Peruvian Amazonia: La Selva (Peru)
The region known as Peruvian Amazonia, or La Selva, lies between the eastern foothills of the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon Basin rainforests. It's a place where the lower slopes of the western Andes intermingle with the lush, dense tropical lowlands.
Peruvian Amazonia: La Selva
Peruvian Amazonia (La Selva) stretches from the eastern boundaries of the Andes Mountains west to the borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia. Peru hosts the second-largest portion of the Amazon Rainforest after Brazil.
"La Selva" means the Amazon Rainforest to Peruvians. Translated, it means "the jungle." It is one of Peru's three principal geographic regions, along with La Costa (the coast) and La Sierra or Los Montañas (the highlands or mountains).
Peruvian Amazonia is the area between the eastern foothills of the Peruvian Andes and the enormous rainforests of the Amazon Basin. The western Andes' lower slopes merge with the heavily forested tropical lowlands. In addition, dense cloud forests are found in the zone immediately adjacent to the Andes.
The region is an enormous part of Peru, covering approximately 60% of the country. However, the large area is home to only about 5% of the country's population.
The root of the Amazon lies in the heart of Peruvian Amazonia, at the point where two big rivers, the Marañon and the Ucayali, flow together and form the Amazon River.
Another important source of the Amazon River is the Urubamba River. It flows northwards from Peru's southern Andes through the highlands, where it joins the Ucayali River.
On its way, it passes magnificent sites like Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, and the villages of Pisac, Urubamba, and Ollantaytambo. Finally, it passes through the Pongo de Mainique, a white-water gorge.
Many indigenous peoples, such as the Aguaruna, Cocama-Cocamilla and Urarina, inhabit the rainforest; some are in relative isolation from the rest of the world.
Several small cities are located within the Peruvian Amazon region, including the larger cities of Iquitos and Pucallpa. Other towns include Puerto Maldonado, Moyobamba, Tarapoto, San Ramon, La Merced, Satipo, Tingo Maria, and Yurimaguas.
Peruvian Amazonia is one of the most biologically diverse areas on Earth. As a nation, Peru has the world's most significant number of bird species and the third-largest number of mammals; 44% of bird species and 63% of mammal species inhabit the region.
One of the largest nature reserves in the region is Manú National Park, a globally-renowned haven of terrestrial biodiversity at the meeting point of the Tropical Andes and the Amazon Basin. The area also hosts the Tambopata National Reserve, a massive subtropical rainforest reserve nearly one-third the size of Costa Rica.
Map depicting the geographical regions of Peru, including La Selva, in green