No trip to South America is complete without taking in the unique sights and sounds of the Amazon Rainforest. Spanning across eight countries and covering more than 1.4 billion acres of land, the Amazon rainforest comprises half of the world remaining tropical rainforest.
A journey into the Amazon is like a journey back in time where animals abound and lost tribes can be found. You will hear and potentially see a wide variety of exotic animals in their natural habitats, swim in rock pool full of crystal clear water and hike through pristine rainforests With the Amazon under increasing threat from deforestation, now is the time to visit as one of the largest rainforests in the world might one day be no more.
What You Need to Know:
- Make sure the travel company that you are going into the jungle with are eco conscious and not harming the environment.
- Tour operators who feed animals or pick up wildlife are not practicing sustainable tourism and you should avoid these kinds of tours. It is not good for the wildlife and is not an authentic experience.
- With the boom in black market animal poaching and smuggling in South America, you want to make sure that you send a clear message that animals should be kept in the wild and free by choosing a tour operator who does not interact with the animals.
- Going on a tour into the Amazon is a lottery, you might not spot any Red Howler Monkeys in the wild, but you might hear them calling to one another which is magical in itself.
Also make sure that you have read up on the vaccinations you might need for certain countries. Some parts of the Amazon fall into the Yellow Fever zone and you will need to have the vaccination and record with you to exit and enter other countries.
What to Pack:
The mosquitoes and sand flies are ruthless and you will want to be prepared or you will be in for an uncomfortable time. If you think you have been covered in mosquito bites before then be prepared to have your previous assumptions dashed. Make sure to take something with DEET in it (although check first that the place you are staying will let you use DEET products as it can be harmfull to animals).
You will be trekking and you want to protect your legs. You also want to have a double layer of protection from the a fore mentioned bugs. It will also help protect you from brushing up against a plant that might cause a rash or hives.
Clothes with Breathable Materials
It is hot and humid so leave the polyester at home.
The sun can be ruthless in this part of the world so sun protection is a must. Take a hat and sun screen and wear long sleeved clothing. The sun has the ability to damage your skin and lead to premature aging and no girl wants that right?
A Journal/Camera/Sketch Book
The Amazon is such a beautiful part of the world teeming with wildlife and exotic plants. You will want to record your thoughts and memories from this magical place so make sure you take a camera. You may also find the quiet and solitude opens up creativity so a journal or sketch book is handy to take along too.
A Dry Bag
The weather can be hot and humid one minute and rainy the next. All of this rain and humidity means that things can be wet easily. Add in a few potential boat journeys and you get the picture. To ensure that any valuables such as cameras or journals are kept dry and safe take a dry bag with you.
For night walks and observations or if you are staying somewhere that does not have electricity then this will be your savior.
If you have your period whilst in the Amazon then you will need to be prepared. Depending on where you are staying amenities might be basic. Make sure you take enough tampons or pads and if there is no where to deposit them safely then you might need to put them into a plastic bag and take them back out with you to the next big town.
How To Go There:
Visiting the Amazon can be done in a number of ways through a number of different countries.
- The two main ways are through a licensed tour operator or guide.
- There are plenty of eco lodges offering the chance to stay among the jungle.
- There are also boats that you jump onto to cruise your way down river and gaze at the forest as you pass.
- If you want to stay longer and get more of an up close and personal look at the conservation efforts in the Amazon why not consider volunteering?
- There are plenty of volunteering options ranging from short two week placements to six months or more.
So what are you waiting for? On your next trip to South America make sure you include a visit to the Amazon.