Amazon Basin Travel Guide
Peruvian Amazon © Martin St-Amant
Nearly half of Peru lies within the sweltering Amazon Basin, where an untouched rainforest conceals every foot, and every fang. Believed to be the most biologically diverse region in the world, it is sparsely populated and largely inaccessible. Many of the country's indigenous tribes also call the jungle home, adding another layer to the destination's allure.
Bold nature lovers have found the basin irresistible, yielding to the pull of jaguars, pink dolphins, giant anacondas and lush plant-life. Jungle eco-tourism has taken off as a consequence, with a number of travellers choosing to include the Amazon in their itinerary. The city of Iquitos is the best place from which to access the northern basin.
Situated on the mighty Amazon River and humid all year round, Iquitos was originally founded by Jesuit missionaries in 1754, and has grown into a bustling city. Today, visitors will find museums and colonial buildings towering over clapboard houses, and streets buzzing with buses and motorcycles.
On arrival, travellers follow the basin's vast system of rivers from Iquitos, paddling dugout canoes between jungle towns, or along labyrinthine waterways. Motorboats are another transport option. Visitors can also venture to Monkey Island, or tour Belen, which is an intriguing community of floating houses. The neighbourhood's open-air market is popular too. It trades mostly in local plant and animal medicines.