Location: North of the country.
Area: 39 249 km2.
Capital: Chachapoyas (2334 msnm).
Minimum: 230 masl (Santa María de Nieva).
Maximum: 3952 masl (Chuquimbamba).
The department of Amazonas, named after the Amazon River,
is located at the northeastern part of the country, in the High Jungle or Mountain rim. It limits to the north with Ecuador, to the south with San Martín and La Libertad, to the east with Loreto, and to the west with Cajamarca.
Amazonas provides an extraordinary view of endless leafy forest for those flying over the region. Here and there one can spot villages and towns, even large cities built with great effort in the middle of the jungle. One of these cities is Chachapoyas, capital of the department.
It was in the department of Amazonas where the Chachapoyan Cloud People lived in the Ceja de la Selva (eyebrow of the jungle) cloud forest overlooking the Amazon Basin from the slopes above. This province is not to be confused with the huge department of Loreto, which contains the lower rainforest jungle and 40% of Peru's land surface.
The northern half of the department of Amazonas is lower jungle, whereas the south has the high slopes of the Andes. Chachapoyas is its capitol with a mild altitude of about 2000 meters and is said to have the friendliest and most honest natives of Peru. It was almost void of people 35 years ago before the first road, so now there is plenty of farming potential. The way of life is easier and the natives are not hungry or begging. They certainly are innocent and not used to tourists so have not developed schemes to take advantage of travelers. There are vast tracts of the least known, probed but semi-unexplored Andes, in which today pioneers are beginning to move in and stake a farm.
The unique position of Amazonas creates a huge variety of compact mini-ecological zones. Naturally the lower portion is typical of the Amazon Basin, but being near the equator, it is more tropical and has more diverse jungle life. Now the Andes slopes are a different story. The lower valleys are very dry, and next to the River Maranon, cactus is the prominent life. The peaks are bare of trees and look like grassland, but are in reality covered with small flowering bushes, which are adapted to the nightly freeze at those altitudes.
There is a rainy season in Amazonas from November to April, and a drier season from May to October. Clouds come and go quickly, so in the ceja you need a rain poncho at all times to protect you from droplets in the mist, even in the "dry season". Surprisingly the night temperatures drop below freezing on the tops of the cordillera, but even there the day temperature is absolutely perfect.