Rainforests in South America – best things to see per country
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Rainforests in South America – best things to see per country

5 min read

Jun 28, 2017


By Margo Lynott

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Last updated on September 25th, 2020 at 09:21 am

Rainforests in South America – best things to see per country

Updated September 24th, 2020

Have you been dreaming about visiting rainforest, but you’re not sure where to go and what to see? The Amazon rainforests in South America are the answer! This large tropical forest area is spread amongst 9 different countries of this continent. Each region offers guests a different, but equally incredible Amazonian experience. Read below to discover the best things to see in the Amazon rainforest in South America. We focus on: Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Bolivia. Then you can plan your dream Amazon Tour . You will see which region of the Amazon is the best fit for you! Oh, and don’t forget to download our Amazon Rainforest Travel Guide! Our guests and travelers swear by it.

1. Rainforests in South America – Brazil

The majority of tropical rainforests in South America is in Brazil, so why not travel here? In the Brazilian Amazon, there is a wide range of activities to choose from and many great things to see. It offers comprehensive options for the jungle experience with both lodges and cruises, ranging from high end to low end. Regarding Brazil Amazon river cruises, you can choose from big cruise ships such as the Hurtigruten or Iberostar. If you’re looking for a more intimate atmosphere, you can choose from smaller experience based cruises like the Tucano. Overall, the Amazon rainforest area in Brazil offers tourists knowledgeable guides and comfortable accommodations.

Best things to see in Brazilian rainforest:  Highlights-of-the-Amazon-Rainforest

  • Pink dolphins
  • Piranha
  • The Rio Negro
  • Caiman
  • Water lilies
  • Uakari monkeys
  • Tarantulas

Recommended tour:

The Amazon rainforest experience can be combined with other Brazil tours if you have more time to enjoy your holidays:

Rio de Janeiro & Amazon Rainforest Tour


2. Rainforests in South America – Peru

One of the most important rainforests in South America is in Peru. The Peruvian Amazon region has many things to see, one being it’s a charming city, Iquitos. Iquitos, is an oasis linked to the outside world by air and river and offers luxurious Amazon river cruises. They might be a bit pricier than other cruises, but the amenities, style, and comfort are definitely worth the extra cost. For a more accessible city, Puerto Maldonado is your best bet, known for both high end and economic lodges.

While there are many Amazon tours & lodges to choose from, we recommend the Tambopata Research Center, located 7 hours from Puerto Maldonaldo. The Tambopata Research Center is an excellent in-depth exploration of authentic jungle experience because of its remote location. Frankly, Peru’s Amazon rainforest welcomes tourists with open arms!

Best things to see in Peruvian rainforest:


  • Macaw and Parrot Clay Licks
  • River Otters
  • Andean Cock of the Rock
  • Lago Sandoval
  • Strangler Fig Trees
  • Northern Jungle Lodges
  • Manu National Park

Recommended Tour:

One of the most popular combinations of our Peru tours is Machu Picchu and the Amazon jungle tour:

Machu Picchu & Amazon Jungle Tour

3. Rainforests in South America – Ecuador

Looking for a cruise that won’t break the bank but still you can see the best of the rainforests in South America? Ecuador’s cruises are not as luxurious as the cruises offered in Peru, but they have deluxe ships that are affordable. And with flights that are exceptionally easy to manage, Ecuador is the perfect sponsor for stress-free travel. If you go to the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest, Coca is a fantastic spot to get a gist of the last real civilization before the Rio Napo transports you deep into the jungle. You will get to the Yasuni National Park beyond the Amazon basin. Lodges in Ecuador are about 2 hours from Coca by speedboat and another 30 minutes by paddle boat. One of the Amazon rainforest cruises we recommend here is Manatee Amazon Explorer.

Best things to see in Ecuadorian rainforest:


  • Indigenous tribes
  • Ceibo trees
  • The Napo River
  • Hummingbirds
  • Colorful butterflies
  • Yasuni National Park

Recommended tour:

One of the highlights of Ecuador Tours is of course the capital city of Quito. You can start your journey there and then continue to a nice lodge in the Amazon:

Ecuador Amazon Rainforest Eco Lodge & Quito Tour

4. Rainforests in South America – Colombia

Colombia is rugged, with fewer accommodations however definitely has things to see as well. With the Amazon Basin covering a third of Colombia’s total area, there is plenty of nature to explore. Most lodging is about 20 minutes outside of Leticia, so the experience is not as authentic. The Colombian Amazon is ideal for people that just want to hang out in nature. For those, who do not want to go deep into the jungle. What might be a more interesting experience, is combining a trip to the city of Leticia with Peruvian Amazon experience. There is regular cruises from Leticia to Iquitos in Peru. This way you can see both Colombian Amazon and Peruvian Amazon! Such a tour can be quite a complete experience of various rainforests in South America.

Best things to see in Colombian rainforest:


  • Diverse plants and species
  • Amacayacú National Park
  • Leticia
  • Mundo Amazónico (a reserve for endangered flora and fauna)
  • The Monkey Island
  • Grey and pink dolphins in Tarapoto Lakes

Recommended tour:

I strongly recommend visiting the Amazon rainforest in Colombia as well as its wetlands area of Los Llanos:

Colombia Amazon Rainforest to Villavicencio 

5. Rainforests in South America – Bolivia

Bolivia’s Amazon is also coarse and not as equipped to handle tourists. Nevertheless, it is 100% on the lost of the highlights and best things to see when it comes to rainforests in South America. There are cheaper options regarding lodging, and this is very authentic as it is rather untouched by tourism and underdeveloped. If you choose Bolivia, make sure to visit the Amazon basin. The Amazon basin is Bolivia’s most fascinating region. You can explore the jungle, learn about indigenous cultures and traditions, and later venture to the high peaks of Rurrenabaque.

Best things to see in Bolivian rainforest:


  • Amazon basin
  • Madidi National Park
  • The Pampas
  • Rurrenabaque
  • San Ignacio de Moxos
  • the pink river dolphins

Recommended tour:

Who says Bolivia does not have Amazon river cruises? It’s one of the best kept secret in South America! And it guarantees you see the best things in the Amazon while enjoying a calm river ride!

Bolivian Amazon River Cruise


Which of these rainforests in South America would you pick for yourself? Ready to book or customise your trip? Call us today! Any of our Expert Travel Consultants would love to help plan your trip.

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Last updated on September 25th, 2020 at 09:21 am

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