Peru, the land of the Incas, is one of the best countries for Amazon Rainforest tours.
Imagine walking through rainforest to see curious monkeys and colorful parrots. Have a high chance of spotting jaguar by the river on certain tours. And you can enjoy the rainforest’s most luxurious lodges and cruises. You can also choose some of the deepest lodges in Amazonia.
We will mention some of these below.
Peru is fortunate to offer one of the Amazon’s richest regions for animals and plants. And the country offers the second highest amount of rainforest after Brazil.
There are high quality lodges, cruises and guides. And with the diverse wildlife, it makes Peru a top choice for Amazon Rainforest tours.
Where to go for the best experience?
To experience the Amazon, you will arrive at Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado. These are both a short flight from Lima (Peru’s capital). And they are the two main areas to experience the Amazon in Peru.
When you first arrive you will know you are somewhere special. On your flight, you will have spent time looking over the rainforest. And from the plane’s window, you would have seen the vast carpet of lush green rainforest. You may have even seen the Amazon River and her tributaries snaking their way through the jungle.
On arrival, you will be greeted by tropical air, sunshine and humidity. The sun’s energy is what feeds this incredible forest. Your guide will meet you from one of the below Amazon tours. And you will be escorted into Amazonia to begin your adventure.
The below tours have been selected to give you the best experience of the Amazon. They offer you comfortable accommodation and professionally guided tours. They also include your meals and transfers from either Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado.
We have experienced the below tours ourselves to provide our top recommendations. And the selection criteria includes:
- Wildlife-rich rainforest
- Comfortable accommodation
- Professional and experienced Amazon guides
- Environmentally responsible tours
The Amazon tours in Peru for the best wildlife
Peru’s rainforest contains a fantastic abundance and diversity of animals and plants.
For example, the Tambopata Research Center, in the middle of Tambopata Reserve, even offers a 20% chance of spotting wild jaguar.
Click the short video below for an introduction to the Tambopata Research Center.
Jaguar are not only the most sought after wildlife sighting in Amazonia. But they are also symbols of a healthy ecosystem. This means where you can find jaguar, you can find abundant wildlife.
Camera traps have also recorded jaguar from a small number of other Peruvian lodges. One of these is the Rainforest Alliance certified Tahuayo Lodge. This is found deep in the rainforest of Iquitos.
Other animals you can find in the Peruvian Amazon include howler monkeys (famous for the loudest call in the forest) and colorful parrots. You will also see sloths, sinister looking caiman and brightly-colored butterflies. The plants are also incredible. See giant Brazil nut trees and delicate orchids on your rainforest expeditions.
Of course, you can then find a seemingly infinite variety of other species, sights and sounds.
For an introduction to the Tahuayo Lodge, which offers a bit more adventure, private guide and custom itinerary, see the short video below.
Amazon tours from a river cruise or expedition lodge?
The best way to see the forest and make the most of your time in Amazonia is on a cruise or by staying at an expedition lodge. We will mention some of the top Amazon lodges in Peru further down.
Many of Peru’s lodges are among the best jungle lodges for the entire Amazon Rainforest.
These fantastic bases for Amazon tours have been carefully positioned. And this is usually after months or years of forest exploration. The locations are chosen for the top places to maximize wildlife viewing. Even the cruises we will list mirror this placement. And their routes are designed to offer the best places to see monkeys, birds and other Amazon life.
A cruise can offer a more comfortable experience. This is because you have a more contained and hotel-like base to return to after exploration. The mentioned cruises provide air-conditioning keeping you comfortable in the tropical rainforest. Cruises also visit different areas of rainforest. This means you visit a larger area for wider exploration.
Lodges, on the other hand, can offer more connection to the rainforest. The trails have been very carefully chosen to lead you through areas for the best wildlife. And even from the lodge you can spot wildlife. See monkeys and birds from the comfort of the lodge itself. You will also hear the sounds of the Amazon when relaxing in your suite or social areas.
Your choice will depend on your personality and what you would like from your Amazon experience.
Amazon Tours from Iquitos
Iquitos is in the northern Peruvian Amazon. And this is one of the two Peruvian choices to base yourself for an Amazon tour.
Iquitos is a reasonably large city in the Amazon. And you will have to travel quite far from the city before you emerge into forest untouched by human hands. However, when you do, you will be rewarded with incredible wildlife spectacles.
This means Iquitos is best for a deep rainforest lodge or a cruise. Prepare to spend 6-days or more in the jungle at a lodge to make the most of your time. You will be far from the city where you can find the best wildlife.
The top example of a rainforest lodge from Iquitos is the Tahuayo Lodge mentioned further up.
Iquitos is also your choice for an Amazon River Cruise. As cruises move deeper in the Amazon, you can enjoy a good experience with only 4 or 5 days available. All the Amazon cruises in Peru will depart from Iquitos and usually from the port of Nauta. This is because the city is a port of the Amazon River.
Amazon Tours from Puerto Maldonado
If you’re after a shorter experience of a few days at a lodge, Puerto Maldonado is your choice.
The nearby wildlife-rich Tambopata Reserve is only a short boat ride from the town. Puerto Maldonado is also smaller than Iquitos. This means the rainforest is less disturbed.
Tambopata is also where you will find many macaw clay licks. Clay licks are areas of riverbank where large, bright and beautiful macaws feed from medicinal clay.
The Tambopata region is fortunate to have the most clay licks in the Amazon Rainforest. And a few lodges are close to all the action, as they know this is a main attraction.
Puerto Maldonado is also a great option for a deep rainforest lodge. And our recommendation is the Tambopata Research Center mentioned further up. This is where you can maximize wildlife experiences.
Within the Tambopata rainforest, you can find many large towering Brazil nut trees. You can even visit a working Brazil nut concession from the Refugio Amazonas Lodge.
Brazil nut trees are a fantastic metaphor for Amazon Rainforest tours. They require the surrounding forest in order to produce their famous nuts. With a disturbed forest, the trees will not produce their crop. In order to make money from Brazil nuts, therefore, people need to take care of the forest.
Our selection for a shorter Amazon visit includes:
We will mention more about these further down. So let’s get started with introductions to the top Amazon tours in Peru.
The Tambopata Research Center – 4 or 5-day+ Amazon Tour
This is one of the deepest lodges in the Amazon. And you can enjoy fantastic wildlife-rich tours from a comfortable base.
For accommodation, choose from different suites options. These range from the Superior Suites to the spacious and luxurious Deluxe Suites.
This lodge is also used as a research base and is next to one of the Amazon’s largest macaw clay licks. From the Tambopata Research Center, enjoy spotting many different animals. See spider monkeys, howler monkeys, capybara and peccary. You will also observe the many different parrots, including the iconic macaws.
Impressively, the Tambopata Research Center reports a 20% chance of spotting wild jaguar. This is one of the Amazon’s most sought after wildlife sightings.
Other animals rarely seen at other lodges but often seen here include the spider monkeys and peccary. Like jaguar, spiders monkeys are symbols of a healthy forest.
The Tambopata Research Center is one of the most comfortable lodges for deep jungle experiences. And it’s one of our favorites because of the expert guides, friendly staff and incredible wildlife.
To check availability for your travel dates, you can send the lodge a request using the button below.
The Delfin I & Delfin II – 4 or 5 day Amazon Tour
The Delfin I and Delfin II are luxurious sister vessels. And they both provide and incredible Amazon Rainforest cruise.
Although both luxury-class cruises, the Delfin I offers only 4 over-sized suites. This means more space and exclusivity for your time in Amazonia. In fact, the Delfin I more closely resembles a luxury boutique floating hotel than a cruise.
As one of the Amazon’s most luxurious tours, the cruise has been featured in many publications. These have included CNN Money, Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler and Travel+Leisure.
Two of the limited number of suites include a private cold-water whirlpool. With 4 suites, space aboard the Delfin I gets booked up quickly.
However, there is also the Delfin II. This offers the same high standard of luxury and service but with more suites available.
Click the short video below for a little more information.
Aboard both vessels, you can relax in your luxurious suite watching the rainforest pass by. You can also enjoy the elegant observation deck with a cocktail, tea or coffee. In the dining room, you will then be served delicious gourmet cuisine.
Each day, you will head out from the main vessel with your naturalist guide scouting for Amazon wildlife. Explore on comfortable launch boats, modern kayaks and engaging forest walks.
The Delfin cruises visit the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. This is one of the most pristine protected areas of Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. The reserve is home to an abundance of tropical plants and animals. And you can find tropical toucans, colorful parrots, giant rainforest trees and many different monkeys.
You can check availability with the cruises using the buttons below.
The Tahuayo Lodge – 6-day+ Amazon Tour
This is a favorite lodge in northern Peru and is accessed from Iquitos. It’s a destination well known among Amazon wildlife-lovers. And it’s called the Tahuayo Lodge and Amazon Research Center.
The Tahuayo Lodge is one of the only lodges that provides a private guide and custom itinerary as standard. It’s a top choice for visitors serious about making the most of their time in the Amazon.
The Tahuayo Lodge is also certified by Rainforest Alliance. This makes it the only Rainforest Alliance certified lodge from Iquitos. This should give you peace of mind that you’re choosing a responsible tour.
The lodge was founded by a biologist with a passion for wildlife. And it’s perfectly positioned for many different activities. These include guided treks to find poison dart frogs and canoeing the forest. You can also explore the largest primate research grid in the Amazon. And there is fantastic birdwatching to enjoy as well as many different lakes to explore.
Note that for an extra fee, you can choose a dedicated birding guide. And you will have a birding itinerary to see many of the reserve’s 600 different species.
You can try whizzing down the Amazon’s longest canopy zipline system. And you can visit local villages. However, the main activity is guided walks through the Amazon searching for incredible wildlife.
The Tahuayo Lodge is also one of the only lodges where the tour is customized to your interests. With its excellent service, friendly staff and impressive diversity, the Tahuayo Lodge is one of our favorites.
Note that the minimum stay at the Tahuayo Lodge is 4-days. But to combine both the main Tahuayo Lodge and Amazon Research Center, you will need 6-days in the rainforest. And the recommended time to make the most of your Amazon Rainforest experience is 8-days.
To contact the lodge directly for a detailed itinerary and availability for your travel dates, use the tour bubble below.
The Refugio Amazonas Lodge – 4-day Amazon Tour
Nestled in the buffer zone of Tambopata National Reserve, the Refugio Amazonas is a great option for a 4-day Amazon tour.
The lodge is within its own 200-hectare private reserve and is a little deeper in the rainforest than the Posada Amazonas below. This means you can see a little more wildlife. You can also visit a large macaw clay lick to see many macaw parrots feeding from the medicinal clay.
To learn more, click the short video below.
Explore the different trails with your expert Amazon guide. And you will find a diversity of forest life. See several different monkeys, such as capuchins, squirrel monkeys and howler monkeys. You can also find many different birds.
Visit Lake Condenado to find hoatzins, caiman, cormorants and other lake-living life. You can walk a medicinal plant trail and visit an organic jungle farm. And there is also a tall canopy tower for impressive views over the rainforest.
Your can choose from different suite options, such as the Superior Suites. Or you can pick the premium suite options for a very comfortable Amazon experience.
The Posada Amazonas Lodge – 3-day Amazon Tour
This lodge offers a fantastic experience of 3 or 4 days in the Amazon. Because the lodge is close to Puerto Maldonado, it’s the best choice for a shorter tour. The Posada Amazonas is a community-owned lodge in the Ese Eja private rainforest reserve.
Nestled by Lake Tres Chimbabas, you will have a high chance of spotting giant river otters. These are a favorite sighting in the Amazon. And you can watch the endangered otters hunting, playing and feeding in the lake.
You will then explore the rainforest with your skilled guide. And you can find many different animals and plants. Spot troops of monkeys, giant rainforest trees and colorful birds.
Click the short video below for an introduction.
The Posada Amazonas offers a balanced Amazon experience of culture and nature. Learn more about the Ese Eja community, walk the ethnobotanical trail for medicinal plants and visit a working jungle farm.
Enjoy delicious cuisine in the dining room. And choose from a variety of suite options. There is also a rainforest spa to enjoy a massage surrounded by the sounds of Amazonia.
The Delfin III Cruise – 4 or 5-day Amazon Tour
The Delfin III is the third sister vessel of the Delfin I and Delfin II mentioned above. This is a larger vessel with more suites. The Delfin III provides a spacious and intimate interior. And you can enjoy the vessel’s large dining room and lounging areas.
There are also different suite categories depending on how much space and which views you would like.
The Delfin III is composed of Lower and Upper Suites throughout the vessel. There are also the two Corner Suites on the lower deck at the front of the Delfin III. And there is also the Owner Suite as the premium accommodation option.
These front-facing suites provide some of the best views. However, the regular suites are fitted with large picture windows. These keep you connected to this incredible region.
Enjoy delicious cuisine and attentive, friendly service.
You will head out each day to explore the rainforest. With your expert guide, spot a wide variety of animals and plants. See monkeys moving through the canopy, hundreds of different birds and impressive Amazonian trees. You may also see pink river dolphins playing in the water, which are a favorite sighting.
To check availability for your travel dates, you can send the Delfin III a request using the button below.
The Manu Region
Now we have the Manu region surrounding Manu National Park. Manu was also one of the first national parks formed in Peru and has become world-renowned among wildlife lovers. However, note that visitors are not allowed with the Manu National Park itself.
To experience Manu, you will be accommodated in surrounding rainforest. A lodge in a reserve connected to the national park is called the Manu Wildlife Center. The Manu Wildlife Center is certainly impressive, as you can spot tapir and macaw parrots at a clay lick.
As an additional experience, you can combine the Manu Wildlife Center with the Andes Cloud Forest to get an incredible perspective on this fantastic forest.
The Top Amazon Rainforest Tours in Peru – Summary
The Manu AdventurerPuerto Maldonado, Peru
Currently, TourTheTropics.com cannot help you book this experience. However, you can visit the tour operator's website for more information.
The Manu Tapir and Macaws TourPuerto Maldonado, Peru
Currently, TourTheTropics.com cannot help you book this experience. However, you can visit the tour operator's website for more information.About the Author: Ash Card is a frequent visitor to the Amazon and has a passion for helping visitors get the best experiences from tropical destinations. Ash has interests including tropical destinations, rainforests and wildlife. Feel free to contact Ash for tour help in the Amazon. When not helping tourists with tours and info, Ash can be found salsa-ing the night away or posing near waterfalls.