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Spider Monkey Tambopata

Peru is one of the best countries to visit the Amazon Rainforest.

Peru’s Amazon has one of the highest levels of wildlife in the rainforest. And this makes it a great place for your Amazon experience.

The two jungle towns for visiting the Amazon are Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado. From these areas, you can travel deep into Amazonia.

From Puerto Maldonado, you can visit both Tambopata and Manu protected areas. The rainforest surrounding Puerto Maldonado has the most clay licks. And it has some of the most beautiful oxbow lakes in Amazonia.

So how do you choose between Puerto Maldonado, Iquitos, Manu and Tambopata?

All of these areas offer a fantastic experience. But the most important things are the lodge and guides. To see options, you can see our guide to Amazon Rainforest tours in Peru.

All the regions offer similar wildlife. However, note that visitors are not permitted inside the Manu National Park itself. This means the lodges you can visit are in the surrounding rainforest.

This is different to the Iquitos rainforest and the Tambopata rainforest.

Chuncho Clay Lick - Amazon Rainforest Tour Prices

From Iquitos, you can explore deep in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve. You can also enjoy a cruise into the impressive Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. From Puerto Maldonado, you can explore the wildlife-rich Tambopata National Reserve. And you can even stay in the reserve itself.

If you want to maximize wildlife, a top experience is the Tambopata Research Center. This is one of the deepest lodges in the Amazon Rainforest. From here, you can visit one of the largest clay licks in the Amazon where you can see hundreds of colorful macaws.

To see a short introduction, see the video below.

Tambopata Research Center

You also have a choice of accommodation options. And the lodge is in the middle of the incredible Tambopata National Reserve. You will also be lucky enough to have a 20% chance of seeing wild jaguar by the river. This is one of the highest chances in the Amazon Rainforest. And as jaguar are symbols of healthy habitat, it means you are surrounded by wildlife-rich rainforest.

For a deep rainforest lodge for the Iquitos Amazon, we recommend the Tahuayo Lodge.

This offers a private guide and custom itinerary to explore the wildlife-rich rainforest. You will head into the surrounding Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve to find a diversity of animals and plants.

To reach the lodge, you will initially set off down the Amazon River itself.

And for an introduction to the Tahuayo Lodge from Iquitos, see the video below.

Tahuayo Lodge

On tours of 6-days or more, you can visit both the main Tahuayo Lodge and the Tahuayo River Amazon Research Center. This is in a deeper area of rainforest and you can find many different monkeys and other animals.

Popular
Tahuayo Lodge

The Tahuayo Lodge

Iquitos, Peru

From the Tahuayo Lodge, you will explore the Amazon Rainforest’s wildlife-rich Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve with a private guide on a

For some other suggestions, here are our recommendations. These are for the Iquitos region and for the Tambopata and Manu areas from Puerto Maldonado.

  1. The Posada Amazonas Lodge

    Posada Amazonas - Tambopata, Puerto Maldonado

    The Posada Amazonas Lodge is a community owned lodge. And it’s found in the Amazon Rainforest of Puerto Maldonado.

    The lodge is in the Ese Ejja Communal Reserve. And the rainforest is connected to the wildlife-rich Tambopata National Reserve.

    From the Posada Amazonas, enjoy guided tours in the rainforest. Find different Amazon monkeys and colorful birds. You will also tour the nearby oxbow lake to find the resident family of giant river otters.

    Click the short video below for an introduction.

    Posada Amazonas

    Enjoy visiting small parrot clay lick to see parakeets gathered at the clay. You can climb a tall canopy tower to see toucans and parrots flying over the canopy. And you can enjoy some community tours. Visit a shaman to see and learn about medicinal plants in Amazonia and a working jungle farm to try exotic fruits.

    The Posada Amazonas Lodge makes a great choice for 3 or more days in the Amazon Rainforest.

  2. The Refugio Amazonas Lodge

    Superior Room at Refugio Amazonas Lodge, Puerto Maldonado, Peru Amazon

    The Refugio Amazonas Lodge is a similar lodge to the Posada Amazonas above. The lodge is a bit deeper in the rainforest from Puerto Maldonado. And it is found in the buffer zone of Tambopata National Reserve.

    This means more wildlife experiences and slightly longer travel time. Click the video below for a quick introduction.

    Refugio Amazonas

    On trail walks in surrounding rainforest, enjoy seeing different wildlife. Enjoy spotting several different monkeys, colorful birds and emergent trees. Find beautiful plants and a small parrot lick and a mammal clay lick.

    Visit a tall canopy tower to see over the rainforest. From here, you can even spot different animals. See toucans, parrots, mixed species flocks and sometimes even monkeys.

    You can also enjoy a wellness center where you can from aromatherapy and spa treatments.

    Refugio Amazonas is a preferred choice for families. This is because of the comfortable suites, friendly staff, and the children’s trail. This is a fantastic trail made just for children to learn about the Amazon Rainforest in a more relatable way.

    The Refugio Amazonas Lodge

    The Refugio Amazonas Lodge

    Puerto Maldonado, Peru

    The best end to a fantastic intrepid trip in Peru…!! Wish we had of spent more time there… Staff were

  3. The Amazon Villa

    Amazon Villa - Tambopata, Puerto Maldonado

    This option offers your own exclusive bungalow in the Tambopata rainforest. The Amazon Villa provides a great choice for a bit more relaxation in the jungle.

    You will be assigned a private guide. And you will enjoy private transfers both to and from Puerto Maldonado.

    The villa is located in the buffer zone of the incredible Tambopata National Reserve. And it is surrounded by incredible wildlife. You will have a private guide to explore the rainforest on forest trails, the tall canopy tower, lake tours, and visits to small clay licks.

    You also have a choice of other activities. Visit a large macaw claylick and enjoy aerobotany, citizen science, night walks and birdwatching.

    The Amazon Villa includes:

    • A luxurious king-sized bed.
    • 40 inch flat screen television to watch nature videos and documentaries.
    • A place to use your laptop for writing or checking out the photos from every memorable day in the jungle.
    • A satellite Internet connection.
    • Electricity in the middle of the rainforest at all times of the day.
    • A dining room where you can take fresh meals delivered to the bungalow.
    • Dining table with 6 chairs.
    • A refrigerator and microwave.
    • A spacious bathroom equipped with hot water and a tub for soaking in comfort at the end of a long, incredible day in the Peruvian rainforest.
  4. Amazon Villa Suite

    The Amazon Villa

    Puerto Maldonado, Peru

    Explore the Amazon Rainforest in comfort on a premium experience at the Tambopata Amazon Villa. The Amazon Villa is a

  5. The Tahuayo Lodge (Iquitos)

    Tahuayo Lodge - Iquitos, Peru

    On this tour, after arrival in Iquitos you will met by Tahuayo Lodge staff. And you will be escorted 150 km up the Amazon River to the Tahuayo Lodge.

    The lodge is positioned in the wildlife-rich Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve.

    Differing from many Amazon tours, you are assigned a private guide on a custom itinerary as standard. This means you can choose a walking pace suited to how active you want to be. You can focus on nature, relaxation, photography or adventure.

    You guide will lead you through the Tahuayo Reserve rainforest to find many animals. Find several different monkeys, sloths and colorful birds. Some favorites include toucans and macaws, pink dolphins and much more.

    The Tahuayo Lodge offers the largest canopy zipline system in Amazonia. And there are many walking, hiking and canoeing opportunities. You can even choose to camp a night in forest.

    On stays of 6 days and over, you can spread your time between the two lodges. Enjoy the main Tahuayo Lodge and the Tahuayo Lodge Amazon Research Center.

    The research center is located in even more pristine rainforest. And this offers a 1,000 acre primate research grid. The grid is where you can spot howler monkeys, capuchins, squirrel monkeys, tamarins, marmosets and saki monkeys.

    Popular
    Tahuayo Lodge

    The Tahuayo Lodge

    Iquitos, Peru

    From the Tahuayo Lodge, you will explore the Amazon Rainforest’s wildlife-rich Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve with a private guide on a

  6. The Tambopata Research Center (Puerto Maldonado)

    Tambopata Research Center - Tambopata, Puerto Maldonado

    At this highly recommended lodge, you will be in the middle of Tambopata National Reserve. The Tambopata Research Center is near one of the largest macaw clay licks in the Amazon.

    You can watch many colorful macaws gathered at the clay. They visit to obtain salts and medicines that help neutralize toxins found in their diet. After watching this spectacular display of sound and color, head back to the lodge. You can then enjoy your very comfortable suite.

    From the Tambopata Research Center, enjoy rainforest walks led by passionate and friendly guides. You will find many different animals and plants. Spot several different monkeys, colorful birds, large butterflies and fascinating reptiles.

    The lodge is positioned in the middle of the diverse Tambopata National Reserve. Because of this, you will experience wildlife at carrying capacity for the environment. This increases your chances of spotting more abundant and rare rainforest animals. For example, you will have an incredible 20% chance of spotting wild jaguar on your tour.

    To check availability for your dates, send the lodge a request using the button below.

  7. The Manu Wildlife Center (Puerto Maldonado)

    Manu Wildlife Center - Manu, Puerto Maldonado

    The Manu Wildlife Center is a fantastic lodge to experience the Manu rainforest. Enjoy guided trail walks to find several different monkeys, interesting reptiles, amphibians, and different birds.

    Tha Manu Wildlife Center is located by a large macaw clay lick where you can spot hundreds of brightly colored macaw parrots at one time. In addition to the macaw clay lick, you can visit the tapir clay lick and stand a chance of spotting South America’s largest land mammal.

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    The Manu Wildlife Center

    Puerto Maldonado, Peru

    Currently, TourTheTropics.com cannot help you book this experience. However, you can visit the tour operator's website for more information.

  8. River Cruises – Puerto Maldonado vs Iquitos vs Manu

    Delfin Cuisine - Delfin II

    If you’re interested in a river cruise in the Amazon Rainforest then you will need to head to Iquitos. Iquitos is the Peruvian port of the Amazon Rainforest. And it’s also your departure area for some fantastic Amazon River cruises.

    Here, we have selected some of the best cruises available that take you into the incredible Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.

    The following cruises are all expedition cruises. You won’t be confined to the vessel, but will instead explore the forest on foot and on skiff expeditions.

    Between relaxing in comfortable suites and eating delicious food, you will enjoy guided tours. Explore this incredible reserve to find many animals and plants.

    See pink river dolphins, different rainforest mammals and many colorful birds. Spot toucans and parrots. And you will find several different monkeys moving through the canopy. See capuchins, squirrel monkeys, tamarins, saki monkeys and the large and loud howler monkeys.

    There are several benefits of a river cruises. You will enjoy a more contained hotel-like environment when not exploring the forest. This means air-conditioning to keep you cool and delicious cuisine.

    Lodges on the other hand offer more adventure. They provide more connection to the jungle. And they are placed in areas after years of research to maximize wildlife sightings. The following list offer more comfort in the rainforest.

    Click the video below for an introduction to the Delfin I and Delfin II.

    Delfin Cruises

    On cruises, you will explore more than one area of Amazon as the cruise moves through the rainforest.

    Delfin I Suite

    The Delfin I

    Iquitos, Peru

    Offering an on-board experience second to none, the Delfin I Luxury Cruise begins in Iquitos, north Peru, and takes you


    The Delfin II

    Iquitos, Peru

    The Delfin II Luxury Amazon Cruise begins near Iquitos from the small town of Nauta. You will be transported in


    The Delfin III

    The Delfin III

    Iquitos, Peru

    The Delfin III provides a luxury cruise of the Amazon River. The vessel features hardwood floors, designer furniture and is


    Placeholder Image

    The Aria Amazon

    Iquitos, Peru

    Currently, TourTheTropics.com cannot help you book this experience. However, you can visit the tour operator's website for more information.

    Wildlife Opportunities – Puerto Maldonado vs Iquitos vs Manu

    As for wildlife, the diversity of animals you can see is similar in each area. You can find similar animals in

    • The Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve in Iquitos
    • The Tambopata National Reserve near Puerto Maldonado
    • The Manu rainforest

    However, there are places to maximize your chances of seeing certain animals.

    Even within the Tambopata Reserve the wildlife can be very different depending on the area. This is because some places are near lakes for spotting giant otters. Some lodges are near large clay licks for seeing colorful parrots. This also increases chances of seeing jaguar and other predators.

    Here is a table showing the percentage of guests who see certain animals on visits to Tambopata. This is from three lodges from Puerto Maldonado, which include:

    Posada Amazonas Wildlife
    Refugio Amazonas Wildlife
    Tambopata Research Center Wildlife
    Blue & Gold Macaw
    13%
    36%
    78%
    Scarlet Macaw
    36%
    68%
    79%
    Red & Green Macaw
    63%
    54%
    77%
    Giant River Otter
    34%
    3%
    4%
    Capybara
    36%
    75%
    76%
    Agouti
    66%
    76%
    76%
    Red Howler Monkey
    53%
    31%
    77%
    Brown Capuchin
    47%
    52%
    72%
    Spider Monkey
    3%
    1%
    67%
    White Caiman
    38%
    75%
    72%
    White Lipped Peccary
    12%
    11%
    67%
    Dusky Titi Monkey
    70%
    64%
    71%
    Squirrel Monkey
    52%
    20%
    66%
    Saddleback Tamarin
    48%
    60%
    63%
    Night Monkey
    21%
    19%
    28%
    Hoatzin
    90%
    53%
    0%
    Harpy Eagle
    5%
    21%
    9%
    Jaguar
    4%
    4%
    23%
    Collared Peccary
    2%
    3%
    12%
    Paca
    2%
    5%
    9%
    Red Brocket Deer
    8%
    5%
    8%
    Coati
    3%
    0%
    6%
    2 Toed Sloth
    7%
    2%
    5%
    Kinkajou
    3%
    0%
    5%
    Tapir
    1%
    2%
    2%
    Crested Eagle
    1%
    1%
    2%
    Southern Anteater
    2%
    1%
    2%
    Anaconda
    1%
    0%
    2%
    Giant Anteater
    1%
    1%
    2%
    3 Toed Sloth
    3%
    2%
    1%
    Armadillo
    0%
    1%
    1%
    Puma
    1%
    1%
    1%

    Clay Licks

    Clay licks are visited by different animals. They feed from the salt-rich and medicinal clay. And this also helps to neutralize toxins in a diet of unripe fruits and seeds.

    Clay licks are very attractive to different animals. And you can watch the fantastic animals that visit. These include different parrots and mammals. This is one of the best ways to maximize wildlife sightings. And you can spot specific animals that are otherwise hard to see.

    Note that the rainforest of Puerto Maldonado has more accessible clay licks than anywhere else in the Amazon. There are no clay licks in Iquitos for example. Take a look at the following table for recommended lodges near different licks.

    Lodge
    Macaw Clay Lick
    Small Parrot Clay Lick
    Small Mammal Clay Lick
    Tapir Clay Lick
    Tambopata Research Center
    Posada Amazonas
    Refugio Amazonas
    Amazon Villa
    Heath River Wildlife Center
    Manu Wildlife Center
    Sandoval Lake Lodge

    Now, let’s go over the best places for maximizing your chances of seeing specific animals. We will compare Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado and Manu.

    The animals mentioned are the main ones that will be hard to see in certain areas of the Amazon Rainforest.

    Seeing Macaws

    As icons of the Amazon Rainforest, you will no doubt see macaws flying over the rainforest no matter where you choose. They are commonly found in all the Iquitos rainforest, Manu and Puerto Maldonado areas. However, you will have more luck seeing them fly over you if you’re deep in the jungle.

    To maximize your chances and to see many macaws gathered at clay licks, we recommend visiting lodges where they have macaw clay licks nearby. Iquitos, for example, has no accessible clay licks. The best lodge for a macaw clay lick to see a diversity of parrots is the Tambopata Research Center. This is in the middle of Tambopata National Reserve from Puerto Maldonado.

    Seeing Pink Dolphins

    For the best chance of seeing pink dolphins, choose Iquitos in northern Peru. Although found in the southern Amazon Basin, they are rarely seen.

    Excellent tours for pink river dolphins are the Tahuayo Lodge, Delfin II and Delfin III.

    Popular
    Tahuayo Lodge

    The Tahuayo Lodge

    Iquitos, Peru

    From the Tahuayo Lodge, you will explore the Amazon Rainforest’s wildlife-rich Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve with a private guide on a


    The Delfin II

    Iquitos, Peru

    The Delfin II Luxury Amazon Cruise begins near Iquitos from the small town of Nauta. You will be transported in


    The Delfin III

    The Delfin III

    Iquitos, Peru

    The Delfin III provides a luxury cruise of the Amazon River. The vessel features hardwood floors, designer furniture and is

    Seeing Monkeys

    Monkeys are found all over the Amazon Rainforest. The larger species and the most diversity are generally found deeper in the rainforest.

    To single one tour out, the Tahuayo Lodge provides an included stay at their research center on tours of a week or more. The research center has a 1000 acre primate research grid. And it’s easier to spot a high diversity of different Amazon monkeys. These include:

    • Squirrel monkeys
    • Howler monkeys
    • Capuchins
    • Tamarins
    • Marmosets
    • Saki monkeys
    • Titi monkeys
    Popular
    Tahuayo Lodge

    The Tahuayo Lodge

    Iquitos, Peru

    From the Tahuayo Lodge, you will explore the Amazon Rainforest’s wildlife-rich Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve with a private guide on a

    Seeing Giant River Otters

    Giant Otters at Posada Amazonas Lodge, Puerto Maldonado, Peru

    For giant river otters, it’s best to head to a lodge located near an oxbow lake where the river otters live. A fantastic lodge near one of these lakes is the Posada Amazonas Lodge from Puerto Maldonado.

    Seeing Sloths

    Sloths are found all over the Amazon Rainforest. They seem to be more easily encountered in the northern Peruvian Amazon. A good choice is Iquitos from the Tahuayo Lodge or aboard the different Amazon River tours from Iquitos. Here, you can see both the two-toed and three-toed sloths clinging to the branches.

    Popular
    Tahuayo Lodge

    The Tahuayo Lodge

    Iquitos, Peru

    From the Tahuayo Lodge, you will explore the Amazon Rainforest’s wildlife-rich Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve with a private guide on a

    Seeing Tapir

    Tapir, Manu Wildlife Center - Manu National Park

    Tapir are the largest land mammal in South America and are very elusive. You can see signs of tapir from many different rainforest tours. However, to get the best chance of actually seeing these impressive animals, it’s best to head to a rainforest lodge nearby a tapir clay lick. These lodges include the Manu Wildlife Center in the Manu rainforest.

    Placeholder Image

    The Manu Wildlife Center

    Puerto Maldonado, Peru

    Currently, TourTheTropics.com cannot help you book this experience. However, you can visit the tour operator's website for more information.

    Seeing Harpy Eagles

    The most powerful bird of prey in the Amazon Rainforest, harpy eagles are an impressive animal to see. They are rarely seen. And they are one of the most sought after birds to see among tourists and rainforest guides alike.

    The Refugio Amazonas Lodge from Puerto Maldonado (in the Tambopata Reserve buffer zone) often find them nearby. The rainforest here seems to be a preferred nesting area for the magnificent eagles.

    The Refugio Amazonas Lodge

    The Refugio Amazonas Lodge

    Puerto Maldonado, Peru

    The best end to a fantastic intrepid trip in Peru…!! Wish we had of spent more time there… Staff were

    Seeing Jaguar

    Tambopata Research Center, Puerto Maldonado, Peru

    Now we have possibly the most sought after wildlife sighting in the Amazon Rainforest.

    Although rare, you can increase your chances a little of seeing the Amazon’s top predator.

    Deep lodges where animals are at carrying capacity for the environment are the best choice.

    An excellent choice with a 20% chance of seeing jaguar is the fantastic Tambopata Research Center. Enjoy a high chance of spotting jaguar. And you can find a high diversity of wildlife at this comfortable and incredible lodge.

    Ash - Author & Travel AdvisorAbout 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.
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