Getting Here and Around
LAN flies to Iquitos five times daily from Lima. Peruvian Airlines and Star Peru each fly to Iquitos twice a day, but charge considerably less than LAN. Iquitos's Aeropuerto Internacional Francisco Secada Vignetta is 8 km (5 miles) from the city center. A taxi to the airport should cost around S/15. LAN has three daily flights from both Lima and Cusco to Aeropuerto Padre Aldámiz, 5 km (3 miles) from the center of Puerto Maldonado. TACA and Star Peru each have one Lima–Puerto Maldonado flight daily, which stop in Cusco. Star Peru usually has the best deals.
Boats are the most common form of transportation in the Amazon Basin and the only way to get to most of the nature lodges, with the exception of those in the cloud forests of Manu. If you stay at any of this region’s nature lodges, you will be met at the airport in Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos and transported to a riverbank spot where you board a boat that takes you to your lodge. Once there, most excursions will also be by boat. If you opt for an Amazon cruise, you'll spend most of your time on the water.
The only areas that can be reached by road are Puerto Maldonado and the buffer zone of Manu National Park. The windy road to Puerto Maldonado from Cusco is a 10-hour bus ride that only a backpacker on a very tight budget would take. Several tour companies offer slower, but incredible, overland trips from Cusco to Manu, including seven hours over rugged terrain via Paucartambo. The road plunges spectacularly from the páramo (highlands) into the cloud forest, eventually reaching the Alto Madre de Dios River in Atalaya, where travelers board boats to Manu lodges.