Introducing Central Amazon
For a quick Amazon fix on long weekends and holidays, limeños (inhabitants of Lima) usually head for this relatively accessible Amazon region, reachable in eight hours by bus. The tropical Chanchamayo province is as different to the coastal desert strip or the Andean mountains as can be. The last hour of the journey here is particularly remarkable for the rapid change in vegetation and climate as you slip down the Andes into the vibrant green of La Selva Central, as it is known in Spanish. Comprising the two main towns of La Merced and San Ramón, plus a scattering of remoter communities, the area is noted for coffee and fruit production. Despite its popularity with Peruvian holidaymakers, the region offers the traveler a good insight into Amazon life. Better transportation links mean there are more opportunities here for interacting with rainforest tribes than elsewhere in the Amazonas. Two rough, adventurous back routes also await: forging via Satipo and Puerto Bermúdez through Peru’s central belt of Amazon to the port of Pucallpa, jumping-off point for river trips deeper into the jungle.