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What’s it like to visit the Amazon Rainforest in northern Peru?

The Amazon Rainforest. The name alone conjures up all sorts of exotic images. Vast and largely untamed, the world’s largest tropical rainforest is the most biodiverse place on earth. It is also home to around 400 indigenous tribes, some of whom still have no contact with the outside world.

Unfortunately this wonderful place is being destroyed at a staggering rate. Particularly in Brazil, where deforestation has increased by 30% since 2018, mainly due to land clearing for cattle farming and illegal logging.

photo of an amazon tributary covered in aquatic plants
Vast and largely untamed, visiting the world’s largest tropical rainforest is a unique experience

I originally planned on only visiting Colombia and Ecuador during my South America trip. I only had 2 months and wanted to spend more time exploring both countries rather than rushing from one place to the next as on my Central America trip. However the more I researched the more I found myself gravitating towards including a visit to northern Peru.

When I found out the city of Iquitos, the biggest city in the world that can only be reached by plane or boat, was one of the best jumping of points for an Amazon adventure, my decision was made.

Spending 4 days deep in the northern Peruvian rainforest

Photo of the sky at dusk in the northern Peruvian Amazon
Dusk in the Northern Peruvian Amazon

The Peruvian Amazon is considered to be the best protected tract of the Amazon rainforest. It also has some of the best Amazon lodges. In early February 2019 I spent 4 days staying in the Muyuna Amazon Lodge. The lodge is located deep in the Amazon jungle in the remote Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Reserve. The remote setting made the Amazon experience even more authentic. You can read about my experience at the lodge here.

Spotting wildlife in the Peruvian Amazon

photo of two blue and yellow macaws in a tree in the peruvian amazon
Blue and Yellow Macaws were easy to spot thanks to their bright feathers

The Amazon isn’t a wildlife park or a zoo, this is the rainforest jungle and these are truly wild animals. That meant that although we spotted dozens of different animals, most of them were at a distance. This often required the eagle eyes and years of experience of the guides and a pair of binoculars (shared around by the guides).

My favourite animal encounters where seeing a Smoky Jungle Frog (giant frog) and a pink toe tarantula on a night walk in the forest, spotting a pygmy marmoset, and holding a juvenile Caiman.

The Amazon Rainforest Experience

However a trip to the Amazon is about much more than just seeing the exotic wildlife. No matter how much you’ve seen or read about the Amazon before nothing can really prepare you for the experience of actually being there.

Photo of an amazon village in northern peru
Small sparsely populated villages are located throughout the Amazon basin

What struck me most was the incredible peace. We were in the middle of nowhere. When I say peaceful, I don’t mean quiet. The Amazon jungle is a symphony of natural sounds. Roaring howler monkeys, buzzing Insects, birds singing and calling, and at night thousands of very loud frogs. There is however something very different about the noises made by animals in their natural environment and the human-made noises of the city.

Deep in the Amazon jungle there are no cars or motorbikes, no planes or helicopters flying overhead. The only unnatural noises are the small engines on the speedboats. The lack of buildings means the sky is wide open and the vistas stretch on forever. It seems otherworldly.

photo of small wooden motor boat with amazon villagers in it
By boat is the only way to get around here, there are no roads!

There are no annoying Smartphones pinging, no WiFi or phone reception. A true digital detox. Almost everything here runs by the natural rhythms of day and night, light and dark, rain or sun. You feel more present as the inspiring surroundings hold your gaze and attention. It is the ultimate mindfulness experience.

I had an incredible few days. The experience will stay with me for the rest of my life. I feel profoundly impacted by the time I spent in the Amazon, even typing this is making me feel emotional. If visiting the Amazon is something you’ve always dreamed of, do your best to make it a reality. It is truly an awe inspiring experience.

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