Languages in the Amazon
Amazon Language Info
With over 300 indigenous tribes, you can understand why there is more than one language spoken in the Amazon. About 70 out of the 300 tribes have not contacted the outside world, and there is a total of fewer than 200,000 people living in the rainforest. The primary languages of the Amazon are Portuguese, Spanish, and English but multilingualism was (and still is) common among Amazonian Indians. Many Amazonians value the linguistic diversity of the region.
In Brazil, which hosts 60% of the Amazon Rainforest speaks Portuguese, while other parts speak Spanish. In many Amazon locales, indigenous Amazonia languages are also spoken. With the many different languages found in the Amazon, you will be relieved to know that English is spoken in some hotels and tourist destinations. All of our tour guides are English-speaking, and other languages are available upon request.
Although your tour guide will be able to speak English, it’s always a good idea to learn some of the basic phrases of the local language. We recommend learning some basic Portuguese or Spanish. You can steer clear of the indigenous languages of the various Amazonian tribes. This will help you communicate with the locals when the tour guide isn’t around. The locals will appreciate your effort, and might even be able to teach you a couple of phrases and words!
Learning a few basic Portuguese and Spanish phrases will make it much easier and enjoyable as you travel through South America. We recommend that you take a "Portuguese/Spanish for Travelers" class at your local community center, or with a software program such as Rosetta Stone. There are also many language apps you can download onto your smartphone if you would like something easy and convenient. Many travel guidebooks include brief language sections - study up before you go to familiarize yourself with the language.