La selva (“the jungle”) is the third and largest region of Peru’s geographical regions. This vast and fertile jungle is home to beautiful landscapes, exotic plants/animals, and rich, archaeological treasures only found in this Amazonian wonderland.
This region accounts for 60% of Peru’s territory, which includes the Amazon River and other similar bodies of water (www.chimuadventures.com). The Amazon is shared with Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil, forming part of one of the most bio-diverse regions on Earth.
The jungle usually has two distinct seasons. From November to March it rains frequently, and from April to October it’s fairly dry, making this the ideal time to visit as the rivers and roads are easily accessible. There is high humidity all year round. The lowest temperatures can fall between 8 and 12°C (approximately) during “cold-snap season”, occasionally between May and August.
Food that comes from this region of Peru is usually very diverse in flavor, color and texture. The tropical rain forests provide many exotic spices and ingredients that make up most of the main elements of every dish native to this region.
One special ingredient that I find particularly interesting is “Cecina”, which is pork that’s been smoked and dried, much like beef jerky. Another interesting dish is the “Juane”, which is mainly consumed during the San Juan festival celebrated in June. The juane kind of looks like a tamale, but is more rounded in shape and often filled with rice, chicken, yucca, olives and many other ingredients depending on which location you’re in.
Places I would recommend visiting in the jungle regions are Iquitos, Tarapoto and Kuélap.
Kuélap, fun fact, has become more popular recently thanks to its cable car service that runs through four kilometers in 20 minutes, where as the usual journey, starting from the Tingo district to Kuélap, takes about two hours (all facts courtesy of peruhop.com). Filled with a rich, cultural history, Kuélap is the home of an ancient settlement built by the Chachapoyas (not to be confused with the Peruvian city) tribe.