Everything you need to know before visiting the Amazon

I am pretty sure there are plenty of places around the world that will let you be speechless in their presence, but the Amazon Rainforest is a whole different beast. Indeed the Amazon Rainforest is the largest rainforest on earth, spanning a distance of around 5 million square kilometers, and this alone puts it on many people’s bucket lists.

How does the Amazon Basin cover around 40 percent of South America? The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the rainforest, followed by Peru with 13%, Colombia with 10%, and with minor amounts in other countries such as Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador.

There are plenty of other reasons why you should visit it. If you are considering doing this anytime soon, you should read the following travel guide for the Amazon Rainforest.

Not only does the Amazon represent half of the Earth’s remaining rainforest, but it is also known for its unmatched biodiversity. The rainforest is home to at least 40,000 plant species as well as several thousand species of birds and fishes, hundreds of species of mammals and reptiles, and almost 2,5 million species of insects.

All of this can make it quite overwhelming and scary to even think about visiting the Amazon, but as always, that’s why Giorgy aka G-Extreme is here! The Amazon Rainforest is a captivating place and visiting it might change your perspective on the world, so I’ve compiled a list of some of the most important things you need to know so you can start planning an unforgettable trip today! 

G-Extreme’s Ultimate Guide for the Amazon Rainforest

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT?

As I already mentioned, the Amazon extends across more than six countries, this can make it an all-year-round destination.

However, it’s good to understand the weather conditions in the rainforest so you could plan your visit accordingly. Despite its massive size, weather patterns in the Amazon don’t change much from season to season and they’re characterized by rain, humidity, and heat.

The rainforest has two distinct seasons: low water season and high water season. The low water season is from July to December and it’s known for lower rivers, better trail access, and less precipitation. The low water season is also the peak season so make sure to make your bookings in advance!

On the other hand, if you feel adventurous the high water season is awaiting you! From May to early June you could encounter higher rivers, slightly cooler temperature, intermittent daily showers which can be occasionally pretty heavy as well as better river access. Fewer people around which means lower prices too and you don’t have to stress out about accommodation options!

No matter when you decide to go, it’s always good to be flexible because heavy rains could always affect your itinerary! 

HOW TO GET TO THE AMAZON?

The Amazon Rainforest is home to 6 countries although the most prominent in Brazil, there are different ways to get to the Amazon Rainforest.

  • Peru: If you’re planning on visiting the Peruvian Amazon, you can fly into Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado, Lima, or Cusco.
  • Brazil: You can also fly into Manaus in northern Brazil if you’re after the Brazilian Amazon.
  • Ecuador: Another option is to take a bus from Quito into Tena City (five hours) where you can hop in a pickup truck.
  • Bolivia: Or, if you’re eager to explore the Bolivian Amazon, fly from La Paz to Rurrenabaque (around 45 minutes) and then ride a motorboat upriver to Madidi.
  • Colombia: Another way is to fly into the Colombian Amazon through Leticia, from there you can actually reach Brazil by foot, or Peru by boat! You can then join an Amazon tour from any of these places and explore the wonderful forests.

Hey Goofball! Check this following link out to find out more flights deal for Amazon!

WHAT TO DO IN THE AMAZON?

You can probably guess that there are tons of activities to do in the Amazon because of how huge and diverse it is! It’s the perfect place for the adventure of a lifetime. I’ve listed some of my top recommendations for you:

#1. Jungle Walk

What is it?
Jungle walking is a marvelous way to see the Amazon’s unique wildlife and learn about the different species of plants, especially medicinal ones that have been used for decades!

Why do it?
On the ground look out for anaconda snakes, tarantulas, poison dart frogs, rubber trees, and pineapple flowers. 
If you look up, you might catch a three-toed sloth or squirrel monkeys jumping through the rainforest canopy. Keep your binoculars on hand and stay alert because it’s difficult to predict what animals or birds you will see!

#2. Swim With Pink River Dolphins

What is it?
Pink River Dolphins are rare and unique to the Amazon. Great places to see these extraordinary mammals would be Pacaya Samiria National Reserve and the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve.

Why do it?
They are very curious animals so they often approach swimming or canoeing tourists to see what they’re doing in their homes. Like I said these dolphins are unique to the Amazon, so there are a lot of interesting traditional stories about them which you can find out about during your tour! 

#3. Learn about traditional medicinal plants

What is it?
Learning about the different medicinal plants used by shamans and indigenous communities is another rewarding and fascinating experience to have.

Why do it?
It’s estimated that almost a quarter of Western medicine is derived from plants and materials found in the Amazon Rainforest. A lot of effective and widely used treatments have been found there such as Brazilian Ginseng (Suma) which is widely used as an energy supplement and immune system booster. Great places to enjoy this activity are Tahuayo Lodge and Posadas Amazonas Lodge.

#4. Meet Local Communities

What is it?
The Amazon is not only unbelievably biodiverse, but it’s also culturally diverse. To experience your trip to the fullest, you should meet the local communities of the Amazon and learn about life in the jungle.

Why do it?
These visits can include various cultural activities such as talking to locals, taking a tour of their villages, participating in tea ceremonies, or learning the art of face paintings. You will also have the chance to taste delicious local cuisine as well as purchase some handcrafts.

This will be an eye-opening experience as you will learn about how these communities survive in the forest and the traditions that have been passed on through the generations. 

#5. Canoe or kayak the Amazon’s waterways

What is it?
This is a great way to have an adventure and connect with Amazon’s waterways. Sometimes it’s also the only way to explore the rainforest if the area is flooded.

Why do it?
Whether you’re a novice or experienced paddler, your guide will help you enjoy a safe and remarkable experience while observing the special flora and fauna of the rainforest. These activities often take place in the early morning which is also an ideal time for bird-watching! 

Other additional activities you can do

From camping in the middle of the Amazon’s forest; swimming in the Amazon river; Canopy Bridge Walking or Ziplining… the Rainforest offers any type of travelers something!

WHAT TO PACK?

The Amazon is not your typical travel destination, so you must pack carefully and mindfully. Some stuff is good to leave home, others are mandatory for anyone.

Here are a few essential items to pack for your trip: 

  • Backpack: Aim for quality not quantity and you don’t need a lot of things either so have something that is easy to manage. Packing cubes could help you a lot with the organization by saving a lot of space in your luggage. Using A thing of getting a small daypack with you for carrying the essentials around without taking the whole suitcase with you all the time.
  • Dry-Fit Clothing: Packing dry-fit, loose or airy clothes is going to make it so much easier to fight the Amazon’s humid weather.
  • Long-sleeved shirts and full-length pants: Even though it’s hot in the rainforest, long-sleeved shirts and full-length pants will not only protect you from the sun, but they will also save you from mosquitoes and cool temperatures at night!
  • Hiking boots: A pair of good-quality hiking boots are a necessity because trails can be damp and slippery. It’s recommended to get something breathable so your feet don’t get too hot. Since it’s rainforest it’s recommended a pair of sandals that you wouldn’t mind getting wet.
  • Light windbreaker jacket: It can rain any time in the Amazon, so carrying a lightweight waterproof jacket is a must if you don’t want to be soaked during your hikes!
  • Wide-brimmed sun hat: This is another item that will protect you from the sun. It’s recommended to get one with back flaps so it can protect your neck as well!
  • First Aid kit: Although your guide will most probably be carrying a kit for your group, it’s good to have a small one of your own for cuts, blisters, and any other circumstances. It should include things like sunburn salve such as aloe vera gel, aspirin or other pain killer, Antibiotics for travelers’ diarrhea (TD), band-aids, and hydrocortisone cream. DO NOT forget to get insurance while you are traveling, you never know what the future holds for you!
  • Insect repellant with DEET: The only way to protect yourself from mosquitoes and bugs in the humid rainforest is to use an insect repellent high in DEET.
  • Sunblock of at least 15 SPF: The sun is very strong in the Amazon so it’s important to get a good quality sunscreen. It’s also recommended to get one that’s waterproof as the humidity will make you sweaty and it can rain any time.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Water is important, bring a reusable bottle with you which you can fill from wherever you are;
  • Additional important items:
    Camera and waterproof case – you don’t want to miss taking lots and lots of pictures!
    Malaria tablets – carry Malarone pills with you on the Amazon. Mosquitoes carry serious illnesses.
    Confirmation of yellow fever vaccination: Even people won’t check your vaccinations card, it’s recommended to have the yellow fever vaccination if you are visiting areas such as the Amazon and the Lost City.
    Anti-bacterial soap, toilettes, or gel
    Swiss army knife
    Flashlight or headlamps

RESPECT THE AMAZON RESPONSIBLY

  1. Take in, take back approach with your rubbish while exploring the jungle;
  2. Respect the wildlife, do not do them what you would not do to you ~ especially keep an eye on the poisonous species;
  3. Get an accommodation that invests money back into the local community;
  4. Reusable Water Bottle is the key to go around, helping reduce plastic pollution;
  5. Respect and follow local’s guidelines and rules.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Language: Depending on which part of Amazon you visit, unfortunately, English is not widely spoken in any part of it. So I recommend you learn some basic Portuguese or Spanish phrases in order to be able to get around! Of course, you can always use the help of a digital translator ready to support you in this adventure.

Currency

  • Brazil is the Real (BRL) – 1 USD is equivalent to 3.84 BRL;
  • Peru’ is the Solana (SOL) – 1 USD is equivalent to 3.99 SOL;
  • Ecuador uses USD. It could happen they still use sucres coins which have the same value as the USD;
  • Bolivia is the Boliviano (BOB) – 1 USD is equivalent to 3.99 BOB;
  • Colombia is the Colombian Peso (COP) – 1 USD is equivalent to 3’710.34.

ATMs & Credit Cards: ATMs & credit cards are NOT common in any part of Amazon. Be sure to get enough cash before heading to the Rainforest.

Plugs: Do not bother bringing plugs, you won’t encounter an adapter in the middle of the jungle. Think of taking a power bank in case your electronic stuff runs out of battery.

The Amazon Rainforest is a fascinating place to visit, it’s the perfect place to tap into your roots, explore a diverse culture and wildlife, and connect with the earth.

Ready to experience Amazon for yourself? Because I really hope this blog post inspires you to start planning for your trip to this magical rainforest! 

If this guide was not enough, I wrote my thoughts of my personal experience over there. Hope this gives you the final answers for booking that trip!

 

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