Travelling in… The Amazon Rainforest

Since travel is an ever-increasingly popular experience — for young and old — I thought, why limit our travel content to places I’ve personally been? And base it purely around the food? This article will hopefully be the first of many, exploring the possibilities for travel experiences all over the world.


Credit: “Anna and Michal”

We thought we would start with a slightly unorthodox destination, that nevertheless offers a number of opportunities and experiences for travellers.

The Amazon Rainforest.

The Amazon River is the second-longest in the world; sprawling across three South American countries. The Rainforest is no different, crossing over Brazilian, Peruvian and Colombian borders. Any and all are home to some Amazonian experience resorts.

Credit: Ron Santiago

If you’re an adventurer and/or a wildlife enthusiast, then the Amazon Rainforest will be a trip well worth taking. It is reported that 10% of the world’s flora and fauna live in the rainforest. If that wasn’t enough, there are more species of fish in the River Amazon than in the Atlantic Ocean.

In short, it presents a chance to see some of the most exotic and beautiful creatures in the world from poison arrow frogs to anacondas.

ACCOMMODATION

RAINFOREST LODGES

Believe it or not, it’s not a case of pitching a tent in the most habitable-looking spot and making do. There are actual ways to enjoy a relaxing, adventurous, even luxurious vacation in the Amazon Rainforest.

Lodges in Peru
Credit: Ivan Mlinaric

Most commonly, tourists can rent lodges as accommodation. Tours will be operated from these lodges of the surrounding Amazon Jungle, wherein a tour guide will introduce travellers to the rainforest and its eclectic and exotic wildlife.

This would be recommended to tourists who want to get the full experience and see the “real” Amazon rainforest. For example, the Tahuayo Lodge in Iquitos, Peru actually hosts a research centre for the Amazon alongside offering such tours. Some may like to observe poison dart frogs or a variety of monkeys, while the daredevils of the party will just want a go on the zipline.

ACCOMMODATION AND ACTIVITIES – RIVER CRUISES

The element of luxury is definitely not lost on the Amazon Rainforest, as some travellers will be pleased to hear. The tourism managers of the world have used the vast Amazon River to their advantage and offer luxury river cruises from a number of points across the Jungle. These include the aforementioned Iquitos in Peru and Manaus in Brazil.

Naturally the luxurious elements and exploring facilities differ from cruise to cruise. For example, the Delfin I Cruise starting out from Iquitos offers all the pampering one would expect on a cruise liner from P&O or Royal Caribbean. The deluxe suites, the cocktails, the massages and so forth.

But all that aside, they provide ways to get real up close and personal with the Amazon Rainforest. Skiffs and kayaks offer you the closest views to some of the most weird and wonderful wildlife, sometimes by way of national parks like the Pacaya Samiria.

On the other hand, travellers can enjoy river cruising on a somewhat more rustic basis. Like those offered by Tucano. An Amazon Cruise like this travels around Amazonian Brazil and, in offering tourists walks and boat trips, they offer up a marvellous view of some of the most colourful creatures on the planet.

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Being taken on guided tours down estuaries and tributaries along the vast Amazon River and exploring the deep wilderness of the Jungle. These barely scratch the surface of what can be expected from a trip to the Amazon. The list below will give some ideas of how to experience the Amazon Rainforest and River to their full potential.

SWIMMING WITH PINK DOLPHINS

A pink dolphin in the Peruvian Amazon River Credit: Allen Sheffield

No, that’s neither a typo nor the imagination talking. Pink Dolphins, or Amazon River Dolphins, are native to the parts on which river cruises and lodges operate business. The dolphins gain a pink colour in adulthood, hence their name. They are not so unlike their sea-dwelling relatives.

It may not quite be Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida, but there’s an undeniable temptation about the chance to swim with these intelligent creatures.

 

ANACONDA SPOTTING

Credit: “Suedehead”

For those not in the know, Anacondas are the largest species of snake in the world. This particularly applies to the Green Anaconda, which has been known to grow to 29 feet and exceed 550lb in weight. A true monster of a reptile. And they dwell in the Amazon Rainforest. To give a little more purpose to a trip through the Amazon Jungle, some tour operators will take travellers on specific Anaconda Spotting excursions.

Given their colouring and the fact they often travel beneath the water, this will pose a challenge to some tourists. But if anyone does spot one – don’t miss out on the photo or selfie opportunity!

VISIT A SHAMAN

Those interested in other cultures may find opportunities like this unexpected and exciting. It is actually not all that uncommon for tourism companies in the Amazon to negotiate visits with shamans and forest dwellers.

Experiences like this are as much education as they are entertainment and excitement. A shaman will teach travellers about the spirit world, as well as many medicinal plants. Tourists have very often gone back to their lodge or riverboat with new remedies for mosquito bites, along with a number of more serious problems and illnesses.

JUNGLE SURVIVAL EXPERIENCES

Channelling their inner Bear Grylls is on the bucket list of many a die-hard adventurer. These people will be in luck if they choose a vacation in the Amazon. There are some tourism companies that offer Survival Experiences in the Amazon Jungle. Adventurers can strip themselves of all the luxury available if they should so desire and do it the most hardcore way.

That’s something for the wives to think about, sipping a cocktail on a luxury river cruise boat, while their husbands enjoy foraging in the wilderness.

The only thing they will have to hand is a guide, for health and safety purposes, of course. Camp will be made up from what the jungle offers. Dinner will be made up from what the jungle offers. As mentioned, they won’t be totally unsupervised, but best have some travel insurance lined up just in case. The Amazon Rainforest is an unpredictable place, after all.

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