1. Home
  2. Amazon
  3. Amazon Travel Guide
  4. How To Avoid Mosquito Bites In The Amazon

How To Avoid Mosquito Bites In The Amazon


Many people assume that mosquitoes are a ubiquitous presence in places like the Amazon, and they’d be right as they do thrive in the hot, humid, and densely vegetated environment of the tropical rainforest. But did you know there are significantly fewer mosquitoes around in certain regions of the Amazon, or during certain times of the year?

To ensure the most comfortable experience possible on your trip to the Amazon, it pays to be informed about the relative prevalence of mosquitoes and to read up on the best ways to practice avoidance and to protect yourself when you are exposed.

Mosquito In The Amazon Rainforest

Mosquito In The Amazon Rainforest

Should I Be Worried?

Of all the various types of poisonous spiders, bullet ants, assassin bugs, and Amazonian giant centipedes which can deliver painful and potentially deadly bites, by far the biggest bug risk in the Amazon is posed by the comparatively tiny, harmless-looking, and prevalent mosquito. This is because it can carry diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue chikungunya, and Zika.

But it is important to remember not all mosquitoes in the Amazon are disease carriers – far from it – and even being bitten by one that is infected doesn’t automatically mean you’ll contract the disease. However, when it comes to insect-borne diseases, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so we recommend taking as many of the following precautions as possible to protect yourself.

How To Avoid Mosquitoes Bites

Hut With Net And Chair With View To The Mountains

Hut In The Rio Negro, Brazil

Choose Your Amazon Region Wisely

Many people are surprised to hear that the Rio Negro, the Amazon’s largest tributary, is virtually mosquito-free. This is due to the river’s acidic PH which prevents mosquito larvae from developing on water surfaces. So if you’re particularly concerned about the prospect of encountering hordes of mosquitoes on your Amazon trip, heading to Brazil’s Rio Negro is one option.

In comparison, so-called white water rivers like the Rio Branco in Brazil are veritable havens for them due to their mineral-rich waters. Avoiding zones with a high number of lakes, streams, ponds, and puddles where mosquitoes breed is also sensible, although that is much harder said than done when visiting a rainforest.

Time It Right

Depending on exactly where you are in the Amazon, there’s a chance you won’t notice many mosquitoes during the day. In most places, though, it’s a very different story at night (including dawn and dusk), when most mosquitoes and other insects are at their most active. There are numerous theories as to why this is, ranging from the lower temperatures and decreased exposure to predators, to the higher levels of UV light and calmer weather conditions that aid scent detection.

The specific type of mosquito that carries malaria – the female Anopheles – typically only bites between 9 pm and 5 am. So take special care to cover up during the evenings, as well as for any early morning trips or night walks, and be sure to use a net for sleeping.

Visit In The Dry Season

If you’re keen to avoid the worst of the mosquitoes, then consider heading to the Amazon during the dry season, when mosquito numbers plummet as temperatures rise. Of course, it’s still important to exercise caution during drier months, wearing insect repellent and covering up, but this is one way of ensuring a more comfortable experience.

Whilst the wet season is undeniably a popular time for cruising, there are many advantages to dry season travel as well – and not just fewer mosquitoes. You’ll be able to explore on-foot areas that are otherwise flooded and inaccessible during the rest of the year. It’s also a great opportunity to spot the sorts of wildlife that thrive in low water levels, including piranha, lizards, migratory birds, and caiman.

couple during a jungle walk

Try to avoid exposing too much skin unnecessarily

Mosquito Protection Tips

There are numerous resources available providing excellent advice on avoiding mosquito bites, especially important in the case of malaria prevention. Here are some of our top tips for keeping yourself protected:

  • Insect Repellent: The most effective strategy by far is to invest in some good quality spray (with a high percentage of deet) and then remember to use it regularly throughout the day and especially at times when there are more bugs and mosquitoes around than usual (early morning, evening and night). You may like to consider using other natural repellents such as Manuka Oil, vinegar, Tamanu, citronella, lavender, and even vitamin B, preferably in addition to a deet-based spray. Remember to spray your clothes too as mosquitos can bite through clothing.
  • Cover-Up: Try to avoid exposing too much skin unnecessarily. Opt for trousers, long-sleeve shirts, socks that cover your ankles, and sturdy footwear. Wear a couple of layers or choose thicker fabrics such as cotton to help prevent bites. Loose-fitting clothes will also make it harder for mosquitoes to come into contact with your skin. Failing that you could learn a tip from our ancestors and cake yourself in mud!
  • Treating clothing with permethrin will further help keep the mozzies at bay. Just take care not to use permethrin on your skin. Alternatively, you can buy items that have been pre-treated.
  • Avoid wearing dark-colored clothes: Mosquitoes are attracted to darker colors, so it’s best to keep your wardrobe as light as possible (this will also help with the heat too).
  • Be scent-sible: Mosquitoes are thought to be attracted to strong scents such as perfumes, colognes and other fragrant body products so opt for non-scented deodorants and leave the Dior at home.
  • Take a net: If camping, mosquito nets are a wise option to give you an extra layer of protection. Many lodges have their own netting included, either around beds or on cabin windows. The same goes for cruises. Check with your destination specialist before you go whether you need to take your own.
  • Take Anti-Malarials & Get Your Shots: Make sure you seek professional advice from your local travel doctor to see what shots and medication are required or recommended for the regions you’ll be visiting well in advance of your trip.

No matter how hard you try, then chances are you will get bitten at some point. When you do, treat the affected area with an antiseptic cream. Try your best to avoid scratching as this will only increase swelling and irritation! Bring hydrocortisone cream to help relieve the itching. For more advice on protecting yourself from mosquitoes in the Amazon or if you have any further queries or concerns about other insects prior to heading on your trip, don’t hesitate to contact us.


While Rainforest Cruises aim to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information herein or found by following any link on this site. Rainforest Cruises cannot and will not accept responsibility for any omissions or inaccuracies, or for any consequences arising therefrom, including any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the display or use of this information.

This entry was posted July 21, 2016
As Featured In

DEAL FLASH: Get Free Flights On The Nov 27 Thanksgiving Amazon Cruise Aboard Zafiro