Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado: where to go to the Amazon Forest in Peru
The Amazon basin extends in more than one country of South America, including Peru.
There are two main points for visiting the Amazon Forest in Peru, one is Iquitos, in the north of the country, and the second one is Puerto Maldonado, off the province of Cusco.
Both of them offer a lot of amazing lodge in the forest, and a true amazon experience. I found one main difference between the two locations.
Iquitos is actually on the Amazon river, while Puerto Maldonado is not: this means that in Iquitos you may see the Amazon Pink Dolphins, the only sweet water (and pink) dolphins on Earth, and that is why we chose Iquitos over Puerto Maldonado.
Also, I would add that Iquitos is a little easier to reach, since there are several direct flights from Lima itself, making it an ideal first stop of a trip in Peru.
Where to choose the Lodge in Iquitos
Once you reach to the town of Iquitos, not so beautiful itself, the best way to experience the Amazon Forest is getting to a lodge as far as possible from the urban area, so you can increase your chance to spot local wildlife, instead of being annoyed by motorboats all day long.
We chose the Muyuna Lodge, which is located two hours and half of speedboat south of the city. This place is very isolated, and it maximize the possibilities to spot wildlife.
The package of 4 nights include all the activities, which are one in morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, more than enough to fill your days.
What wildlife will you see
You have to remember that a trip to the Amazon is not like a safari in Africa, so you won’t see for sure all the animals, and for sure not so easily. It is more about being surrounded by endless forest that creates the magic, and you will explore your surroundings mostly by navigating the channels around the main amazon river.
Expect the best sunsets of your lifes, and a night covered in stars.
This is an overview of the animals you can expect to see during your staying.
This is the bullet ant, The Insect With the World’s Most Painful Sting
And the cayman, which is very, very difficult to spot, since it is nocturnal and it camouflages extremely well:
About the pink dolphins
Pink dolphins are amazing creatures that lives in the main Amazon river. Boat drivers and guides know where to bring you to see them, and I believe that there are good possibilities to spot them.
Seeing them is a completely different thing that photographing them: consider that to do the spotting you will stay in the amazon river (which is HUGE) waiting for them to pop up to the surface to breath air. So the could pop up everywhere around you, and whatever distance, making it very, very hard to take a shot of them.
On top of this, consider that at the opposite of sea dolphins, I have noticed that pink dolphins stay on the surface for max 1 second of time. So, as you can image, it is very difficult, I have spend hours waiting in the boat, in two different occasions, but I was able only to take a shot of their back, not a frontal one… maybe you will be luckier (or better) than me in this!
The “regular” dolphins are actually less shy, and easier to take a photo of.