Amazon Cruise or Jungle Lodge?
What is the better Amazon tour experience: an Amazon River cruise or a jungle lodge?
Rainforest Cruises is often asked this question by our customers, and it is quite difficult to answer. In this post, we make an honest attempt at tackling the supreme Amazon tour question.
Determining whether an Amazon cruise is better than a lodge is really a matter of opinion, much like deciding whether to cruise in high or low water season, it depends heavily on the kind of experience the traveler is looking for. Below, we will compare and contrast the advantages of choosing one Amazon tour style over the other.
Location in the Amazon Rainforest
Lodges are typically defined by their locations: the remoter the lodge the better. The remoteness of a destination is generally associated with the quality of the wildlife experience. Lodges located near national parks or within large private reserves have advantages over lodges located in areas without protection. As years pass, populations grow, and deforestation slowly eats away at the forests, older lodges may find themselves in a small patch of fragmented forest, with greatly reduced biodiversity, and therefore a lower-quality ecotourism experience. Some lodges are located in areas with incredible diversity and density of wildlife, and when that is the case, the experience is unrivaled. When choosing a lodge always investigate the location.
River cruises, on the other hand, have the distinct advantage of mobility. Amazon riverboats are designed with very shallow drafts, which means that they can access shallow, narrow tributaries, follow wildlife migrations, and adjust to uncooperative weather better than lodges can. For example, the recent record high water levels in the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon left a number of lower-lying lodges in need of refurbishment, after rivers burst their banks and water entered buildings.
In general, cruising will allow for greater areas of the Amazon to be discovered, including different types of ecosystems. Each night you will sleep in a different area, and experience a different sunset.
Contact with the Amazon's Flora and Fauna
Staying in a lodge puts travelers in close contact with the natural environment, exploring one area in greater depth, and spending one's time surrounded by the sights and sounds of Amazon jungle.
Because you sleep in the forest, in rustic accommodations, you feel the presence of the ecosystem all around you. At night, sleeping under your mosquito net, you hear and feel the sounds of the natural world. The rainforest comes alive at night, and by staying in a lodge, you begin to join the natural cycle of sleeping at dusk and rising at dawn.
Aboard your Amazon cruise boat, you will still enjoy great experiences with nature during your excursions which happen several times each day, but at the end of the evening, you will return to your comfortable cabin to sleep. You are sure to sleep well with the air conditioning or fan running, comfortably wrapped in fresh sheets. You can rest without concerns of pesky insects, some quite large and intimidating.
Amazon cruises have limited departures and availability, and so it is not always possible to find the itinerary that fits your vacation time frame. In this case, an Amazon lodge is an excellent alternative. One advantage in working with Rainforest Cruises, however, is that we have a large portfolio of boats so can usually find a great boat with a departure date that works; if not, then a great lodge in a great location works!
In the end, whether aboard an Amazon River cruise or in a Jungle lodge, the best experience is had by travelers with open-minds and enthusiasm. Amazon travel, and especially wildlife observation, depends a lot on patience and luck. Traveling with a group of like-minded individuals generally makes a tremendous difference. Travel prepared, be open to sudden changes in your plans, and let the journey develop organically and you will undoubtedly have the experience of a lifetime.
To view our Treehouse Lodge package, look here.
To browse around our Amazon river cruises, click here.