When coming on an Amazon Jungle tour - specifically a river cruise - it is essential to be prepared for the natural phenomena you will experience there.
The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest and spans 9 different countries in South America: Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guinea ... and of course, Brazil. Here therefore are some useful pointers:
Weather/Temperature: Low: 70F / High: 115F.
NB. There are very occasional cold snaps in the Amazon, caused by southerly winds, when temperatures can descend to nearly 32F / 0C.
Water: It is advised not to drink tap water in the Amazon region. Amazon lodges provide unlimited boiled, filtered water for their guests. Moreover, bottled water is readily available on the boats and in the jungle lodges.
The river waters, away from cities, are not polluted, in spite of their sometimes dark color, and are perfect for bathing.
Piranhas: Related to sexuality and power in Amerindian mythology, the piranhas can be attracted by the smell of blood in the water of certain regions. However, there is no history of incidents caused by these fish.
20 species can be found in the Amazon. Some are edible!
Mosquitoes: These, and other insects, are an ever-present in the jungle, although their numbers vary according to region, season and climate. For example, only a few mosquitoes can be found in the regions close to Manaus, due to the acidity of the Negro River water, which makes reproduction difficult.
On the cruise boats, rooms and open areas are often screened. If necessary, a mosquito net is provided over the beds. Even so, repellents and long sleeves and pants are recommended.
Snakes: There are many species of snakes in the Amazon, poisonous and non-poisonous, but in tourist areas, the visitors are safely guided. These animals are rarely seen. They are afraid of man and will attack only if they feel threatened.
Remember: It is a real treat and privilege to see a snake in the wild!
Photography: The region of the equatorial forest - hot and humid - can be harmful to photographic material. It should be stored with silica-gel to avoid fungus growth on the lenses. A portion of rice in a cloth bag can be used to protect against humidity during long trips.
It is to be noted that when photographing wildlife, automatically-focussing cameras can take a moment to set the photo, in which time the creature in question has moved! Rainforest Cruises suggests that the camera you bring with you on your Amazon River cruise has a multiple shot function (eg Canon D70 or similar).
Remember to bring plenty of spare batteries and memory, as electricity supplies may not be reliable, and there is always something to photograph!
Personal Gear Recommendations: Although the climate is generally hot and humid all year round, it can be surprisingly cool at night, on the river.
Most of the time, passengers will find themselves wearing light clothes such as shorts or bathing suit, and sandals, but for the hikes in the forest they should also have a long sleeved shirt; long pants; a light, waterproof coat; good, supportive footwear, such as lightweight hiking boots; a small flashlight; binoculars; and personal effects.
So, here is a list of what to bring:
- Light raincoat
- Sun block
- Insect repellent
- Long sleeve shirts
- Footwear: sandals & sneakers / lightweight hiking boots
- Pants and shorts
- Personal medicines
- Flashlight (head lamp ideal)