While Peru is well-known for its archaeological wonders, the country is also an up-and-coming destination for spotting birds and wildlife in pristine ecosystems. At luxury lakeside lodges, cloud forest escapes, and rustic rainforest retreats, you can look for everything from poison dart frogs and spectacled bears to magnificent birds such as the Andean cock-of-the-rock. This article covers the best places to stay for an up close and personal experience of Peru's phenomenally diverse nature.

Tahuayo Lodge, Río Tahuayo, Northern Peru

Tahuayo Lodge abuts primary jungle
Tahuayo Lodge is located in one of the most biodiverse parts of the Peruvian Amazon. 

The rustic Tahuayo Lodge is located right on the edge of the primary jungle, up a tributary 40 miles from the main Amazon River and a four-hour speedboat ride from Iquitos. The adjoining Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Reserve is often cited as the most biodiverse part of the Peruvian Amazon—no small claim. Wildlife to be spotted here includes the hard-to-spot red ukari monkey, pygmy marmosets, and colorful hoatzins, known for their stink and elaborate mating rituals. The lodge has 17 cabins built on stilts above the river bank. A research center run by the lodge is located even deeper into the primary jungle.

OtoEx Amazon River Lodge, Northern Peru

OxoEx Amazon River Lodge
A rustic cabin at OtoEx Amazon River Lodge.

Formerly known as Otorongo Lodge, this accommodation option just up a tributary of the Amazon River is the brainchild of former falconer Anthony Giardinelli. Anthony, who likes to be involved with all trips personally, has the unique talent of attracting birds by mimicking their songs—his guests often get to glimpse many rare types of birds that would otherwise remain elusive.

This 12-room lodge sits at a 2.5-hour speedboat ride from Iquitos, with the main complex of thatched buildings facing onto a pretty garden. A couple of secluded separate houses overlooking the beautiful nearby creek offer a particularly isolated jungle experience.

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ExplorNapo Lodge, Northern Peru

ExplorNapo Lodge is known for its 115 ft high walkway above the forest floor. 

Explorama is one of the best and longest-established companies with lodges in Peru's northern jungle wilderness, operating several accommodation options. Almost 100 miles from Iquitos on the Río Napo, the highlight of a stay at their rustic ExplorNapo Lodge is the unparalleled means at guests' disposal for viewing wildlife.

As well as boasting its own nature trails and an ethnobotanical garden managed by a shaman, the lodge is only a short walk away from a canopy walkway suspended 115 ft above the forest floor. There are also walks to a wilderness camp, a two-hour hike from the main lodge. The lodge has shared bathroom facilities. Because of the distances involved, the minimum stay is normally five days. For more luxury and less wildlife viewing, try the company's fancy Ceiba Tops Lodge, located closer to Iquitos.

Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge and Manu Wildlife Center, Central Peru

Cabins at the Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge.

On the exhilarating road from Cusco to the Parque Nacional Manu (Manu National Park), you descend from the barren higher peaks into the lush cloud forest, boasting its distinct ecosystems and some of the most dazzling birdlife on the planet.

One of the best lodges here, where the Andes bow down to meet the jungle below, is Cock-of-the-Rock Lodge, accessible by road from Cusco. The lodge has 12 well-appointed wooden bungalows, sitting in a photogenic location at 5200 feet. The accommodation takes its name from one of the area's most bizarre birds, the gaudy orange cock-of-the-rock, found only in a few locations worldwide.

The lodge is run by the highly-regarded outfit InkaNatura, the company that also runs the more famous Manu Wildlife Center deeper into the Parque Nacional Manu and an adventurous road and river trip from Cusco. Jaguar sightings are possible at the lodge, and you can also visit a macaw feeding ground.

Collpas Tambopata Lodge, Río Tambopata, Southern Peru

Collpas Tambopata Lodge
A room at  Collpas Tambopata Lodge. 

If wildlife viewing is your thing, then one of the best wilderness experiences to be had in the southern part of Peru awaits at Collpas Tambopata Lodge. The lodge is one of the more recent additions to those on the Río Tambopata. One of the region's most renowned guides, Gerson Medina Valera, operates the lodge, with trips running out here from his Puerto Maldonado-based hostel.

Here, you are in the best hands possible to see the wildlife of this part of Peru, including several different types of monkeys and macaws on the nearby clay licks. One quirk of the lodge is that you have the opportunity (with help from a guide) to forage for your own dinner in the Amazon jungle, just as Indigenous tribes have done for thousands of years.

Sandoval Lake Lodge, Lago Sandoval, Southern Peru

Sandoval Lake Lodge - credit Sandoval Lake Lodge
The softly-lit entrance of Sandoval Lake Lodge.

Sandoval Lake Lodge, operated by InkaNatura, combines arguably the best of rainforest luxury with some of the most memorable wildlife watching in Southern Peru. It is rare to find somewhere so remote with such well-furnished accommodation. Lago Sandoval itself is a jungle lake that acts as a window onto an incredible diversity of wildlife, including giant river otters, black caimans, and turtles.

Just getting to the lodge, with part of the journey a canoe paddle through the flooded forest, makes this option a real adventure. Aside from the wildlife, the rooms are some of the best in the Peruvian wilderness. Constructed in eco-friendly driftwood mahogany, the lodge has 25 large, smart, comfortable doubles, en-suite facilities, and a large restaurant and bar.