Selva is the eastern part of the country with unique flora and fauna: mahogany, rubber trees, sarsaparilla, vanilla tree and a great variety of exotic tropical flowers grow in the local jungle. On the Amazon, you can watch pink dolphins, caimans and other reptiles, as well as many endemic birds. In addition, purebred Indian tribes live here, and numerous monuments of ancient cultures are lost in the jungle.
How to get there
To visit the Manu National Park, the stronghold of the tropical Peruvian Selva, you will have to try hard. To do this, you first need to make a flight from Lima to Puerto Maldonado, then pile on a broken-down truck that shakes up to the boat station, and after an hour and a half, sail on a motor boat to the Reserva Amazonica eco-lodge.
You can get to Iquitos from Lima by plane. The journey will take about an hour. Check 800zipcodes for other cities and countries as well as population and geography of South America.
Weather in Selva
The climate of the selva is humid, with a lot of precipitation. The average annual temperature is +27 °C. The dry season here lasts from April to November, which is the perfect time to visit.
The roads in the selva are rivers, and the main means of transportation are motor boats or canoes.
Entertainment and attractions of the Peruvian Selva
The most striking attraction is, of course, the center of the Peruvian Amazon Iquitos, located on the banks of the Amazon River, or rather, at its confluence with the Rio Negro.
By the way, it is here that you can see pink and gray river dolphins frolicking in the rapid streams of water.
First of all, thanks to the forests surrounding the city, where every second tree or bush has healing properties, Iquitos is recognized as the center of Amazonian medicine. Serious diseases such as hepatitis C and diabetes are successfully treated here. In addition, it is a popular tourist center and from here curious tourists go to the very heart of the Selva.
The main decoration of the city is the Metal House, designed by Eiffel and installed in the central square of Plaza de Armas. Everywhere on the facades of old buildings you can find azulejos (decorated ceramic tiles) handmade, brought here from Portugal.
An entire residential area of Belen, in the southeast of Iquitos, drifts on the water. At the local market, you can buy not only common Indian crafts, drinks of local shamans, but also order the skin of a jaguar, a live crocodile or snakes.
A special treat will be the festival of Saint Juan, a colorful, noisy annual celebration in Iquitos, usually taking place from June 23rd to 25th. A cacophony of sounds, dancing silhouettes of local residents, mouth-watering “juanami”, a national dish made from chicken, tomatoes and onions wrapped in bixa palm leaf. Dessert is takacho, a baked banana.
Pucallpa is another city of the Selva, at the confluence of the Ouayaga and Ucayali rivers. There is also a deep canyon known as Boqueron del Padre Abad, already visible from the Pucallpa-Lima highway, as well as the famous Velo de la Novia waterfall. Another great feature of these places is the serene Yarinacocha Lake, located 7 km from the city, where you can practice water sports and fishing, and most importantly, watch the dolphin that lives exclusively in the Amazon.
One of the most important cities in the Amazon is Tarapoto, which is located between the Shiklaio and Kumbasa rivers. It is named after a variety of palm trees: Taraputus (Tarapoto is also known as the city of palm trees). Refreshing cascades of numerous waterfalls: Auashiyaku, Mamonakihua and Huakamaiyo give rise to rainbow arcs, and the shores of lakes: Venice, America, Limoncocha, Lago Sauce (Laguna Azul), Lago Lindo – a great place for picnics.
2 things to do in Selva
- On the way to Puerto Maldonado, stop by the local market, where there are many medicine shops. Here they sell snake venom for rheumatism, a tincture of the copaiba plant for cancer, an ointment from the glands of a turtle for sciatica, and the juice of a rare liana to increase potency. Price: 10 PEN.
- Stock up on Ciete Raises (7 roots) tincture, which strengthens the immune system and activates all body functions, which is sold at the Belen floating market in Iquitos. And at the same time, pick up coca leaves and dried frogs, fresh caterpillars and piranha teeth here.
Natural attractions of Selva
The Tambopata National Reserve and Lake Sandoval are located on the outskirts of the town of Puerto Maldonado, which is steadily gaining popularity among tourists. In addition to the Manu National Park, the Selva is also home to the unique Pacaya Samiria National Park. It is about 180 km from the city of Iquitos. Having received the name due to the two rivers – Pakaya and Samiriya, crossing it, this is, indeed, the “Mirror of the Jungle”, so mysterious forest thickets and low sky are reflected in the muddy river waters. The local flora and fauna are diverse, with over 440 bird species, over 100 mammals and over 1,000 plant species. Threatened with extinction are the black caiman, giant otter, manatees and some species of turtles, whose representatives can be found in the dense jungle.
The best time to visit the park is from May to October.
From Iquitos you can come here by land transport: 2 hours by car or 2 hours by boat, 12 hours by public ferry. From Nauta, it is best to sail by river transport to peque-peque (it takes 3 hours by ferry or 1.5 hours by boat) in the direction of Nauta Cano and Yanayacu Pucate, and from there you can easily get to El Dorado Lake in the reserve.
From Tarapoto you need to move towards the city of Yurimaguas, which will take 3 hours, and then take a boat and get to the lakes (Tiblio) in three hours. You can also take a public ferry, which will be cheaper, but will take 12 hours.
From Pucallpa it is better to take a boat and move for 8 hours in the direction of Victoria (Cochas de punga. You will have to spend all 48 hours on a public ferry.
Another amazing place is a farm located 35 km from Iquitos on the banks of the Nanay and Amazon rivers. But not an easy farm, and Pilpintuwasi, which in the native language of the Quechua tribes means “butterfly house”. Here you will meet 42 species of butterflies, among which there are quite rare buho (owl butterfly) and morpho (bright blue butterfly). There is also a miniature zoo in which rescued animals live.
It is best to get acquainted with the flora and fauna by staying for 3-4 days in an ecological hotel or eco-lodge, located right in the Amazon jungle.