The Amazon River begins in northern Peru, travels passed Colombia and through Brazil before flowing into the Atlantic Ocean. One of the most important things to note when choosing the best time for your Amazon River cruise is that all these areas are located in the tropics, near the equator, which means the climate is hot, there are no seasons (aside from a high and low water season), and that because we are in the rainforest, humidity and rain are all part of the experience. Here we present some information for helping you decide when the best time is for your Amazon River Cruise.
Amazon Rainforest Temperature
With the lack of distinguishable seasons, the difference in daytime and night-time temperature is higher than between months. The average nightly temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius), and so you may want to take a few warm clothes for night times.
Amazon Rainforest Rains
The rain is what allows this lush and highly diverse forest to support an incredibly rich amount of life. Even in the dry season, heavy rain is to be expected and a typical year in the Amazon experiences around 200 rainy days. But no matter if you’re in the high water or low water season, rain rarely falls all day.
When it does rain, it often starts in the late afternoon as water has been evaporating and accumulating in the clouds since morning. This usually clears the following day allowing for another morning & afternoon of wildlife watching. Sometimes the rain will fall during the day, but is often in short bursts and cruises simply delay activities until it clears. If you get caught out on expedition during the rain, the cruise operators provide reliable ponchos to keep you dry and engaged with Nature. But it’s always best to take your own just in case.
Graphic To Show Best Month To Visit The Amazon near Iquitos, Peru
Amazon River Water Level
Temperature doesn’t change much between months, but the intensity and frequency of rain does change, and so does the water level of the Amazon River. Although the rain contributes, the Amazon’s water level is determined by snow melt from the Andes where the Amazon River begins. It’s the water level that will have the most influence on your Amazon River cruise, and often determines where in the Amazon you can go on your guided expeditions to find forest life.
High water often means the opening of more waterways and more opportunities to get deeper into Amazonia. The wet season is when the forest fruits and flowers, so this is a fantastic time to see animals feeding, flowers blooming and trees fruiting. No matter when or where you go, wildlife sightings often depend on luck, your guide’s knowledge of where to find the animals, and if you can access the best places, rather than being directly related to time of year.
High Water Season in the Pacaya Samiria
One of your first choices for an Amazon Cruise should be the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve and here the cruises recommend visiting in high water season. The Pacaya Samiria is located in the Amazon Rainforest of northern Peru, accessed from the city of Iquitos, and is one of the most attractive protected areas in the Amazon Rainforest. The Pacaya is also visited by the best luxury Amazon River cruises in South America. These luxury cruises have chosen the Pacaya of all the Amazon Rainforest to compliment the reserve’s outstanding scenery and wildlife with premium luxury service.
High water season in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve is from November through to May with a temperature of around 86 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 12 degrees cooler than the dry season.
High water is when the waterways open up giving more freedom to cruise operators to take you to the best places. Every river, stream and lake is now accessible as the water is about 20 feet higher than the dry season, which means you are also closer to the canopy where the majority of the action takes place.
Because trails are now above water, we can explore deeper rainforest on foot. Also, because there are fewer water puddles, there won’t be as many mosquitoes to bother us on our adventure. The trade-off is that many lakes and waterways are now inaccessible by skiff, so we won’t be able to get as far into the rainforest for exploration. Over the dry season, you will see many migratory bird species flying over the rainforest, which you won’t see during other months. However, the wetter season is also home to certain animals more likely to be seen over these months, such as more fascinating amphibians and reptiles.
Climate of Central Amazonia
Because the Amazon Rainforest is so large and the Amazon River so long, the climate changes dependent on where in the Amazon you are. For example, the central Amazon Rainforest around Manaus, Brazil, experiences less wet weather than the forest at the Amazon’s edges. The rainy season is also at a different time of year and instead begins from around mid-December to mid-May.
Temperature is a little cooler here in the dry season, which is from June to December but this doesn’t change by much between months. The average temperature in central Amazonia is in the mid 80s and the night-time low temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
In summary, the best time to experience the rainforest for your Amazon River cruise is when your schedule permits as there are advantages to both seasons. If you would like an example of your experience at a certain time of year, the below video is from our tour aboard the fantastic Delfin II Amazon River Cruise from mid January, which is in the Pacaya’s high water season, and we had a fantastic time on tour.