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

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Peru Attractions

Heres a list of Peru's Amazing Sights and Attractions

Attractions
Flora Fauna
Flora Fauna
 

Spiny Green Lizard

 

Fishing Bulldog Bat

 

Squirrel Monkey

 

Assassin Bugs and Kissing Bugs

 

Chestnut-mandibled Toucan

 

Central American Bushmaster

 

Jaguarundi

 

Two-Toed Sloth

 

Black Witch

 

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

 

Keel-billed Toucan

 

Sperm Whale

 

Vampire Bat

 

Black Ctenosaur

 

Tarantula

 

Glasswing Butterfly

 

Agouti

 

Fiery-billed Aracari and Collared Aracari

 

White Leadtree

 

Pacific Spotted Dolphin

 

Common Dolphin

 

Bullet Ant

 

Common Basilisk

 

Tayra

 

Jaguar

 

Spectacled Caiman

 

Panamanian Night Monkey

 

Chestnut-headed Oropendola

 

Brown Pelican

 

Spanish cedar (Cedrela odorata)

 

Turkey Vulture

 

Fer-de-Lance

 

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

 

Andiroba

 

Oncilla

 

Giant Toad or Cane Toad

 

Olingo

 

American Crocodile

 

Milk Frog

 

Pink Shower Tree

 

Army Ant

 

Guanacaste Tree (Elephant Ear)

 

Margay

 

Common Tink Frog

 

Bare-necked Umbrellabird

 

Orca, Killer Whale

 

Red Brocket Deer

 

Coati

 

White-lipped Peccaries

 

Bottle-nosed Dolphin

 

Cook

 

Tonka Bean Tree

 

Boa Constrictor

 

Golden Orb Weaver

 

Long-tailed Manakin

 

Narrow-headed Vine Snake

 

Blue Morpho

 

Arboreal Termites

 

Stinking Toe Tree

 

Helicopter Damselfly

 

Paca

 

Scorpions

 

Monkey Tail (Guaba chilillo)

 

Zopilota

 

Green Heron

 

Blue-and-Yellow Macaw

 

Red-Eyed Leaf (Tree) Frog

 

Capybara

 

Fin Whale

 

Rhinoceros Beetle

 

Great Green Macaw

 

Ocelot

 

Leaf-Cutter Ant

 

Glass Frog

 

Walking Stick

 

Scarlet Macaw

 

House Gecko

 

Barbachele

 

Green Turtle

 

Puma

 

Spider Monkey

 

Brilliant Forest Frog

 

Blue-jeans Frog

 

Magnificent Frigatebird

 

Mantled Howler Monkey

 

Resplendent Quetzal

 

Spotted Longwing

 

Owl Butterfly

 

Armadillo

 

Monarch Butterfly

 

White-Faced or Capuchin Monkey

 

Millipede

 

Bananaquit

 

Leatherback Turtle

 

Three-Toed Sloth

 

Humpback Whale

 

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

 

Kinkajou

 

Ice Cream Bean Tree

 

Ground Anole

 

Violet Sabrewing

 

Green Iguana