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Peru Wildlife Highlights

In some ways Peru is unique in South America, as its natural wonders and wildlife are often intertwined with the archaeological Incan sites for which it is most associated.

Areas such as the Sacred Valley, Colca and Titicaca have incredible scenery in which to hike, raft, walk, or boat and gain an overall appreciation of the stunning Peruvian environment, but there are often Incan settings that hold equal significance and interest that it would be a travesty to overlook.


Jaguars are one of the most beautiful big cats, and can sometimes be seen with rosettes so dark, they look almost solid black. These big cats, the largest found in the Americas, can be spotted resting in the shadows of trees, or even swimming or playing in the wild waters. Head to Manu Biosphere Reserve, one of the world’s best wildlife-viewing platforms, and keep your eyes peeled on the river banks, where jaguars can best be spotted.

Amazon River Dolphin

Travel to the heart of the Peruvian Amazon basin from the base-town of Iquitos to see the revered ‘pink dolphin’, one of the wildlife highlights of the Amazon. The dolphin’s translucent skin reveals capillaries that are very close to the surface, so these dolphins almost appear to ‘blush’ the more active and excited they get.

Andean Condor

The largest flying bird with a wingspan of up to 10.5 feet, the Andean condor is one of Chile’s most distinctive species. Andean condors are found in mountainous regions, as their name suggests, but also live near coasts replete with ocean breezes and even vast deserts with warm breezes. Condors are vultures, so always keep a sharp eye out for carrion for which they can scavenge on. Although the Andean condor is considered threatened, reintroduction programs are working to grow populations of these South American birds.

Spectacled Bear

Known locally as jukumari, the Andean spectacled bear is the last remaining short-faced bear in the world and the only bear in all of South America. Their prime habitats are the humid forests clinging to the sides of the Andes Mountains, and although they prefer to roam areas above 4,000m in altitude, they have been found scouring for food as low as the coastal deserts regions. Although sightings are rare, the only remaining population now lives in high-altitude border areas of northern Peru (near the border with Ecuador), it is an unforgettable highlight to see.

St Peru Vinicunca Cusco Region Emperorcosar

Giant Otter

Known for its playful nature, the giant otter is one of the world's largest and most endangered otter species and can reach length up to 6 feet long. They primarily inhabit freshwater ecosystems such as rivers, streams, lakes, and oxbow lakes in the Amazon rainforest of Peru and are especially associated with clearwater and blackwater rivers. Giant otters are highly social animals, typically living in family groups called "rafts." A raft consists of an alpha breeding pair and their offspring from previous years. They are known for their complex vocalizations, which help them communicate with each other while hunting and maintaining group cohesion.

Amazonian Manatee

The Amazonian manatee is a gentle herbivorous mammal that can be found in the rivers and lakes of the Amazon Basin, including Peru.

Spider Monkeys

Several species of spider monkeys inhabit the rainforests of Peru, known for their prehensile tails and acrobatic movements.


The Amazonian tapir and mountain tapir are both found in Peru's rainforests and high-altitude regions, respectively.


Humboldt Penguin: Take a trip to Ballestas Islands to view incredible colonies of the handsome Humbolt penguin. This is the only place outside of the Antarctic region where they can be spotted. Alongside penguins, a visit to the Ballestas islands (just a short drive south of Lima) will see you come face-to-face with Peruvian Pelicans, sea lions, cormorants, Inca Terns and countless migrating birds.

Macaws and Parrots: The Amazon rainforest in Peru is home to a wide variety of colorful macaws and parrots, including the scarlet macaw, blue-and-yellow macaw, and many others.

Hoatzin: The hoatzin is a unique bird known for its distinctive appearance and prehistoric characteristics. It can be found in Amazonian wetlands.

Harpy Eagle: This powerful and impressive bird of prey can be found in the Amazon rainforest of Peru. It is known for its large size and distinctive appearance.