Amazon Basin

The Amazon Basin tops all world records when it comes to flora and fauna. A visit to Peru is not complete without at least one venture into the world's largest rainforest. The easiest way to explore this ocean of green is by taking a trip to Puerto Maldonado, which can be visited directly from Cusco. Another option for exploring the Amazon is Iquitos, Peru's most famous Amazon getaway.

The Peruvian Amazon Basin is part of the largest jungle in the world. The jungle spreads over some 1.7 billion acres (688 million ha) and runs through Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. The source of the Amazon River is in Peru.

All this water must come from somewhere. The real source of the Amazon River is the Mantaro River in southwestern Peru. It also rains four days out of the week on average in the Amazon, but fortunately the rain often descends in sporadic showers. This weather keeps the Amazon Basin moist and fertile, supporting the plants and wildlife that visitors come to experience.

Under the canopy, in a dense tangle of vines, ferns, shrubs, and low trees, the air here is hot and humid, with a huge variety of bats, owls, tree frogs and insects. The forest floor and rivers are home to wild animals like the cougar, jaguar, cayman and anaconda. Their habitat is protected and after decades of conserving the Amazon Basin deforestation rates are finally going down, giving these animals a new opportunity to survive.

The uppermost part of the forest is called the emergent layer. On a flyover, this layer looks like a few broccoli stalks sticking up over other trees. Many trees have trunks that are 16 feet (5 m) across and grow 200 feet (60 m) tall. These trees endure the strongest winds and highest temperatures of the forest and are home to butterflies, bats, eagles, and even some species of monkeys.

Below the emergent layer is the canopy, a dense covering of foliage some 60 to 150 feet (18 to 45 m) above the ground. Here the branches and leaves of trees spread out to form a roof that absorbs 90 percent of the incoming sunlight. Three-toed sloths, monkeys, macaws, frogs, lizards, birds, snakes, and insects live here, giving the canopy the greatest biodiversity of the forest.

Besides animals there are many indigenous tribes living in this secluded part of the world. They are separated into dozens of groups speaking distinct languages. At the time of the Spanish invasion, the indigenous people of the Amazon Basin were mostly semi-nomadic tribes who spent their days hunting, fishing, gathering. These days, they still build their own homes from wood, carve canoes, and hunt using blowpipes and poison-tipped darts.

For centuries, people native to the Amazon have been using the plants for the medicinal qualities. More recently, scientists have discovered that rainforest plants are sources of medicines that can be used to treat diseases like cancer, diabetes, arthritis, AIDS, and Alzheimer's.

Whether it's a week at a lodge in the Amazon or a few days spent exploring the trails and trees here, you won't regret traveling to this incredible region. It's one of the most unique places on the whole planet.

Amazon Basin, Peru, South America

Top Attractions

Destinations in Amazon Basin

2 destinations

Get your Perfect Vacation!
Free Custom Vacation Planning
Start Planning Now
Get Your Perferct Vacation!
Trip solutions to your inbox.
Rated 9.9 out of 10 based on 343 reviews
Trip Advisor
Help is here


Peru Attractions

Heres a list of Peru's Amazing Sights and Attractions

Flora Fauna
Flora Fauna

Spiny Green Lizard


Fishing Bulldog Bat


Squirrel Monkey


Assassin Bugs and Kissing Bugs


Chestnut-mandibled Toucan


Central American Bushmaster




Two-Toed Sloth


Black Witch


Loggerhead Sea Turtle


Keel-billed Toucan


Sperm Whale


Vampire Bat


Black Ctenosaur




Glasswing Butterfly




Fiery-billed Aracari and Collared Aracari


White Leadtree


Pacific Spotted Dolphin


Common Dolphin


Bullet Ant


Common Basilisk






Spectacled Caiman


Panamanian Night Monkey


Chestnut-headed Oropendola


Brown Pelican


Spanish cedar (Cedrela odorata)


Turkey Vulture




Saman (Samanea saman, aka Albizia saman)


Hawksbill Sea Turtle


Baird's Tapir


Turquoise-browed Motmot


Long-tailed Hermit


Three-wattled Bellbird


Chestnut-fronted Macaw


Green Page Moth


Collared Peccary






Giant Toad or Cane Toad




American Crocodile


Milk Frog


Pink Shower Tree


Army Ant


Guanacaste Tree (Elephant Ear)




Common Tink Frog


Bare-necked Umbrellabird


Orca, Killer Whale


Red Brocket Deer




White-lipped Peccaries


Bottle-nosed Dolphin




Tonka Bean Tree


Boa Constrictor


Golden Orb Weaver


Long-tailed Manakin


Narrow-headed Vine Snake


Blue Morpho


Arboreal Termites


Stinking Toe Tree


Helicopter Damselfly






Monkey Tail (Guaba chilillo)




Green Heron


Blue-and-Yellow Macaw


Red-Eyed Leaf (Tree) Frog




Fin Whale


Rhinoceros Beetle


Great Green Macaw




Leaf-Cutter Ant


Glass Frog


Walking Stick


Scarlet Macaw


House Gecko




Green Turtle




Spider Monkey


Brilliant Forest Frog


Blue-jeans Frog


Magnificent Frigatebird


Mantled Howler Monkey


Resplendent Quetzal


Spotted Longwing


Owl Butterfly




Monarch Butterfly


White-Faced or Capuchin Monkey






Leatherback Turtle


Three-Toed Sloth


Humpback Whale


Olive Ridley Sea Turtle




Ice Cream Bean Tree


Ground Anole


Violet Sabrewing


Green Iguana