Amazon Rainforest Tours, Cruises and Lodges FAQ’s

The Amazon Rainforest is ⅔ the size of Brazil or the continental US. However the Rainforest is also shared by other countries as well. It stretches into the Guyanas, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
No - There are different areas with different flora and fauna. The main difference is caused by the altitude. Most of the Brazilian part is at sea-level or only slightly above it, whereas in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, the rainforest sits on higher ground. The higher, the less dense the fauna is. Therefore, for example, if you are interested in birding, you would prefer the Peruvian Rainforest, as, due to the fauna being less dense, it is easier to spot birds. The Peruvian Amazon also offers some of the most luxurious river cruise ships such as the Aria.

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.

All Amazon lodges and cruises offer jungle walks guided by local professionals to get to know the vegetation. Discover the importance of medicinal plants, spot vibrant macaws and parrots, and learn to identify the calls of rare animals. While listening to the sounds of the animals in the jungle is a common experience, actually spotting the fauna can be difficult. Travelers may consider the Pantanal wetlands for wildlife spotting, as it less dense than the Amazon.

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 stew!

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.

In general, the Amazon Jungle is not dangerous for travelers! Animals in the Amazon are not aggressive, as there is plenty of food available. Even the aforementioned "alligator" is a "caiman," the peaceful cousin of the crocodiles you have heard about from Australia and the Florida Everglades.

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.

Contrary to belief, the Amazon Rainforest is not the best place to see fauna, as the vegetation is mostly too dense. It is Pantanal Nature Tours that you're in search for if wildlife is what most interest you. The Pantanal, just south of the Amazon, is an open wet savannah the size of Texas or France, making it much more ideal for animal viewing.
Typically, you would stay at a lodge or cruise along the river. It depends on what kind of experience interests the traveler(s).

The advantage 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 Amazonian locals.

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 Peru.

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.

One advantage of taking an Amazon cruise is that you travel to many different locations within the Amazon. Relax as the vessel cruises to a myriad of areas, each with their own unique and varying vegetation and fauna.

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.

As space is at a premium, cabins on boats tend to be tight. In contrast, lodges are accessible any time, especially those lodges nearer to Manaus (in Brazil) or close to Puerto Maldonado (Peru). Lodges are the ideal option if your travel plans do not allow you enough flexibility to go on a cruise. Also, lodges come for a greater variety of budgets.
It is difficult to say one time is the best time to visit the Amazon. The Amazon tends always to be hot, humid, and always cools down quite a bit at night, due to its location far from the oceans. During the months with less rain, the region remains hot and humid.

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.