Travel Guide Peru: Amazon Rainforest
The rainforests of the Amazon form one of the most species-rich areas of our planet. Endless jungles and a breathtaking flora and fauna can be discovered here. Learn more about the Amazon rainforest in our blog
The Amazon rainforest forms around the world's largest river, the Amazon. The Amazon originates in the Peruvian Andes and flows into the Atlantic Ocean at the island of Marajó on the Brazilian Atlantic coast. The species-rich life of the Amazon rainforest is particularly characterised by the enormous water masses of the river. With a basin of over 7 million km², the Amazon is the largest freshwater reservoir on earth and supplies the extreme vegetation of the immense area with water.
About 13% of the approximately 5,500,000 km² Amazon rainforest is located in Peru. As in other countries in South America where the Amazon rainforest is found, the Amazon rainforest in Peru is a real biodiversity hotspot due to its many endemic animal and plant species.
The avifauna in particular is one of the richest in species worldwide. With over 1800 species, more birds live here than in Europe and North America together. But also large numbers of insects, reptiles and mammals can be found in the green depths and make the jungle of Peru an absolute must-see for all South American travellers and nature lovers.
Northern South America, in the Amazon Basin
approx. 5.5 million km²
Jaguars, primates, poison dart frogs, anacondas, river dolphins, countless bird species and over 2.5 million different insect species
Best travel time
May to August
Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado, boat trips along the small river arms and the lush flora and fauna
Visiting the Amazon rainforest
Location, geography and climate
The Amazon rainforest, covering an area of approx. 5.5 million km², is one of the last places in the world untouched by man. The area covers nine different countries. About 60% of the rainforest is in Brazil, another 13% in Peru and about 10% in Colombia. Other small parts are located in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana.
The landscape is extremely humid and lush. During the dry season, the rainforest is crossed by a multitude of small river arms which form the basis for such extreme vegetation. In the rainy season, large plains of the rainforest are flooded and many of the small rivers combine to form a larger stream.
The climate is tropical. Due to its location on the equator, there is no clear change between summer and winter. Only the amount of precipitation changes during the winter months. A so-called daytime climate prevails in the Amazon rainforest. This means that most days in the tropics follow a certain rhythm. With sunrise, the temperature rises to about 30°C before it starts raining at noon. Such a rain shower is strong but only of short duration. In the afternoon the sky clears up more and more, before the sun finally sets and the temperatures at night sink to approx. 20°C.
Flora and fauna
With over 2.5 million different insect species, tenthousands of plant species and around 2000 bird and mammal species, the Amazon rainforest is the world's most species-rich area. From big cats of prey like jaguars and pumas to huge anacondas to exotic species like the electric eel and the poison dart frogs – there is an extremely high biodiversity. The Amazon also forms the basis for an extremely species-rich underwater world. Piranhas, river dolphins and even the highly endangered Amazon manatee can be found in the rivers of the rainforest. The treetops of the Amazon rainforest are also a habitat for a variety of primates such as the capuchin monkeys or the well-known howler monkeys. There is still a lot of research to be done on the relationships and behaviours of these fascinating primates.
The evergreen treetops of the Amazon rainforest are so dense and concentrated on an enormous area that the rainforest can hardly be overlooked even from outer space. A 2001 study shows that a quarter square kilometre of tropical rainforest can contain over 1000 different tree species. But not only tree species, but also ferns, flowers and shrubs form the "multi-storey" plant biome of the tropical rainforest. To give an example of how gigantic the biomass of the Amazon rainforest is: One square kilometre of rainforest in the Amazon Basin has an average plant mass of 90,790 tons!
A true highlight is to start your journey into the Amazon rainforest from the city of Iquitos. The city is situated in the middle of the rainforest and can only be reached by water. A unique start to your jungle adventure! In the Amazon rainforest itself it is advisable to explore the landscape and the rainforest by boat. The boat offers the opportunity to immerse yourself into the jungle through the small waterways of the Amazon and to experience the unique flora and fauna up close. You can also explore the rainforest on foot with a guide in order to track down even the smallest animals and plants.
Since exploration of the Amazon rainforest has started, Puerto Maldonado was and is used as a starting point for expeditions into the green depths. Due to the direct proximity to the rainforest you can experience and see a lot from there. Whether in luxurious rainforest camps or very simple jungle base camps – from here some of the adventurous expeditions start by boat, by car or on foot into the fascinating and breathtaking Amazon world.