The Amazon rain forest covers 5.5 million square kilometers (about three quarters the size of Australia). It encompasses three countries of Brazil, Columbia and Peru. Depending on the time of year you go, you will have two different experiences. The rainy season is between December and May with water levels rising 5-7 metres during this time. The dry season is between August and November, allowing more walks through the rainforest. There are two places to visit the Amazon in Peru. The first is Puerto Maldonado in the south or Iquitos in the North East. This guide is about visiting from Iquitos.
How to get to Iquitos
There are no roads into the town and is only accessible by plane or the Amazon River. The three airlines who service Iquitos are:
- LATAM (daily flights)
- Peruvian Air (fly via Tarapoto)
- Star Peru
Once you arrive into Iquitos airport, ask your hotel for an airport pickup, otherwise catch a taxi or Moto trike. It’s about 15 minutes to the main part of town. A good place to eat succulent chicken is the ‘Polleria El Trinchero’. A word of warning though, learn basic Spanish before going. Otherwise, download the Google Translate app to help you through it.
Accommodation in Iquitos
It is easy to travel around Iquitos by taxi or Moto trikes. The hotel we stayed at is the Marfil Del Amazonas Hotel (MDA Hotel). Near one of the main squares and only 3 blocks from the waters edge, it provides a good location to visit the main square and water’s edge. It’s also a handy spot if you are heading out to a lodge.
How to visit the Amazon Rain forest
The best way to see the Amazon rain forest is to stay at one of the nearby lodges. Each lodge caters for different people. Some offer photos with local animals and ‘traditional’ tribal shows - although the locals laugh at this concept. Others, like Muyana Lodge, offer the chance to see wildlife in the wild. It’s far more gratifying to trek for a few hours through the jungle and find monkey‘s in its local habitat.
If you are looking at getting away from it all and experiencing the real Amazon, head to the Muyana Lodge. It is a small lodge with 15 rooms. They cater for English speaking and Spanish-speaking groups. The lodges are covered in mosquito nets and throughout the night you can hear the sounds of the Amazon jungle.
Pick up in the morning to go to the office near the main square. It’s a 5-minute walk down to the docks where you hop on a 14 seat speed boat which has a cover from the sun and rain. The boat trip itself is about 3 hours with a bathroom stop around the halfway mark. The last 45 minutes of travel, you move into a smaller, 8 person boat.
A day in the life at Muyana Lodge looks like:
Breakfast at 6.30 and includes a hot selection or toast and fruit.
The morning activity goes from 7am – 11am
Lunch is at 1200 and includes a hot meal.
After lunch is free time for two hours and a chance to read a book, have a nap or look through your photos.
Then at 1500, you will go on an afternoon activity until sunset.
Dinner is at 1900 and includes different hot meals throughout your stay.
After dinner there is an option of doing a jungle night walk or search for Caiman.
The food is delicious and is a mix of Peruvian recipes with an international mix. You can tell the staff enjoy working at the lodge and are looked after.
What is there to see in the Amazon?
From wildlife, to local villages and the mighty Amazon River, you have multiple activities to choose from.
- Fish for Piranha
- Trek through the Jungle
- Canoe the lakes
- Night walks in search of Tarantulas
- Camp overnight in the jungle
- Find the largest water Lillies in the world
- Hold a Caiman
- Play football with a local village
- Swim with Pink Dolphins
- Catch a sunset
- Boat tour to find sloths
With all these activities going on, I would recommend at least 3 nights at a jungle lodge. This way you can enjoy at least two full days and 3 nights.
Top Tips for visiting the Amazon
- Invest in a pair of binoculars to see the animals up close
- Wear light coloured clothing as mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing
- Wear thicker clothing to reduce mosquitos biting
- Always take a raincoat/poncho. You never know when a thunderstorm can stroll through
If you have any questions, please contact me through Facebook, Instagram or via the website.