Here is our selection of the top ten lodges in Peru’s Amazon Rainforest. The first five are the Peruvian Amazon’s best deep rainforest lodges suited to a tour of 5 days or more due to the time getting there and back. If you have less time available to explore the jungle, we recommend some of the excellent lodges located closer to Puerto Maldonado, which start at number six on this list with the Posada Amazonas Lodge.
The Manu Wildlife Center
Possibly the most amazing lodge in the Amazon Rainforest for wildlife, we know of no other lodge where you have such a high chance of seeing all the iconic Amazonian animals.
The Manu Wildlife Center is located at the outside edge of the famous Manu National Park and positioned in the Amarakaeri Reserved Zone. The Manu rainforest contains the highest diversity of life in Peru, including an incredible variety of colorful birds, monkeys, tree frogs, reptiles, and butterflies.
The lodge was carefully positioned to maximize wildlife sightings and is located by one of the Amazon’s most photogenic macaw clay licks where hundreds of parrots come to feed from the salt rich and medicinal clay. In addition, from the lodge you can visit a nearby lake to see the giant river otters and a tapir lick to spot South America’s largest land-living mammal. If this wasn’t enough, around 10% of all Manu Wildlife Center guests report seeing jaguar, the Amazon’s most sought after wildlife sighting.
From the Manu Wildlife Center, you will then enjoy expertly guided tours on the miles of nature trails winding their way through the forest. This is where you will see several different species of monkeys that call the forest home, such as howler monkeys, capuchins, titi monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and marmosets.
The lodge operates its regular departure program from March through December and to reach the lodge, you will first fly into Puerto Maldonado located just south of Cusco. You will be met by the lodge staff and will travel down the mighty Madre de Dios River to the Amarakaeri Reserved Zone of the Manu rainforest and the Manu Wildlife Center to being your tour. The lodge has been heralded by Conde Nast Traveler as the most intense wildlife experience in Amazonia.
The Tambopata Research Center
Accessed from Puerto Maldonado and near one of the largest macaw clay licks in the Amazon Rainforest, the Tambopata Research Center is positioned inside the highly biodiverse Tambopata National Reserve. The rainforest here is part of one of the largest continuous tracts of protected tropical forest on Earth with more clay licks than anywhere else in Amazonia.
Clay licks are areas of exposed clay where many different animals come to feed off the salt rich and medicinal substrate. One of the most famous visitors are the large and colorful macaw parrots. Macaws are thought to eat the clay to help obtain salts and to detoxify unripe fruits and seeds they have eaten in the forest. At the Tambopata Research Center, you can enjoy seeing several species of colorful parrots visiting the licks.
Because of the lodge’s fantastic position, the Tambopata Research Center is also visited by researchers studying the macaws. You can enjoy talking with the researchers to see what they’re doing and listen in on talks to learn a little more about these interesting animals.
In addition to the macaws, the lodge is one of the deepest lodges in the Amazon Rainforest where the surrounding animals and plants are at carrying capacity. This means you can walk the forest trails to see a fantastic amount of animals and plants, including many different rainforest monkeys. Enjoy guided tours to spot the howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, capuchins, titi monkeys, tamarins, and spider monkeys. Because of the high amount of herbivores, some lucky guests also stand a chance of spotting jaguar lying on the river bank.
Visitors to the Tambopata Research Center will also spend a night at the Refugio Amazonas Lodge and can choose from a selection of add-on activities, such as jungle mountain biking, kayaking, a sunset cruise, canopy climbing, getting a rainforest tattoo, and paddle boarding.
The Heath River Wildlife Center
The Heath River Wildlife Center is another fantastic lodge from Puerto Maldonado where you have a higher chance of spotting South America’s largest land mammal, the tapir and a great many colorful macaws. Heath River Wildlife Center is located near another of the Amazon’s largest clay licks where you will view the parrots from the comfort of a floating hide. The floating hide means you can get a little closer to the clay licks for some fantastic photography opportunities. At this particular lick, 260 macaws at once have been spotted at the clay making an incredible display of sound and color.
Heath River Wildlife Center is the only lodge on the Heath River, which runs between the highly diverse Tambopata National Reserve and the Madidi National Park in Bolivia. This is continuous forest and is part of the largest area of protected tropical forest on Earth. The protected areas that make up this section are the Tambopata Reserve, Madidi National Park, and the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park.
Enjoy guided tours on the many different trails through the Amazon Rainforest to spot several different monkeys, such as the howler monkeys, capuchins, and tamarins. You will also see some other rainforest mammals and fantastic birdlife. What’s unique about this particular lodge is that you are also close to the savannah ecosystem offering a completely different set of animals and plants. This bumps up the biodiversity you can see from one lodge and they have just started seeing evidence of the elegant maned wolves living nearby.
From the lodge, you can also enjoy tours to the remaining Ese’Eja indigenous people and learn of their nomadic ancestors. As a great add-on experience, you can also combine the Heath River Wildlife Center with the Sandoval Lake Lodge to see three of the Amazon Rainforest’s most iconic animals of the tapir, giant macaw parrots, and then the much loved giant river otters at the beautiful Sandoval Lake.
The Tahuayo Lodge
What sets the Tahuayo Lodge apart from others on this list is the default customized itinerary and private guide to experience the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve. This is a deep rainforest lodge 150 km from the city of Iquitos in northern Peru.
The Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve is a continuous area of rainforest with the highly regarded flooded forest of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. The Tahuayo Reserve offers a higher amount of non-flooded forest where you can walk and hike the many trails around the reserve.
The reserve here is reported to contain a higher diversity of primates than many of the other Peruvian protected areas where you can see many different monkeys. On tours of six days or more, you will spend time at both the Tahuayo’s lodges, which are the main Tahuayo Lodge and the Amazon Research Center located deeper still in Amazonia.
Behind the Amazon Research Center (ARC) is a 1000 acre primate research grid where you can spot howler monkeys, different tamarins, squirrel monkeys, the very intelligent capuchin monkeys, titi monkeys, and the tiny pygmy marmosets, which are easily seen from the main Tahuayo Lodge as well.
The Tahuayo Lodge itself offers the most itinerary options in Amazonia and you can also enjoy the largest canopy zipline in the rainforest. Spend your time in the rainforest walking the trails, canoeing the tropical environment, spotting poison dart frogs at Frog Belly, watching the small colorful manakins at the manakin lek, and boating around the protected area wildlife watching.
Because you have your own private guide and custom itinerary, you can enjoy exploring the reserve in your own time focusing on a general experience, photography, or a more adventurous tour. Choose to camp in the rainforest for one or two nights to get as close as you can to Amazonia or test yourself on a short Amazon survival course.
The Manu Tented Camp
The Manu Tented Camp is a combination lodge offered as a package with the Manu Wildlife Center at number one on this list. The reason for this is because Manu Tented Camp is a low impact lodge located within the boundary of the Manu National Park itself. This is the largest and more pristine national park in Peru. Because of the strict regulations for tours inside the park boundary, visitors are only permitted within Manu National Park for a few days. This means it makes a perfect combination tour with the nearby Manu Wildlife Center mentioned above. This also means you increase your chances of seeing the larger Amazon Rainforest animals.
Enjoy a choice of package options to combine Manu Tented Camp with Manu Wildlife Center or to combine three Manu Rainforest lodges of the Manu Tented Camp, Manu Wildlife Center, and the Cock of the Rock Lodge, which is located in Manu’s cloud forest high in the Andes. The combination programs you can choose that include the Manu Tented Camp are the Manu Explorer, Manu Adventurer, and the Manu, Tapir & Macaw Clay Licks tour.
While at the Manu Tented Camp, enjoy visiting the oxbow lake of Cocha Salvador to see giant river otters and walk the different trails to see many of the Manu National Park’s 13 monkey species, the many colorful birds, and a diversity of tree frogs. While cruising the waterways, you’re also likely to see a capybara, the world’s largest rodent, walking along the river bank.
Although the wildlife of Manu National Park is free to move around the continuous forest, such as the forest of the Amarakaeri Reserved Zone, the park itself contains a few more species. You will also visit the Manu Wildlife Center to enjoy the large macaw clay lick, tapir lick, and a higher chance of spotting wild jaguar.
The Posada Amazonas Lodge
A fantastic community owned rainforest lodge, Posada Amazonas Lodge provides a lodge surrounded by a high level of animals and plants very close to the base town of Puerto Maldonado. Puerto Maldonado is gifted with the Tambopata Rainforest less than an hour away. This means it’s the ideal place for a short Amazon Rainforest tour of two or three days.
The reason for this is because you won’t waste time getting to and from the lodge, which if you only have a few days available takes away a significant fraction of time that could be better spent watching Amazonian wildlife. After only 45 minutes traveling from Puerto Maldonado by boat, you will be at the Posada Amazonas.
On guided expeditions around the Posada Amazonas Lodge, you can see different monkeys in the forest, parrots, some mammals at the small clay licks, and giant river otters on tours of the nearby Amazonian lake.
The Posada Amazonas also has a 30 meter scaffolding canopy tower for views over the rainforest to see some colorful birds, such as parrots, parakeets, macaws, and toucans. From the lodge, you will also visit an ethnobotanical trail and a working farm to see how people live in the rainforest.
You can also choose a range of add-on activities, such as jungle mountain biking, kayaking, paddle boarding, and canopy climbing. This makes the Posada Amazonas a fantastic choice for a short adventurous Amazon tour of 3 or 4 days.
The Posada Amazonas Lodge offers a choice of very comfortable rooms, which all open out onto the rainforest to keep you connected with this incredible environment. Mosquito nets on all beds then keep you protected for a comfortable night. In addition to comfortable suites and beds to relax you, Posada Amazonas also offers a small spa whenever you would like a massage.
The Sandoval Lake Lodge
The Sandoval Lake Lodge is another great choice for a short Amazon Rainforest experience of 2 or 3 days. The lodge is nestled on the beautiful Sandoval Lake inside the highly diverse Tambopata National Reserve, which is very close to Puerto Maldonado in southern Peru. Because this is just a short flight south of Cusco, this is often the best choice for an add-on experience with Machu Picchu and there are some great combination packages with Sandoval Lake Lodge specifically.
Each morning you will head out onto the lake water aboard a small catamaran to scout the lake edges for forest life. This is perhaps the best lodge to see a diversity of monkeys on a short tour, as several different species visit the lake each morning. On Sandoval tours, your’s likely to see titi monkeys, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, capuchins and some others.
The water birds, such as many different types of heron and hoatzin then patrol the lake boundary. Cormorants then sit on the logs and high on the trees you’re likely to spot toucans and macaws. Because of the many stands of palm near the lake, this is also a great place to spot the famed scarlet macaws.
However, the stars of Lake Sandoval are the giant river otters. Enjoy heading out searching for the resident otter family to observe these fantastic mammals playing, hunting, and communication with others in the group. These are the only social otter species and reach a large size. While relaxing after dinner, you can also watch a nature documentary on the otters filmed from the Sandoval Lake Lodge.
If you would also like to see a large clay lick and have a high chance of spotting tapir, you can also combine the Sandoval Lake Lodge with the highly regarded Heath River Wildlife Center to enjoy a high chance of seeing three of the Amazon Rainforest’s most iconic animals.
The Refugio Amazonas Lodge
A great choice for families or for those looking for a short Amazon Rainforest tour of 3 or 4 days, the Refugio Amazonas Lodge is positioned right at the edge of Tambopata National Reserve and accessed from Puerto Maldonado in southern Peru.
Some unique features about the Refugio Amazonas Lodge to the others on this list are the larger spa area to enjoy a relaxing massage in the rainforest and the higher chance of spotting a harpy eagle due to harpy eagle nests being found near the lodge. The Refugio also has the only children’s trail and playground in Peru’s Amazonia, which makes it a great place for a family adventure.
Aside from these features, the Refugio Amazonas Lodge is otherwise very similar to the Posada Amazonas Lodge mentioned further up. Both of these lodges are therefore offered interchangeably if one of the options is fully booked.
From the lodge, enjoy guided walks on the Refugio’s different trails to find fascinating Amazon Rainforest wildlife, such as several different monkeys, including saddle backed tamarins, squirrel monkeys, brown capuchin monkeys, red howler monkeys, and dusky titi monkeys.
The 30 meter canopy tower then gives a great view of the forest where you have a good chance of spotting different colorful birds like toucans, parrots, macaws or mixed species canopy flocks. You will also enjoy lake tours around Lake Condenado to see different lake living wildlife, such as hoatzin, caiman and horned screamers.
There is also a small clay licks near the Refugio Amazonas where you can spot parrots and parakeets to watch these beautiful birds. If you are really keen on spotting the much loved macaws, you can also now add on a day trip to the famed Chuncho Claylick from Refugio Amazonas to enjoy seeing hundreds of macaws visiting the clay.
There are some great activities to enjoy at the Refugio Amazonas. For a cultural experience at Refugio Amazonas, you will also enjoy a visit to an ethnobotanical trail, working jungle farm, and a real Brazil nut concession. There are also many add-on activities available, such as mountain biking, paddle boarding, kayaking, getting a rainforest tattoo, canopy climbing, and choosing from a menu of spa treatments.
The Amazon Villa
The Amazon Villa is a great choice for a luxury experience of the Amazon Rainforest in Peru, which provides your own private rainforest bungalow located near the Refugio Amazonas Lodge at the edge of Tambopata National Reserve.
Accessed from Puerto Maldonado, the Amazon Villa comes complete with a hot water bath, Wifi internet, a television to watch nature documentaries, a place for your laptop to catch up on work or view photos, electricity in the rainforest, and a refrigerator and microwave.
While enjoying your secluded visit to the Amazon Villa, you can enjoy your choice of rainforest activities, such as mountain biking around the lodge’s jungle cycling trails, kayaking on the river to look for monkeys, exotic birds, caimans, and other rainforest wildlife, canopy climbing to get high in the trees, stargazing from the canopy tower, night watching for caiman crocodilians, night walks, and a sunset boat cruise.
In addition to these activities, you can choose from trail walks through the rainforest to see many different monkeys, including capuchins, titi monkeys, squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, and tamarins. You can also choose to visit the beautiful Lago Sachavacayoc on a full day trip.
If you’re interested in seeing the iconic macaws or parrots, you can visit the small nearby parrot clay lick. You can also choose to visit one of the largest macaw clay licks in the Amazon Rainforest and travel 3 hours up the river to enjoy hundreds of colorful macaws feeding from the nutrient and salt rich clays.
To end your secluded experience at the Amazon Villa, you can enjoy a picnic dinner around a cozy fire in Tambopata’s rainforest for a truly memorable end to a wonderful stay in the Amazon Rainforest.
The Cock of the Rock Lodge
The only lodge on the list for Peru’s fantastic cloud forest, the Cock of the Rock Lodge is accessed from Cusco and provides a wonderful experience of this highly threatened, incredibly diverse, and rarely visited environment.
The Cock of the Rock Lodge is positioned near the famous Manu National Park high in the Peruvian Andes. The lodge is composed of 12 comfortable double-occupancy bungalows with hot showers, flush toilets and private balconies overlooking the cloud forest.
From the lodge you will enjoy guided tours through the private cloud forest reserve to enjoy spotting fantastic cloud forest wildlife, such as humming birds, capuchin monkeys, and colorful butterflies.
It’s the birdlife of the Andes that’s spectacularly diverse and the Cock of the Rock Lodge is positioned near the lek of one of the most interesting birds after which the lodge is named. Peru’s national bird, the cock of the rock performs dance rituals to attract a mate and we can watch these fantastic animals performing their display. The birds have a bright red body and perform these elaborate rituals twice-daily right near the lodge.
In addition to tours of the lodge, you can choose to combine the Cock of the Rock Lodge with the lowland Manu rainforest to enjoy a stay at the highly regarded Manu Wildlife Center at number one on this list on the Bio Trip, or choose to combine all three Manu lodges of the Cock of the Rock Lodge, Manu Wildlife Center, and the Manu Tented Camp located inside Manu National Park on the Manu Explorer or the Tapir & Macaw package option.