From Lima  the closest shot of jungle warmth is Chanchamayo, an area that includes the towns of San Ramón and La Merced  on the Río Chanchamayo. The paved highway has shortened the drive from Lima to 5–7 hours.
There are lots of interesting things to see and do around Chanchamayo, including 100-meter waterfalls in the nearby Perené Valley , virgin forest with colossal cedars in the Zona Reservada Pampa Hermosa , and visitor-friendly Asháninka villages . There are Class III–IV rafting rivers, great mountain biking, and a bizarre Austrian-German colony  from the mid-19th century, where villagers still speak German and hold onto their Tyrolean customs.
Via a network of roads and rivers, truly wild jungle on the Río Tambo can be reached in a day or two. The best time to visit is during the dry months April–October.
The Franciscans who came here in 1635 had to leave after Spaniards entered the area looking for gold and were slaughtered by local Indians. Bby 1750 a few plantations in the valley were growing sugar cane, cocoa, coffee, and coca leaves. But the settlers were massacred during the indigenous rebellion led by Juan Santos Atahualpa, a local and legendary Indian hero, raised by the Jesuits, who claimed kinship with Inca Atahualpa.
Colonists entered the area for good after 1850 when a rough road from Tarma  down into the valley was constructed. The area today is famous for its tropical fruits, avocado, rocoto, and high-octane coffee.