Occupying almost two-thirds of Peru, the Amazon Basin is home to a mystifying mosaic of people, birds, wildlife and plants. Approximately 8,000 distinctive animal species, 280 species of exotic birds, 700 classes of butterflies and 64 indigenous tribes live in harmony within this fascinating region. In fact, there’s so much to discover, that some people embark on Peru Amazon tours at least once every few years. From catamaran sails, to canopy tours and visits to parrot clay licks, there’s so much to learn, see and do!
Welcome to the Lungs of the Planet
Close to 20 percent of the world’s plant species grow within the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. Some of these plants even have medicinal properties, which you will learn about on your tour. By coincidence, the rainforest also produces 20 percent of the world’s oxygen. Here’s why. The vast array of green plants within this region triggers a significant amount of photosynthesis activity. Photosynthesis, in turn, allows the plants to continuously recycle carbon dioxide into oxygen. Now you know why people refer to the Peruvian Amazon as the “lungs of the planet.” This is just one of the many intriguing facts you will learn on the Peru Amazon tours.
The Divided Jungle
Two distinct eco-regions – the high selva and the low selva — divide the Peruvian Amazon Jungle. The high Selva also called the ceja de Selva or fringe of the mountain, sits at the eastern foothills of the Andes Mountains. The varying climates and temperatures within this region produce a colorful diversity of flora and fauna.
The vegetation increases its density in the low selva. Here lies the iconic Amazon rainforest. Monkeys, colorful birds, snakes and butterflies live within this region. Since the density of vegetation makes parts of this region difficult to explore, some anthropologists speculate that tribes of indigenous people live within these jungles, and make no contact with the outside world.
Fruits of the Forest
All of Peru offers an unparalleled culinary odyssey, but the Peruvian Amazon produces some extraordinary fruits. When you sit down for a meal, the cook might have added some of these indigenous fruits to the recipe.
The Camu Camu has an acidic taste, similar to a blend of a sour cherry and lime. Some cooks add it to juices, jams, ice creams and yogurts. Its high Vitamin C content will help you stay healthy during your Amazon tour.
Cocona, sometimes called the “Amazon Tomato” is often prepared with aji and mixed with salads. Rich in iron and niacin, they taste like a cross between a lime and a tomato. Refugio Amazonas, our lodging venue, serves Pork Chops in Cocona Sauce. You will see it live in the field when you visit the farms that work with the lodge.
Moriche palm trees produce fruits called Aguaje, which have a reddish-purple-brown tough skin with a texture. Enjoy it raw, or experience its use in desserts, juices, jams, ice-cream and alcoholic beverages. Refugio Amazonas uses this fruit in a luscious desert called Aguaymanto Bavaroise.