The Peruvian Amazon: Exploring the uncharted wild
When you hear the word Amazon, images of an untamed wilderness along a raging river might come to mind. For National Geographic contributor Keith Bellows, there's no place quite like it. Bellows recently traveled to the Peruvian region of Loreto, which makes up about a third of the country, during the rainy season, when temperatures reach a staggering 90 degrees Fahrenheit and few explorers dare to brave the thundering waters.
Despite the harsh conditions, Bellows maintains that the Amazon is one of the most stunning wildernesses in the world. During your unforgettable tour of Peru, you'll also have the chance to encounter some of nature's most beautiful pockets of jungle.
With an average width of 28 miles, the Amazon River is among nature's most powerful aquatic forces, pumping about 7.1 million cubic feet of water into the ocean every second. In the Loreto region of Peru, you'll find few other inhabitants outside of local villagers. Additionally, with most of the area covered by thick vegetation, the majority of life you'll see will be wild animals and not humans. Creatures like the turtle charapa, giant river otter, black caiman and river dolphin are only some of the endangered species you might encounter during your tour along the Amazon in Peru.
Although the capital city of Iquitos welcomed a large hotel after the Jesuit missionaries passed through the area, much of the surrounding villages have remained unchanged and sit on stilts to prevent from flooding during the wet season.
True to most of the Amazonian region, the jungles along the waterway have avoided major urban development thanks to conservation groups who have worked hard to keep the land safe.