- Located in South Peru on the borders with Brazil and Bolivia
- Two of the parks with the largest diversity in Peru and the Amazon Rainforest
- Tambopata is known for its excellent accessibility
- Manu is known for its unparalleled diversity in bird and other species
Two of Peru’s most famous Amazon Rainforest parks can be found in South Peru around the city of Puerto Maldonado. The Manu National Park is a more cloud forest park with altitudes around 400m (1,300ft) and the Tambopata National Park is in the low jungle on altitudes around 100m (300ft). This results in different fauna and flora to be found in both parks with the Manu park very much known for its birds and reptiles meanwhile the Tambopata park is better known for its monkeys, giant otters and capybara’s. When it comes to accessibility the Tambopata national park is a lot easier to get to as it only requires a short to medium boat ride to get to most lodges. Manu National Park is still quite the undertaking to get to. There are no longer flights to a small airfield at the border of the park so one either has to travel overland from Cusco (about 8 hours during dry season) or fly to Puerto Maldonado and from here take a long boat journey to get to the entrance of the park. In any case whether it is Tambopata or Manu, both of these will allow you a unique glimpse on the life in the deep Amazon jungle.
THINGS TO DO
Amazon Rainforest History
Unlike the Amazon Basin in north Peru, the Southern Peruvian Amazon were only explored many years later. As in North Peru the main catalyst for the exploration was the rubber boom of the early 1900’s. The city of Puerto Maldonado, the largest city in the Southern Peruvian Amazon was founded in 1902 on the confluence of the Madre de Dios and the Tambopata Rivers. Nowadays Puerto Maldonado is still an important city in South Peru being the main gateway to the Tambopata and Manu National Park as well as producing oil, gold and exotic timber. These resources are also some of the region’s biggest problems and threats to nature. The rainfall in the Amazon region for instance is said to be decreasing due to indiscriminate deforestation by mining, oil production or logging. Each year, large areas of the forest are cut down increasing global warming pollution from the carbon dioxide and methane released due to the decaying and burning plants. Amazon rainforest is supposed to represent half the rainforests in the world today, so needless to say, it will be a great loss if we do not find a way to counteract this.
Amazon Rainforest Geography
Peru holds South America’s second largest part of Amazon Rainforest (only surpassed by Brazil) and is the birthplace of the mighty Amazon River running from the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean. The river springs close to Arequipa and then crosses the Andes to reach the lowlands of the jungle from where it runs via Puerto Maldonado and Pucallpa to north Peru finally changing name to the Amazon River. The Amazon Rainforest almost counts for about 50% of Peruvian territory but only has about 10% of the population. Iquitos is the largest jungle city in Peru followed by Pucallpa and Puerto Maldonado. The altitude in the jungle differs more than most people think with the cloud forest altitude border at about 2,500 meters (8,200ft) above sea level and the low jungle running to almost 0m (0ft). Through these altitudes the landscape changes drastically with sheer and steep lush green peaks in the higher parts of the jungle and large flat dense jungle parts only crossed by rivers in the lower parts. Fauna and flora is also for a large part organized around these altitudes as well as the types of forests that appear on each altitude. The Amazon rainforest climate in general is hot and humid. Temperatures are around 28°C (82ºF) during the day throughout the year which gets compounded due to the high humidity. There aren’t too many seasonal changes but rain can be more present during the rainy season. Due to the large river basin and the tropical heat, the moist air near the ground is heated, causing it to rise. When it reaches the condensation point, it forms rain clouds. This process happens the whole year. This type of rainfall is called convectional rainfall and the reason it can rain on any day during the year in the Amazon forest.
Amazon Rainforest Weather
- Rain is possible throughout the year with more frequent rains in the rainy season
- Rainy season from November through April – high river season
- Dry season April through October – low river season
- Hot and humid all year round
- Average Min / Max Rainy season 22ºC/72ºF – 33ºC/92ºF
- Average Min / Max Dry season 18ºC/65ºF – 31ºC/88ºF
- Most rain falls in January, February and March
Amazon Rainforest Attractions
Such a massive destination in Peru it is obvious there is plenty to see and do in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. Nevertheless no visit to the Amazon is complete without having done; a boat ride on a true jungle river, hike through the dense forest in day and night time, climb a canopy tower or walkway through the treetops, spot wildlife on the banks of lakes and rivers from a canoe and spend the night listening to the amazing sounds of nature. The main animals visitors get in front of their lens here are caimans, monkeys, sloths, capybaras, giant river otters, macaws, spiders, snakes as well as dozens of different bird species.