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

Flora Fauna
Flora Fauna

Rhinoceros Beetle


House Gecko


Monkey Tail (Guaba chilillo)


Glass Frog


Common Basilisk


Spectacled Caiman


Hawksbill Sea Turtle


Leatherback Turtle


Fishing Bulldog Bat


Scarlet Macaw


Long-tailed Hermit




Boa Constrictor


Common Dolphin


Spiny Green Lizard


Leaf-Cutter Ant






Blue-jeans Frog


Resplendent Quetzal


Monarch Butterfly


Sperm Whale


Magnificent Frigatebird




Green Page Moth


Two-Toed Sloth




Green Heron


Bare-necked Umbrellabird


Turquoise-browed Motmot


Red Brocket Deer








Bottle-nosed Dolphin


Red-Eyed Leaf (Tree) Frog


White-lipped Peccaries


Chestnut-fronted Macaw


American Crocodile


Blue-and-Yellow Macaw


Owl Butterfly


Baird's Tapir


Tonka Bean Tree


Keel-billed Toucan


Vampire Bat


Humpback Whale




Spider Monkey


Ground Anole


Brown Pelican


Mantled Howler Monkey




Army Ant


Arboreal Termites


Giant Toad or Cane Toad




Central American Bushmaster


Pacific Spotted Dolphin


Golden Orb Weaver


White-Faced or Capuchin Monkey


Great Green Macaw


Glasswing Butterfly




Pink Shower Tree


Stinking Toe Tree


White Leadtree


Fiery-billed Aracari and Collared Aracari


Ice Cream Bean Tree




Walking Stick




Long-tailed Manakin


Green Turtle


Brilliant Forest Frog


Assassin Bugs and Kissing Bugs


Spanish cedar (Cedrela odorata)


Panamanian Night Monkey




Common Tink Frog


Chestnut-mandibled Toucan


Narrow-headed Vine Snake


Loggerhead Sea Turtle


Collared Peccary






Orca, Killer Whale


Milk Frog


Guanacaste Tree (Elephant Ear)






Black Ctenosaur


Helicopter Damselfly


Fin Whale




Turkey Vulture


Green Iguana




Black Witch


Squirrel Monkey


Three-wattled Bellbird


Saman (Samanea saman, aka Albizia saman)


Blue Morpho


Chestnut-headed Oropendola


Violet Sabrewing


Olive Ridley Sea Turtle




Spotted Longwing


Three-Toed Sloth


Bullet Ant