The Amazon Jungle represents the highest level of biodiversity and is one of the most unique and most threatened environments on Earth. It encompassed around 7 million square kilometres and includes territory belonging to nine nations. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the rainforest, followed by Peru with 13%, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
The Amazon Rainforest can most easily be easily visited from Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia & Brazil and where you choose to visit the Amazon Jungle may very much depend on what else you want to see and do in South America.
* If you are taking a trip to the Galapagos Islands then visiting the jungle in Ecuador is a great option. Flights from Quito to Coca, the gateway to the Amazon, are only 1 hour in duration and you have the choice of visiting a jungle lodge or taking a cruise through the Amazon Rainforest.
* If you are taking a trip to Peru to visit highlights such as Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca then visiting the jungle in Peru is a great option. From Lima or Cusco you can be in one of the gateways to the Amazon in less than an hour. The main access points are Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado. Puerto Maldonado has a great selection of Jungle Lodges while Iquitos offers both lodges and Amazon River cruises.
* If visiting Brazil you may then most jungle packages start and end in the city of Manaus. It takes a bit longer to get to Manuas with flights from Rio taking just over 4 hours. As Manuas is a city of over 2 million people we recommend Amazon River Cruising in this region which allows you to get away from the city into the more tranquil and unspoilt regions. Or if you prefer to stay in a jungle lodge we have a few great options but care must be taken to ensure you choose a lodge that is away from the city.
* If spending time in Bolivia then a flights from La Paz to Rurrenabaque is less than an hour and here there are some great lodges and some wonderful rainforest.
As you will see a visit to the Amazon can be included in almost any South America itinerary and it is a unique highlight, not to be missed.
Lodge or Cruise! Which to choose?
This depends on your preference and also your budget.
Generally after arriving at the gateway to the Amazon in the country you are visiting, you will travel by boat either up river or down river to your lodge. The lodges are usually based between 1 and 4 hours from your arrival town. Lodges are available in a range of standards from budget to deluxe and everything in between. A typical package will include accommodation, all meals and all excursions. There is usually 2 to 3 excursions per day and these may include hikes through the rainforest, canoeing in rivers, lakes and flood forest, boating, wildlife viewing, visits to native villages, shamen visits, canopy exploration, swimming, fishing for piranha and more.
Cruises allow you to cover a greater range and offers a very different perspective of the Amazon. While you spend time on the water you will also have the opportunity to go on different excursions such as hiking, canoeing and village visits. This is a peaceful and often very luxurious way to visit the Amazon. Cruises on the Amazon River itself are available in Peru and Brazil. Cruises in Ecuador are on the Napo River which is the largest tributary to the mighty Amazon. More than a third of the world's animal species live in this vast river basin's rainforest. A cruise along this mighty river will introduce you to squirrel-size tamarin monkeys, three-toed sloths, monk saki monkeys, scarlet macaws, Amazon River dolphins, Amazonian manatees, giant otters, anacondas, caimans, bull sharks, piranhas, electric eels, jaguars, and much more.
I want to visit the Amazon, what now?
Talk to one of our South America Travel Specialists. There are a large number of lodges and cruises available and which one to choose will depend very much on your budget, your interests, and where else you pan on travelling in South America. Contact us by phone or email and we can talk you though the various options available.
Find out more about our trips to the Amazon jungle
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