval & trekking
It was all agreed the day on Lago Sandoval was the best. A morning that starts at 10am with a short ride to the opposite side of the Amazon before a 3km trek through the forest. We stopped only briefly to discuss the flora and forna of this part of the Amazon and were lucky enough to see three types of monkeys; Howler, Spider and Chapuchin. Getting to the lake was amazing, we spent the first twenty minutes going through small knotty estuaries to get to the main lake. Canoeing on the lake you get to see wild otters and so many different pieces of bird including; Oropendolas, Amazon King Fishers and Hoatzin (don’t worry the names meant zero to me before as well). We even saw bats on the trunks of the palms. The lake itself is breathtakingly beautiful. I’m not particularly an animal enthusiast and I was still absolutely absorbed by it all. We stopped at the opposite side of the lake with benches to have our ready prepared lunches of rice, chicken and eggs wrapped in a banana leaf, along with a few pieces of fruit. Eventually making our way back the way we came, spotting more wildlife along the way before arriving back to the lodges at around 5pm.
- It’s muggy but there are bugs everywhere. If you can, wear clothes to cover your skin or shower in deet.
- If you have a long lens for your camera, bring it for the wildlife you will spot. Particularly in rainy season do also bring a raincoat because it can turn in minutes and bucket it down!
- A big bottle of water won’t go a miss.
- Don’t worry about footwear, wellys/gum boots whatever you call, them are provided for you.
Amazon tour in Peru: Spotting parrots and parakeets.
A 4:30am start that is immediately cancelled if it’s raining. If not, still wrap up warm because once your on the boat and it’s moving it’s chilly. But with this start we got what was one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen. It takes about 90 minutes or so to get there and then back, spending about 30 minutes watching the birds. You get to see a variety of Macaws and Parakeets before heading back.
- Warm clothes.
- A small snack but thats because I hate that early morning hunger feeling.
- Binoculars if you have them A long lens on your camera if you have one.
Amazon tour in Peru: Visiting a native family.
A little gimmicky considering now the majority of the tribes new generation head to the town for education and a more modern life. But we spent an hour or so with them, learning games they played, trying out there bow and arrows, along with hearing from the tribe leader. They also offer small souvenirs.
- Nothing here really, a little money if you want to buy something they are offering.
- Make sure to deet up as well because your still in the jungle.
Amazon tour in Peru: Fishing.
A relaxing way to finishing the time here is fishing. You are given very basic fishing gear with bait and head on out in the long boat to spend the afternoon fishing on the Amazon river. We caught three or four different kinds of fish throughout the afternoon but all in all it’s very relaxing, there’s not that much more too it. We also had the option of taking a dip in the Amazon river if we wanted.
Anything extra to think about?
- No need to think about buying water, there is refillable water at the lodges which is fab!
- Mosquito spray!
- For the people addicted to there phones, you can get 3G here.