Stunning natural beauty can be found in every corner of Peru. The peaks of the Andes rise up between the dense jungle of the Amazon Basin and the wild coastline of the Pacific, with high-altitude lakes, rivers, nature reserves, and canyons, too. Yes, Peru is absolutely filled with outdoor gems.
When it comes to nature in Peru, nothing beats heading deep into the Amazon Basin. Here, trees tower toward the sky, shading the dense forest floor and playing home to creatures big, small, and scary. Thankfully, cities like Iquitos exist to get you up-close and personal with nature, without having to sleep with the spiders or forego your home comforts.
Jungle excursions can be organized from the city for day trips or multi-night adventures in a nearby ecolodge. Journey along the Amazon River and stalk jaguars and caiman crocodiles on the riverbanks, pink dolphins in the water, and a thousand varieties of tropical birds perched in the trees. With one of the most biodiverse rainforests in the world, each and every trip to Iquitos and the surrounding jungles guarantees a wildlife encounter.
From the city, you can also visit a number of nearby wildlife sanctuaries, including the Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm, the Manatee Rescue Center, and the Monkey Island Rehabilitation Centre.
When you think of Peruvian wildlife and nature, you probably imagine the dense, lively jungles of the Amazon. Indeed, an extraordinary percentage of Peru's flora and fauna can be found there. But, head to the coastal city of Paracas and the nearby Paracas National Reserve and you'll find an entirely different landscape inhabited by the likes of sea lions, flamingos, and penguins.
The rugged coastal landscape of Paracas is reason enough to journey south beyond Pisco, with towering cliffs, red-sand beaches, and sand dunes. More than 100 pre-Incan archaeological sites are spread out over this desolate, sun-baked land.
Paracas is also the launching point for boat tours to Islas Ballestas, which is affectionately named the 'poor man's Galapagos'. Really, it is a rather humble name for the small archipelago that is home to such abundant wildlife.