| Amazon Tours
Amazon tours are one of the most intriguing travel choices on earth. The Amazon Rainforest spans an area of over 2 million square miles across nine different countries. As the largest tropical rainforest in the world, the Amazon is not only a mind-boggling sight to behold, but it also performs an essential task by acting as a giant lung. Surely, you’re aware of how plants work but, in brief, they suck the carbon out of the air and replace it with oxygen, allowing us mere humans to breathe easy. No-one should get through life without having had the opportunity to admire and appreciate this natural phenomenon in the flesh. However, it is essential to do your research before you cruise the Amazon river to make sure your trip is eco-friendly and won’t leave too much of a footprint on this spectacular region.
Amazon Rainforest Wildlife
Before you start planning your vacation in the Amazon, it is always good to know what to expect during your Amazon tour. We have, therefore, composed a few notes as to what kind of wildlife you may see on your journey. We’ve also included a few animals that you’re less likely to see, but would be incredibly lucky to witness. So charge up your camera and grab a notebook so you can keep a record of all the natural wonders you lay eyes on.
Perhaps one of the most bizarre animals you will come across touring the Amazon is the capybara, which looks like an oversized guinea pig and can be found lounging around in the wetlands. Explore further and you’re sure to see one of the Amazon’s cutest animals – the sloth. Equally adorable are the various monkeys and tamarins and marmosets –particularly the pigmy Marmoset! With regards to creatures that are amazing to see, but rare and better to keep some distance from, jaguars are known to prowl through the Amazon and anacondas, the most powerful snake in the world, have also been spotted. Look to the skies and you’ll catch a glimpse of the brightly coloured Macaws and maybe even a Harpy eagle.
With around 2000 different species of birds and animals, it would be impossible to be prepared for everything but that, in a way, is what makes an Amazon tour so exciting and mysterious. As you tour through its balmy enclaves you’re guaranteed to see animals you never knew existed, along with creatures you’ve only ever witnessed behind the bars of a zoo. Speaking of which, the Amazon is anything but a zoo. Here, creatures are designed NOT to be seen to do bring patience along with a strong pair of binoculars. Here, the wildlife is free to do as it pleases so blend in with nature, stay quiet and be respectful and enjoy the most breathtaking show on earth.
Countries Sharing the Amazon Basin
As previously mentioned, the Amazon spans nine different countries but not in equal measure. While Venezuela, Colombia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana all see small parts of the rainforest; the real big hitters are Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. So, when planning your Amazon tour, be sure to make one of these major countries your base. Don’t worry, we’ve gone into more detail about the how and where below.
1. Brazilian Amazon Tours
If you are planning to visit the Amazon from Brazil, you will need to base yourself in Manaus, the city that is considered the very heart of the Amazon Rainforest. From Manaus, you will be able to travel along the Rio Negro until it meets the Amazon River and watch the phenomenon known as ‘meeting of the waters’ where the brown Amazon meets the black Rio Negro. Their waters move in parallel several miles, without their waters mixing. It is truly a sight to behold. You will also be able to visit the Archipelago of Anavilhanas, plenty of other rivers and tributaries and may have the chance to meet an authentic Brazilian tribe and learn about their culture and customs - should they be willing to receive visitors.
2. Peruvian Amazon Tours
Starting from Iquitos, touring through the Amazon with Peru as your base is a spectacular experience that will stay with you in your memory until your dying day. The best way to see this part of the Amazon is to cruise along the forest’s backwaters, keeping your eyes peeled for beautiful pink or gray river dolphins. At certain points along the way, you will be able to disembark and walk along one of the Peruvian Amazon canopy walkways – a feat that will reward you with a breathtaking view from above the treetops.
3. Ecuadorean Amazon Tours
Ecuador is not usually the first country that comes to mind when it comes to cruising the Amazon, which is truly a blessing as it is far less crowded than some of the other base countries. Tours that leave from Ecuador will explore the Napo River system, one of the Amazon’s major tributaries as well as the protected areas of the Yasuni National Park and the Cuyabeno Reserve. Spot plenty of wildlife as you discover some of the most beautiful parts of the Amazon and learn all about the mystical substance known as Coca.
4. Bolivian Amazon Tours
Situated roughly a thousand kilometres from the Amazon River, Amazon tours from Bolivia show visitors a completely different side of this magnificent rainforest. Instead of following the usual trail, this tour takes its explorers to parts of the Amazon that are much less developed and, therefore, potentially more authentic. You will be able to stop in at Trinidad, a bustling tropical city just a few degrees from the equator and visit the curious Moxos Plains.
Now you know what’s in store for you from each country, take your time and carefully decide which nation will provide the kind of amazon tour you want to do. If you want to see the Amazon the way you’ve seen online and in films, Brazil and Peru are the better options. If you would rather do something a bit different and see things you won’t be able to find so easily on Google images, consider starting from Bolivia or Ecuador.
Why Cruise the Amazon?
An Amazon river cruise is by far the most popular way of exploring the Amazon, and with good reason. An Amazon cruise is a far cry from the ocean liners that take tourists through the Caribbean, or the quaint boats that sail along the Rhine in Europe. The Amazon cruise experience could (depending on the vessel) be most rustic water-based adventure you are ever going to have. It could also be one of the most luxurious river cruises you have done. At any rate, the trip opens up a world of new experiences and the chance to see things that you would never have the chance to otherwise. While it might seem more intrepid to venture through the Amazon on foot, believe us when we say you will see a whole lot more and cover a much greater distance if you decide to float.
If you need a bit more persuading, one of the best things about being on a boat is that you will have an expert guide with you the whole time. This means that any questions you have about the animals you have seen will be knowledgeably answered. A guide will also have a trained eye for spotting wildlife, and will point things out that you wouldn’t have thought the human eye was capable of seeing. A boat tour is also a much less intrusive way of seeing the Amazon. You don’t need to worry about stepping on small animals and you won’t be disturbing any creatures hiding away in the trees.
Exploring the Amazon by Foot
Naturally, some people can’t stand being on the water and would much rather keep their feet on terra firma. If this is the case for you then don’t panic, there are plenty of land-bound options available in the Amazon. It is important to be aware, however, that it is pretty much impossible to explore the Amazon on foot without a guide. The thick swathes of vegetation are beautiful, but certainly not conducive to easy navigating and getting lost in the heart of darkness is a seriously bad idea.
Book yourself onto a guided tour or hiking trip to make the most of your time in the Amazon. As with the boat option, having a tour guide with you is invaluable as he or she will be able to impart their wealth of knowledge as you make your way through the rainforest. Many tours go for multiple days, with participants camping throughout the night. If you’re looking for something a bit more up-market, there is also the option of glamping (glamour camping), where you will be able to stay in luxury tents or treehouse lodge, and enjoy gourmet meals with a side of champagne.
When to Visit the Amazon
There are arguments for going in both the dry season and the rainy season and we will provide you with both so that you can make an informed decision about which time of the year will suit you and your needs best. Of course, if you don’t have the luxury of choosing what time of the year you head off, rest assured that the Amazon is amazing at any give time of the year, regardless of the weather. Also remember that you are visiting a rainforest and that you will probably encounter heavy rain even if you do choose to visit in the dry season.
The rainy season, or flooded season as it is also known, runs roughly from December through to April and is, believe it or not, much wetter than the rest of the year. It is also somewhat cooler with temperatures dropping around 12 degrees Fahrenheit. The main benefit of traveling during this time is that virtually every single river, stream and tributary in the entire Amazon is navigable thanks to its heightened water level. This opens up much more of the rainforest, and means you will be able to see far more.
Furthermore, because the water is roughly 7 metres higher, you are much closer to the canopy of the forest and the monkeys that swing through its branches. The downside of traveling during this time, however, is that there is a much more limited scope for hiking and exploring the Amazon on foot. It is also very wet and the heavy rain can hamper your ability to see certain animals.
The dry season is in full swing from June until December, with temperatures reaching up to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. As mentioned, just because this is the dry season does not exempt it from regular heavy rain, it’s just less than in the rainy season.
The main advantage of doing your Amazon tour at this time is that the vast majority of hiking and walking trails should be dry enough to use. This means that you will have much more opportunity to explore the Amazon on foot, albeit with a land-based tour or through cruise excursions when the boat docks. Of course, the flip side of this is that a large number of the rivers are too dry and are therefore inaccessible. A bonus of the dry season though is that it is much easier to spot snakes and lizards, so if you’re a big reptile fan, book your trip with this in mind. Birds and mammals may also be more visible as they would make their way to the riverbanks in search of food and drinking water.
With so much to see and do, a trip to the Amazon will never disappoint but before you run off and start planning your trip it’s important to bear in mind some of the more serious stuff. In 2012, roughly 150 acres of rainforest were being lost to deforestation every minute and to date around 20% of the entire rainforest has been destroyed. This is a hideous and alarming fact not just for the animals that call the Amazon their home, but also for us as humans who depend on the rainforest for clean air. Visiting the Amazon is an experience of a lifetime but make sure you do so in a sustainable way. The last thing you want is to come away from your trip with the burden of knowing that you have been in someway responsible for the destruction of this natural wonder. Of course, the majority of decent tour companies are well aware of the state of the rainforest and are doing everything in their power to leave as small a carbon footprint as possible, thus promoting sustainable, eco-tourism. Now you know the facts, get booking!
For more information about booking Amazon Tours, please contact us or call 1-888-215-3555.