Peru: Amazing Amazon
Imagine peering out across the horizon – and all that meets the eye is dense green foliage. You take a deep breath, and the sweet, warm air of the surrounding forest envelops you as the sounds of the river, insects, birds, and monkeys fill your ears. You’re in the Amazon.
The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest, spanning eight countries and boasting half of Earth’s remaining tropical forests. There is a mind-boggling amount of biodiversity here, which means you’ll see things you’re never going to see from the comfort of your dorm room. Peru’s urban areas embrace a blend of cultures and the country’s Incan past is evident across the countryside.
Based an hour and a half outside of Iquitos, deep in the heart of the Amazon, SFS offers fall and spring semester programs that include an expedition to Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
This is a pretty amazing place to study abroad; here are 10 reasons why:
- Mind-boggling biodiversity: You’ll see everything from pink dolphins and giant river otters to countless monkey and bird species – some right on campus. The famous flesh-eating piranha can be found here along with tapirs, manatees, sloths, jaguars, frogs, crocodiles, bats, and so much more. Insects? Yes – thousands of species including the vivid colors and intricate wings of many butterfly and moth species.
- No roads lead to Iquitos. If you want to get off the beaten path, then look no further! Iquitos is the world’s largest city that cannot be accessed by a road (besides the road that goes to our Center!) – you’ll need a boat or a plane to get here. Despite this, Iquitos is a vibrant metropolis with a mix of European-influenced architecture, delicious restaurants, and Peruvian markets. You’ll have several opportunities to visit Iquitos during the semester.
- The Andean Highlands and Machu Picchu. Head into the clouds on an excursion to Cusco and the Sacred Valley, going from 300 feet above sea level at our Center to over 11,000 feet. From there, you’ll explore the surrounding area visiting cloud forests, Incan ruins, terraced hillside salt mines, and a potato farm boasting more than 59 varieties. You’ll have five free days to travel around Cusco, and many students choose to visit world-famous Machu Picchu which offers astounding panoramic views of the Sacred Valley.
- Spend a week on a river boat. A charming rubber-boom-era boat will be your home for an unforgettable 5-day trip on the Amazon River to the Tamishiyacu-Tahuayo Conservation Area. You’ll observe pink river dolphins, colorful macaws, and a variety of monkeys (perhaps even the rare Red Uakari!) and you’ll even have the chance to catch the razor-toothed Red-Bellied piranha.
- Meet the Maijana people. On a multi-day trek to Sucusari, you’ll meet with this indigenous group that has called the Peruvian Amazon their home for centuries. You’ll learn about the history of the community and visit a shaman to learn about traditional medicinal plants.
- One of the world’s longest canopy walkways. On your trek to Sucusari, cross one of the longest canopy walkways in the world – at over a third of a mile long and over 100 feet high, it will bring a different perspective to your study abroad experience!
- Practice your Spanish. Brush off those language skills, or start developing them! You’ll have the opportunity to practice Spanish with staff, fellow students, and community members during the program.
- Go on a nighttime hike. When the sun goes down, many species come out. The nighttime world is host to many animals and insects you won’t see during daylight hours and holds a magic of its own. Join your professors and walk along one of several hiking trails at the SFS Peru Center – the rainforest is at your doorstep!
- Try new foods. The Amazon boasts over 3,000 species of fruits, many of which we bet you haven’t heard of – such as the sweet and tart Annona, or macambo, a cousin of cacao. Ever tried fresh sugarcane or picked your own guava on the way to class?
- Live sustainably in Peru! On program, you’ll be joined by other passionate student environmentalists. You’ll create a sustainability code for campus and study local environmental issues firsthand.