The Amazon ranks as the world’s largest tropical forest, extending into nine countries across South America. Sustained by the mighty Amazon River, this enormous rain forest attracts tourists with its incredible biodiversity and natural beauty. Despite all the enchantment, travel to the Amazon can be complicated due to its size and overgrown landscape.
The Amazon has a humid, tropical climate all year, but there are varying degrees of precipitation during different seasons. The dry season in the Amazon lasts from June to December, featuring hot temperatures and lower water levels in the region’s rivers and lakes. This period offers ideal conditions for hiking. The rainy season spans January to May. Torrential downpours blanket the jungle, creating wetlands out of flooded rivers. Fodor’s recommends this as the best time to see wildlife on boat tours. Keep in mind that the Amazon has high amounts of precipitation throughout the year. Pack rain gear no matter when you go.
Tour companies offer services ranging from multi-night riverboat cruises to extended stays at eco-lodges. Cruises allow travelers to see more of the region while gliding along the water. Some vessels are primitive, while others have luxury amenities. As for eco-lodges, these remote hotels usually feature rustic accommodations and organized wildlife tours for guests. It also is possible to arrange special expeditions in the Amazon. Most towns and cities in the region have travel agencies that operate custom trips such as kayaking, tree canopy zip lines, wildlife viewing and trekking
Ecotourism is the primary draw for foreigners visiting the Amazon. Ecotourists are interested in learning about the environment as well as the locals that inhabit it. Emphasis is placed on sustaining the ecosystem and indigenous communities while protecting natural resources and educating visitors. Tourists expecting lavish accommodations and modern amenities will likely be disappointed, as will those who expect to experience amazing wildlife encounters every second. Understanding the limits of tourism in the Amazon will help you set realistic expectations as you plan your trip.
The Amazon boasts countless attractions, but several areas stand out. The Brazilian city of Manaus lies near many eco-lodges as well as the famous “Meeting of the Waters.” This natural phenomenon features the collision of muddy waters from the Rio Negro and lighter shades of the Rio Solimões, flowing side by side for a couple of miles before dissolving into one uniform color. The Brazilian town of Belém is also a major hub, known for its Basílica de Nossa Senhora de Nazaré. Other countries also offer highlights, most notably Peru, which has the second largest percentage of Amazonian landmass. The Peruvian city of Iquitos serves as a base for excursions to regional attractions like Manu National Park and the Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone, both of which feature exotic wildlife and top notch eco-lodges.