Welcome to the world’s most exotic travel destination: the Amazon rainforest! A highlight in Peru (and all of South America), the Amazon rainforest offers some of the wildest experiences for travelers imaginable. From swimming in the iconic river to observing endangered wildlife, the scenic Amazon is guaranteed to be a trip you won’t forget. Here are some of our favorite, bucket-list worthy things to do in the Peruvian Amazon.
Did you know that there was such a thing as pink dolphins? Yes, you read that correctly. In the Amazon river you’ll find several types of dolphins, but the prehistoric-looking pink dolphins are always a crowd favorite. While staying on the Amazon river, you can canoe out and go for a dip with these friendly guys! (And don’t worry- they don’t bite!).
The infamously vicious little fish with razor-sharp teeth- also known as “dinner” in the Amazon. Local guides love taking out travelers to get up close and personal with these feisty little fish, and if you’re able to hook one without it biting through your line, they’ll even help you cook it! Plus, you’ll get to take a very brag-worthy photo of your holding up a piranha just inches from your fingers.
Or a monkey, take your pick! Many animal sanctuaries in the Amazon bring animals that were rescued and rehabilitate them to life in the wild. During this time, you can visit them in the Amazon and interact with most of them. Snuggle with sleepy sloths, try to stop the monkeys from stealing your sunglasses, and leave with the pictures of a lifetime!
With up to 10% of the world’s species of birds found in one reserve alone, just imagine what you can see as you sail along the river. While it can be challenging to see the professional camouflage artists in the thick foliage, there are many tours dedicating to successful birdwatching. Locals hear can recognize every type by their calls and the types of trees they can be found in, and with the right guide you can be sure to spot something exotic.
- Learn about the traditions of Amazonian tribes
Home to hundreds of different ethnic groups, visiting the Amazon is a great opportunity to meet some of the people living like they have for centuries. While some tribes prefer to stay isolated from the modern world, some have used tourism as an opportunity to educate tourists about their culture and traditions. Many welcome visitors to their villages to buy handicrafts, observe their homes, listen to their languages and hear a bit about their history. Some will even teach you how to dance! (Be a responsible tourist, though- make sure you organize this through a local tour guide rather than doing this on your own or arriving at a village without permission.)
- Watch sunset on the river
Usually a popular time to swim with the dolphins, make sure to watch at least one sunset on the river. Watch as night slowly takes over, the flawless night sky emerges, and the sounds of the Amazon at night awaken.
- Watch a sunrise on the river
Equally special, watching a sunrise on the river involves a different kind of magic. The silence of dawn is quickly broken by the many sounds of birds beginning to stir. This is one of the best times for seeing animals, before they hid in the midst of the day, and the water of the river is as still as glass.
Take a night tour to see the creepiest crawlers. Only for the truly adventurous, some guides will offer night tours while staying on the Amazon. Wander the jungle, machete in hand, as you seek out friendly tarantulas and other creepy friends that you can HOLD! Local guides know when they are in a “friendly” mood to be interacted with.
- Wrap a giant snake around you (and survive)
Want to feel just like Britney Spears? In some of the animal reserves you can also hold massive snakes. Again, this is one of the many things that should only be done when organized by a tour guide- please do not try to make friends with any anacondas!
- Walk high in the trees on a jungle canopy tour
Some lodges don’t just let you hold the monkeys- they’ll let you live like one! Stays are possible in treehouses high in the jungle, connecting by walkways with views of everything the eye can see.
Piranha was just the start. Sample wild fruits, exotic (and often unheard of) meats, and taste the flavors of the jungle that cannot be found anywhere else. The truly bold can even try some of the aphrodisiac cocktails made with secret combinations of roots and herbs that the locals swear (and caution) by.
- See the officially-named most diverse natural area in the entire world
The Amazon jungle stretches over Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia and Brazil – so is it all the same? Not exactly. While you can do many of the same activities in each, Peru’s well-protected national reserve system has led to some of the best protected biodiversity in the entire Amazon. In each of the national parks, you can expect to see the nature at it’s best. In Manu National Reserve, you can see the pinnacle of it- it has been designated as the most diverse area in the entire world.
Think you are up for that much adventure? Are you ready to do these Let’s make your bucket list 12 items shorter and cross these off! You can browse our current Amazon tours and travel deals, or talk with our travel specialists about which of these 12 amazing things to do in the Amazon you want to experience!