The Brazilian Amazon Rainforest offers travelers a wide range of lodges and cruises. Embark on a large cruise ship such as Hurtigruten or Iberostar, or a small, intimate cruise such as the Tucano. The Ecuadorian Amazon boasts Yasuni National Park, home to millions of species of plants, birds, insects and mammals.
Piranha fishing is also very
popular, but not for the meat. The piranha fish is known to be so
nervous that not much meat survives. However, it makes for a great
Local guides can also take you to different areas where other animal species can be seen, such as the pink river dolphins or macaws. Alligator (jacare) spotting at night is one of the most fascinating activities.
Your guide will always make you aware of toxic plants or spiders. Most guides are from the local communities, knowing well the healing properties of the plants that surround you. The one element to be aware of is Malaria: there is no vaccination, rather prophylaxis you take before traveling to the Amazon and stop taking as soon as you depart.
of a lodge is that your stay in the Amazon Rainforest can
begin at any time, whereas cruises have set departure dates. While
cruises offer plenty of departure dates, it can be challenging to
be on a strict schedule. On the other hand, the advantage of a
river cruise is that you see a vast extent of the rainforest, with
different animals and vegetation, without needing to turn back
after each excursion. Cruises also tend to include a stop at local
communities where you can experience and learn about the lives of
Whether you experience the Amazon on a cruise ship or nestled in a lodge, you're sure to have a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
The logistics and the available airports determine the best
Amazon destination. In Peru, Puerto Maldonado is just a 30 minute
flight from Cuzco. An excellent place for birding with a variety
of lodges. Iquitos, to the north on the Amazon river, is the
launching point for many cruises
In Brazil, Manaus
is the destination from which you can reach all kinds of lodges
and all (literally, all) Amazon cruises. Brazil's
Alta Floresta is close to the excellent Cristalino lodge and
is easily reachable from the Pantanal, offering potential contact
to many animals.
Note: beware of mosquitoes. In Brazil, the Rio Negro, which meets the Solimoes River near Manaus to form the actual Amazon River, has slightly acidic waters, a fact that repels mosquitoes. For that reason, most lodges and generally all cruises in Brazil's Amazon Rainforest cruise along the Rio Negro.
There are two types of cruises available: the traditional, authentic experience with local guides and excellent comfort, operated by environmentalists. Alternatively, there are luxury boats run by international hotel chains that offer luxury, though making it more difficult to gain an authentic feel of the area.
It's best to speak with a Travel Consultant to find out what are the best times to travel to the Amazon for you! Most people prefer the period between the rainy and dry seasons. The rainy season can be very interesting and actually pleasant, as it rains intensely once per day, around mid-day, cooling the area significantly.