Explore South America Product Manager Linda Harris recently returned from some time in the region, where she finished her trip up with a stay in the Amazon rainforest.
I have recently returned from spending three nights in the Peruvian Amazon. It was an amazing experience - in this day and age it was great to get away from civilisation and have no internet connection for a while!
The Amazon basin covers two fifths of South America, shared by many countries including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Venezuela. Most of the basin is covered by the Amazon rainforest, which is the largest in the world. The Amazon comprises 60% of Peru so no visit to Peru is complete without visiting the Amazon.
I travelled to the Peruvian Southern Amazon from Puerto Maldonado, which is just a 30 minute flight from Cusco. After arriving in Puerto Maldonado, you take a motorised canoe to sail down the Madre de Dios River to arrive to the lodge.
One of my favourite things I did during my stay was searching for wildlife from a canoe at night. I saw several caiman (relatively small members of the crocodile family that live in South and Central America) and just when I was getting tired sitting in the dark having not seen anything for a while, we were rewarded with a sighting of a family of capybara, about 8-9 of them. We were able to get really close to them and it was very special. As they are the world’s largest rodent (native to South America), I hadn’t expected to like them but I have to admit the babies were pretty cute!
I also visited Monkey Island where the lodge owners have rescued monkeys that were being kept for pets and rehabilitated them. There are four different types of monkeys there including spider monkeys and it was really fun to see them all jumping from tree to tree.
It was also very interesting to go for a botanical walk through the jungle. A local guide pointed out different flora and fauna. We saw a baby tarantula (although it looked pretty big to me!) and a lot of plants, all of which seemed to have a use that the local people use for medicine or for dying clothes and so on.
I also went to a clay lick where we waited and try and see some parakeets. Apparently, they eat clay because of the sodium in it. They arrive in big groups and seeing a group of colourful parrots and parakeets descending through the air to a clay lick is very memorable.
For anyone going to Peru, I would recommend extending their trip by a few days to go to the Amazon; if you have the time, it is well worth it! Some advice would be to make sure you take long-sleeved tops and trousers, mosquito repellent, sun cream and a torch. You leave your main luggage in Puerto Maldonado too so you will also need a small bag to fit your belongings for just a few days.
View all our Peru tours, including those with Amazon extensions.
By Linda Harris