Peru is often cited as home to some of the greatest landmarks and ancient architecture in the whole of South America. Lake Titicaca, Machu Picchu and the Colca Canyon Volcano often get pride of place on the to do list, but if you’re making the trip don’t forget to squeeze in time to experience Peru’s other world wonder, its amazing anthology of wildlife.

Dipping into the basin The Amazon basin is one of the best places to start when looking to be enticed by the wildlife of Peru. The Tambopata reserve is an excellent location from which to start your search, with many small boat trips and jungle treks scouring the canopy daily for the chance to glimpse the elusive jaguar. The excitement of seeing one of these big cats in the wild is electric, not just for tourists but guides too, with only 99 jaguars counted in the reserve opportunities are fleeting, but along the banks of the Tambopata is the most likely place to spot them. Monkeys are also in abundance in the reserve and a day of spotting 4 or 5 different species is fairly likely, monkeys are the exhibitionists of the animal kingdom.

Spread your wings Birds in Peru are by definition both vibrant and plentiful, There are over 1,800 species, 120 of which are native to the country. Across the altiplano wetlands you can spot flamingos flaunting their tinted feathers. Andean flamingos are some of the world’s rarest, and the only species with contrasting yellow legs and feet. Feathery friends abound in the rainforest areas of Peru, where you’re just as likely to be sharing a path with a Scarlet Macaw as a Grey-lined or Great Black Hawk.

Keeping warm in the Highlands The llama is probably the most recognisable of Peru’s furry friends, postcards often depict these contented creatures blocking some part of the Inca Trail, or sporting a comedy hat and glasses. In reality both llamas and Alpaccas frequent the slopes of Machu Picchu and the surrounding highlands and provide local people with wool which they use to knit a plethora of insulated garments for themselves and any tourist hoping to survive a chilly night along the Inca trail.

Pacific playground The Pacific coast of Peru enjoys some excellent surf breaks, wales and sharks dominate the pounding swells of the North and in the South Pisco, known also as the local muscat grape brandy, serves as a base for jaunts with Sea-lions at Peninsula De Paracas.

Another way to go For those who like to feel completely immersed in nature a kayak might be your best bet for wildlife spotting in Peru. Paddling along the Tambopata River provides the chance to creep up on many a water dweller, including a coy caiman or two, who seem to have no qualms sharing their patch with a non-motorized boat. Reasons to visit Peru are plentiful, but when you find yourself waxing lyrical about the amazing sites and heritage, don’t forget to mention the incredible flora and fauna too. Image courtsey of mtchm from Flickr