Peru is known for the diversity of its ecological regions. The desert coast of Lima, the Andes, and the Amazon ebb and flow across the land, yielding endless variations of flora, fauna, and climate. And no one shows it off better than Inkaterra, Peru’s avant garde of ecotourism. Here is how to explore the Amazon with Inkaterra's Amazon Basin outpost - Reserva Amazonica.
Only a one hour flight from Cusco’s high altitude chill, Puerto Maldonado feels like a different country. Airports in the tropics also have a distinct charm with their natural ventilation. What's more, color is everywhere in Puerto Maldonado. And the open-air transport perfectly brings you up close to the region's sunshine and breeze.
After checking in at the butterfly house, a Reserva Amazonica motor canoe awaits among the colorful local boats. Ferrying 45 minutes up river to access the property is genius - not that there’s any other option. Even the pinkest cheeks are cooled by the breeze, and it offers an exciting way to cruise away from transit and into adventure.
Explore the Amazon
In the magical world of Reserva Amazonica, wellington boots are the accessories of choice and everyone smells of eau d’ DEET. Yet one is far from “roughing it” here. Each cabaña is remarkably well-sealed, meaning encounters with six-legged friends are scarce (a miracle considering the proliferation of insect life a mere 20 yards away). Even mosquitos avoid the clearing where the cabañas were built. Why risk the open air when the safety of the jungle is so close at hand?
Meals are also fantastic and authentic. But the true luxury of Reserva Amazonica is the guides. These naturalists quickly endear themselves and accommodate the educational and recreational of each traveler with ease. They live on site and conduct research in the canopy, where the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway stretches from tree to tree with bouncy, swaying bridges like on childhood playgrounds, except that these are 90 feet in the air.
The customary first afternoon at Reserva Amazonica is an orientation walk through the jungle and a twilight boat safari after dinner. Passing from the manicured clearing dotted with cabañas and agoutis into the jungle, life closes in around you. The fight for survival is everywhere, with stunning effect. Flowers growing brighter and bolder to compete for attention from pollinators. Root systems racing across the forest floor searching for food in the nutrient-poor soil. Under every leaf an exotic fungi. Butterflies visible from fifty yards away.
Twilight on the Amazon is so thick you can smell it. The din of insects and bird songs rises to a roar as the boat creeps along the shore once the last of daylight fades. Guides use spotlights to find caimans, turtles, and snakes along the banks where they take shelter in the riparian tree roots.
Later, after a gourmet 3-course dinner, cocktail, and refreshing shower, you are invited to drift off to sleep to the soft and distant jungle songs in surprising comfort.
Additional activities at Reserva Amazonica include exploring Gamitana Creek and meandering through a working fruit farm for a culinary tour. Starfruit sliced by machete, banana plucked from the tree, savoring one delight after another.
A canoe trip down the creek offers one time to lean back and survey the landscape as it glides by in shades of green and earth. To the left and right the guides identify the wildlife sharing the current. Turtles, fish, and birds watching for some lunch.
Additionally, visit the canopy walkway to see the penthouse wildlife. One at a time across the swaying bridges, the canopy is a magical place of wings and sloths, and prehensile tails. It is a world where humans cannot roam freely, but thanks to the walkways, can observe and marvel.
Or perhaps trek to Lake Sandoval to feed the piranhas.
Of course, it is also entirely possible to relax the entire afternoon on the porch hammocks, lulled to sleep by the din of raindrops from the midday rains. This is unadulterated nature, after all.
Explore the Amazon with Ker & Downey
For more information about Peru's Amazon basin, or any other destination, contact your travel professional.