Peru is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, offering animal lovers glimpses of some of the world’s rarest animals. With the Amazon rainforest and Andes so close, animal enthusiasts can take tours through the jungle and mountains to see these creatures in their natural habitats. Check out our guide to the animals that call Peru’s unique landscape home. There may even be some that you’ve never heard of before.
The condor is a scavenger and the world’s largest flying bird. The Andean condor lives in inaccessible rock ledges high in the Andes and is in danger of extinction. Spotting one in Peru is rare, but you’ll have the best chance in the Sacred Valley and Colca Canyon, which is near Arequipa.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
The anaconda is the largest snake in the world and can reach up to 10 m (33 ft) long and weigh up to 250 kg (550 lb). Anacondas live in trees in the Peruvian rainforest where it slips from the branches to attack its prey. They are also known to be found in rivers and ponds where the snakes may surprise unsuspecting prey.
The Peruvian national bird is found in tropical and subtropical rainforests close to rocky areas, where they build their nests. They are known for their bright red color and distinct plumage.
Peruvian hairless dog
The Peruvian Inca Orchid is a line of, until recently, almost extinct hairless dogs that date back to pre-Columbian societies. Its origins are relatively unknown, but you can find the unmistakable image of the dog on pottery and art dating before the Incas in Peru. You’ll find them all over Peru and, trust me, you won’t miss them: they’re hard not to notice.
Viscachas live in the Andes and can be seen near Colca Canyon and Macchu Picchu. It is a small rodent in the same family as the Chinchilla (Chunchilla Lanigera) and are only found in Peru. They are usually gray in color with a bushy, long tail and look similar to rabbits, apart from their longer tails.
Spectacled bears are a relatively small bear species that get their name from the light colored rings around their eyes. The spectacled bear (or Andean bear) is the only species of bear in South America. Peru’s spectacled bears are most commonly found in high elevation forests and are becoming increasingly rare to see.
Pink river dolphins
Take a jungle boat cruise through the Amazon. This opportunity will give you the chance to catch glimpses of rarely sighted jungle animals like the Amazonian pink dolphin. The large, fresh water dolphins really are pink, especially the adults, though some turn partially gray. They are the largest river dolphins on the planet and can weigh up to 400 pounds. They are known to be very friendly and oftentimes approach humans.
Only a short collectivo ride from Los Organos is the Nuro fisherman’s dock turned turtle swimming adventure. Here you’ll find one of a few species of sea turtle native to the Peruvian coast. If you do decide to swim with them, please do not touch the turtles. Touching them can remove a thick layer of mucus from their shell that protects them from diseases.
Llamas have become so synonymous with Peruvian culture that you can find some sort of llama trinket or stuffed animal anywhere in Peru. Llamas are also native to Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina, and were used both as food and as a pack animal by the Incas.
Alpacas are a domesticated species of South American camelid that look like a smaller, much cuter, llama. The animal is well known for their wool which is very warm and soft and found for sale all over Cusco.
Humpback whales come to the warmer waters of the north of Peru from August through October to give birth. From Mancora you can take tours to go see the whales and, if you’re lucky, see them jump from the water. Take a tour with Pacifico Adventures, which is the most reputable company in the area.
The jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas, reaching up to 2.70 m (9 ft). Jaguars historically ranged from the southeastern United States south to eastern Argentina. They quickly disappear from areas impacted by people and are listed as near threatened by conservation authorities. Your best chance to spot one in Peru would be deep in the jungle at a secluded hotel or resort away from any city or town.
Vicuña is a South American camelid that lives in the high altitude areas of the Andes, known for its very fine wool. Vicuñas are cousins of llamas and were celebrated by the Incas for their wool. The wool is popular because of its softness and its ability to retain heat. Their coat is capable of keeping vicuñas warm in the sometimes freezing temperatures of the Andes.
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