The Amazon rainforest spreads across nine countries. Majority of the forest lies in Brazil, with smaller portions in Peru, Ecuador and other South American countries. Whilst almost 60% of the forest is in Brazil, we think Peru and Ecuador are the best countries to explore the Amazon from. We appreciate the challenge of deciding between Peru and Ecuador. So read on and take a closer look at the Amazon experience Peru vs. Ecuador.
Both Peru and Ecuador have great 4 days/3 nights Amazon cruising options (longer cruises available). However, Peru has significantly more options at various price points to suit every budget. From the luxurious 43 passenger Amazon Discovery, with 5 star facilities including, an indoor and outdoor lounge, a spa, gym, sundeck with a pool and much more, to the exclusive and intimate M/V Delfin I, complete with just 4 suites, each with their own private balcony and floor to ceiling panoramic windows.
The Ecuadorian Amazon offers fewer cruising options than Peru simply because the area is much smaller. The cruises on the Ecuadorian amazon aren’t as luxurious as that of the Peruvian amazon. However, they are still comfortable featuring high quality accommodation and facilities. Two vessels we highly recommend are the Manatee Amazon and the Anakonda Amazon.
The Amazon Jungle is one of Earth’s last refuges for jaguars, harpy eagles, and pink river dolphins. This world famous jungle is also home to sloths, black spider monkeys, and poisonous dart frogs. It contains one in 10 known species on Earth, 40,000 plant species, 3,000 freshwater fish species, and more than 370 types of reptiles.
The wildlife you see in both Peru and Ecuador is relatively the same. Although, Ecuador is better at times it’s smaller area means there is often a higher concentration of wildlife. However, Peru can be better because of its size and that there are more species of wildlife there.
Depending on which region you’re visiting, we recommend cruises in the Cuyabeno Nature Reserve or the Yasuni National Park in Ecuador. These areas offer an abundance of wildlife. Look out for a range of monkeys, giant river otters, colourful birds, tree frogs, butterflies, and many other animals.
In Peru we recommend the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Wildlife you may encounter on a Pacaya Samiria cruise include howler monkeys, capuchins, squirrel monkeys, and tamarins. You might also spot different sloths as well as reptiles and tree frogs. And of course, wherever you are in the Amazon, there’s an abundance of birdlife.
When visiting the Amazon in Ecuador, you also have the opportunity of visiting the magnificent Galapagos Islands. While not part of the Amazon, the Galapagos can be a major point of difference when deciding between Peru and Ecuador. While you can fly to Ecuador from Peru to visit the Galapagos, its easier and cheaper if you’re already in Ecuador. The Galapagos cruises are anywhere from 4 to 15 days in duration. There are a range of board options from cabins to rooms and suites. The wildlife you’ll see in the Galapagos is like nowhere else on earth, with marine iguanas, hammerhead sharks, giant tortoises and so much more.
Machu Picchu and other historical sites
A fantastic add on if you’re in the Peruvian amazon is a tour of the archaeological sites from Incan and pre-Incan cultures. Machu Picchu of course is a must see, however Peru also offers, Lake Titicaca and Cusco. As well as off the beaten track gems such as Paracas, Chachapoyas and Kuelap.
Both Peru and Ecuador are excellent options for an Amazon cruise, both regions are excellent for wildlife viewing and both offer great cruising vessels. For a more luxurious cruise, the Peruvian Amazon is where you want to be, however because the Ecuadorian Amazon is smaller, there are less vessels and a higher concentration of wildlife. Additionally, Ecuador is well known for its incredible conservation efforts. We know it’s a tough choice to decide between the two, but hopefully we’ve offered some useful insights to help you choose the region that’s right for you.