The towering rainforests and myriad, mighty rivers of the Amazon spread across nine countries and thousands of indigenous territories. Its extraordinary size, biodiversity, and ecological production sustain our planet’s health and make it a fascinating place to explore. From spotting blue frogs and languid sloths in the rainforest canopy to kayaking by a floating forest, innumerable strange and wonderful adventures await in the Amazon.
The Amazon forest makes up a large part of northern South America. The most common gateways to the forest are Manaus, Santarem, and Belem, Brazil; Iquitos, Peru; and Coca, Ecuador.
What to Do
wildlife viewing, hiking, backpacking, camping, canopy tours, ziplining, biking, kayaking, canoeing, river cruising, paddleboarding, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving
When to Go
You can visit any time of year. If you want to hike, go in the dry season (July–December) for the best trail conditions. During the rainy season (January–June), the weather is mild, and you have a better chance of spotting animals. Amazon weather is, of course, quite wet, but it rarely rains for more than an hour or two per day.
Take a guided boat trip along the most famous part of the Amazon’s 4,000 miles, the Meeting of the Waters near the Brazilian port city of Manaus, where the the sandy colored waters of the Rio Solimões meet the black waters of the Rio Negro. As well as creating a striking landscape, it is also a favorite spot of the pink river dolphin, which can frequently be seen from your boat.
Visit one of the many indigenous villages peppered throughout the Amazon and learn about their fascinating cultures. For instance, in the Bora community, you can see the ceremonial lodge, called the Maloca, and witness dancers in traditional bark-cloth clothing perform a stick-thumping dance. Or listen to the music of the Dessana tribe and buy beautiful handicrafts created by their artisans.
The suspended canopy walkway at Explorama Lodges rises 115 feet into the jungle and extends for one-third of a mile between 14 of the area's largest rainforest trees. One of the longest canopy walkways in the world, it provides mind-blowing views of the forest and opportunities for seeing bright macaws, treetop reptiles, delicate orchids, and tons of other wildlife.
Located in southeastern Peru, Manú National Park is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, protecting diverse ecosystems such as lowland rainforests, cloud forests, and Andean grasslands. This park is home to an unrivaled variety of animal and plant species, including giant otters, jaguars, macaws, toucans, and water lilies. You can camp right in the park, hike the trails, and enjoy the viewing points and tower.
Deep within the Brazilian rainforest, you’ll find the Land of Waterfalls, or Terra de Cachoeiras. The Cachoeira de Iracema Waterfall is a stunning cascade surrounded by lush forest greenery. The shallow waters at its base are a great place to swim, and you can sit directly in the cascading water if the flow is not too strong. After cooling off in the falls, check out the nearby sandstone caves.
Get away from the crowds and venture into the furthest reaches of the Amazon on a multi-day kayak trip through Yasuni National Park in Ecuador. Paddle through the flooded forests along with manatees and arapaimas, by sections of floating forest, and across mirror-smooth lakes, led by a team of naturalist and aboriginal guides. At night, you’ll stay in a jungle ecolodge that provides a hot shower and prepared meals.Read More...
Around a quarter of the pharmaceuticals commonly used in the Western world derive from medicinal plants found in the Amazon rainforest. Indigenous people have used these plants for thousands of years. You can take a tour with a biologist and shaman to learn about the botanical wonders of the Amazon.
Surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, Ecuador’s Sinchi Warmi jungle lodge immerses you in the natural sights and sounds of the Amazon, including the traditional culture of the indigenous Kichwa tribe. The lodge is run entirely by indigenous Kichwa women who prepare local food and teach Kichwa dream-sharing traditions.
The Amazon rainforest is hot and humid, but shorts might not be your best bet. Water-resistant, quick-drying, breathable long-sleeve shirts and long pants will protect you from mosquitoes and the strong sun.
You can surf the Amazon on an infinite wave. Between the months of February and March, a natural phenomenon called a tidal bore, known in the region as Pororoca, allows surfers to experience the truly rare challenge of surfing a river wave that can last for hours and travels miles upriver.
Gigantic water lilies, the Victoria amazonica, grace the calmer waters of the Amazon. These plants are amazing in so many ways. They can grow up to six inches per day and reach up to seven feet in diameter. The floating leaves are strong enough to support a human. The flowers bloom at night and change from white female flowers to pink male flowers.Read More...
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