Tours of the Amazon Rainforest: Best destinations
Looking for tours of the Amazon Rainforest? Stretching across an area of more than 6.7 million square kilometres, the Amazon rainforest is the single largest remaining rainforest of its kind on earth! Situated in South America, the Amazon can be accessed in 9 different countries. Therefore, knowing where the best tours of the Amazon Rainforest are can help narrow down your travel plans! Whether you’re looking to get in touch with nature, learn more about indigenous communities or see some rather unique animal species, a trip to the Amazon is worthy of your bucket list.
Of course, we can’t mention the Amazon without recognising its importance. Home to at least 10% of the earth’s biodiversity, its protection is crucial to maintain a healthy planet. Over the last decades, a sizeable chunk of the Amazon’s canopy has disappeared, potentially contributing to the climate change crisis. Therefore, being able to visit the Amazon rainforest in a sustainable way is of utmost importance! You know the saying: “Take only photos, leave only footprints”!
Ready for an Amazon adventure? Here are our top destinations for tours of the Amazon rainforest:
Home to the largest part of the Amazon rainforest, Brazil is the ideal destination to experience the natural beauty of this ecosystem. Furthermore, it’s best for Amazon river cruises due to the width of the river in this area. Tours of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil usually begin from the city of Manaus. The capital of the Amazonas region and the gateway to the rainforest, it’s the final frontier of civilization before your journey into the dense Amazon jungle! On the other hand, if you’re only looking for a brief introduction to the forest, you can stay in Manaus and take day trips to discover the rich ecosystem.
More popular, though, are multi-day stays in Amazon lodges. To reach these lodges, a boat trip on the Amazon River and its tributaries is required. Once settled in the jungle, popular activities include wildlife walks, canoe trips and indigenous community visits. The Brazilian Amazon also offers the chance to witness the ‘Meeting of the Waters’. This natural phenomenon is the result of the meeting of two rivers: the River Solimões and the River Negro. The distinct colours of the different rivers create an eye-catching sight! If you want to see the best wildlife, a general rule of thumb is the further you venture from Manaus, the more exotic and unique wildlife you can encounter.
Much smaller than the Brazilian Amazon, the rainforests of Peru are equally as alluring. In fact, Peru is the birthplace of the Amazon River. To enter the Amazon rainforest in Peru, visitors must travel to either Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado. The largest inland port accessible only by air or river, Iquitos is in northern Peru. On the other hand, Puerto Maldonado is in the south of the country, not too far from Cuzco and Lake Titicaca. Manu is another option, and is ideal for those who want explore the Pacaya-Samiria National Park, known for its flooded forests! For cruises on the Amazon River, Iquitos is the best choice. But Puerto Maldonado is more easily accessible and therefore the most popular destination for tours of the Amazon rainforest.
East of the Andean Highlands, tours of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador are another option. The gateway to the Ecuadorian Amazon is the city of Tena, around a 5-hour drive from Quito. Alternatively, the city of El Coca is another option, further north and on the shores of the Napo River. Whilst many travel to Ecuador to visit the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon rainforest here holds just as much allure for wildlife lovers. The biodiversity is simply incredible, with more than 300 species of mammal, 800 species of fish and 350 species of reptile found in this part of the Amazon. The jewel in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest is the Yasuni National Park. Home to two indigenous tribes and an abundance of flora and fauna, if you head deep enough into this reserve you’ll encounter nature in its purest form!
Whilst Colombia is not the best-known Amazon rainforest destination, its lack of tourism makes for some pretty pristine environments. If you prefer to get off the beaten track and challenge yourself, then a tour of the Amazon rainforest in Colombia could be for you! The traditional starting point for such adventures is the triple border city of Leticia, in the deep south of Colombia. Perched on the edge of the Amazon River, from here you have multiple directions in which to choose from. Take a river cruise, head into the untouched rainforests of the Amacayacu Natural National Park or use Leticia as your base and take day trips into the surrounding forests. Alternatively, the Guaviare region offers amazing cultural treasures while Putumayo and Caqueta are ideal for rafting and waterfall hikes.
Last but not least, another destination for tours of the Amazon rainforest is Bolivia. From the capital city of La Paz, a short 45-minute flight takes you to the Amazon gateway town of Rurrenabaque. A less known route than its Peruvian or Brazilian counterparts, visiting the Amazon jungle in Bolivia is a cheaper alternative, but no less of an incredible adventure! From here, you can choose whether to explore the pampas wetlands or head into the depths of the jungle. Although you may see more wildlife on a pampas tour, you’ll miss out on the experience of staying in the depths of the Amazon rainforest.
What do I need to know about tours of the Amazon Rainforest?
Best time to visit the Amazon
Whether you’re headed for a classic Brazil tour or an off-the-beaten-track Colombian adventure, remember that the climate in the Amazon rainforest will always be hot and humid. The wet season is roughly between December/January and May/June. It might be more of a challenge to spot wildlife during these months. The rest of the year is considered the dry season. This is great for wildlife spotting, but the river levels are lower and temperatures can get pretty hot.
Typical activities in the Amazon
So you’re in the Amazon rainforest. Now what? Well, some of the typical activities offered by rainforest lodges and tour operators might include: night walks through the jungle, canoe trips, visits to indigenous communities, medicinal plant tours, kayaking trips, piranha fishing excursions and nature walks.
Essential items to bring on a tour of the Amazon rainforest
You’re going to be far from modern civilization, so stock up on these must-haves before you leave the city: insect repellent, long trousers, hiking boots, sunscreen, mosquito-repellent clothing/hats, binoculars, walking shoes or boots, head torch.
Respect the ecosystem
Remember that this pristine rainforest is important to all of us, no matter where we live in the world. Therefore, be careful to respect the ecosystem and take all rubbish and personal items back with you when you leave. Furthermore, avoid getting too close to any wildlife you encounter. Don’t touch any wild animals, and be wary of venomous or dangerous species. After all, you’re the visitors and this is their kingdom!
Discover our latest trips to the Amazon on our official website and start planning your next big adventure today:
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