The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s largest container of animals, which makes it a great place for a wildlife tour from a number of excellent rainforest lodges and Amazon River cruises. Because the rainforest covers 40% of the continent and is home to a diversity of activity options, we have written the following guide for 100 things to do in the Amazon Rainforest. The guide covers things to do in Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil, which contain the largest fractions of Amazonia. The Amazon gateway towns covered include Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado, Cusco, Manaus and El Coca.
See pink dolphins in the Amazon River
Pink dolphins are one of the favorite animals to see in the Amazon’s waterways. Great places to see dolphins are the protected areas visited on Iquitos Amazon River tours, such as the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve and the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve. A very curious mammal, dolphins often approach swimming or canoeing tourists to investigate your presence in their watery home. As these are such an iconic Amazon animal, they are surrounded by traditional mythology and folklore, which you will be told during your tour.
Find colorful poison dart frogs
Another iconic animal of the Amazon Rainforest, poison dart frogs are fantastic amphibians to find in the rainforest. The frogs are more easily found in Frog Valley in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve near Iquitos on tours from the Tahuayo Lodge. The area was set up to help poison dart frog conservation and it’s fairly easy to find a few different varieities, such as bright yellow striped frogs, bright red frogs, and an orange variety named the uakari poison dart frog. You can also see harlequin toads in the same habitat, which also have a colorful appearance.
See hundreds of colorful macaws at Amazon clay licks
The flying icons of Amazonia, macaw parrots come in a variety of colors and these large and magnificent birds are best seen at clay licks. These are areas on the river where a certain type of clay is exposed, which offers salts and medicines. In addition to providing necessary salts, the licks help neutralize different toxins found in fruits and seeds of the macaw diet and act as Amazonian pharmacies. Great lodges to see macaw clay licks are the Manu Wildlife Center, Heath River Wildlife Center, and the Tambopata Research Center. These are all found in southern Peru, which is an area containing the most and largest clay licks of anywhere in the Amazon Rainforest.
Enjoy zip-lining through the rainforest canopy
Enjoy zipping from one canopy platform to another on the canopy zipline system at the Tahuayo Lodge, which is the longest canopy zipline system in Amazonia. The system is built around different tall emergent trees and the canopy platforms in between are great places to see different birds and to look over the canopy itself. The zipline has been enjoyed by children right through to their grandparents and creates an exciting way to explore the canopy environment. Even on the walk to the canopy towers from the Tahuayo Lodge, you can see different wildlife, such as curious squirrel monkeys that often follow you through the forest.
Treat yourself to a massage or spa treatment
What better place to relax and enjoy a massage or spa treatment than being surrounding by pristine Amazon Rainforest. A range of treatment options are provided on a few different types of tour. You can enjoy spa treatments and massages aboard luxury cruises, such as the Delfin I Cruise or Delfin II Cruise, or even the more affordable The Delfin III Cruise with a massage included with each premium suite booking.
You also have a spa and massage service available at La Selva Lodge & Spa in Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park and at the Refugio Amazonas Lodge in Peru’s Tambopata Reserve. There is also a small spa at the community owned Posada Amazonas Lodge in the rainforest of southern Peru.
Have a go at an Amerindian blowgun
You can enjoy having a try at a long and traditional Amazon tribal blowgun at La Selva Lodge. This is a luxury lodge located in the Yasuni National Park of Ecuador’s wildlife-rich Amazon Rainforest. This part of the Amazon ranks as one of the most biologically diverse Amazonian sections and there are still some tribal groups around the Yasuni National Park that hunt in this traditional manner. Test your accuracy firing the darts at a target, which would traditionally be a small monkey high in the branches.
Watch giant river otters playing and hunting
Giant river otters are another of the Amazon icons and are a large and social otter living in different Amazonian waterways and lakes. The otters can be individually recognized from a white throat-patch and maintain communication with each other using a range of high pitched squeaks. Although a threatened species, you can see the otters in a few different Amazonian oxbow lakes, such as Sandoval Lake from the Sandoval Lake Lodge, on lake tours from the Posada Amazonas Lodge, the Manu Wildlife Center, or Manu Park Wildlife Center on the Manu Adventurer tour.
Not only found in the lakes, you also have a chance to spot these fantastic animals from different rainforest lodges, such as Ecuador’s Napo Wildlife Center or La Selva Lodge & Spa, and even the Tahuayo Lodge in the Peruvian Amazon from the city of Iquitos.
The Sandoval Lake LodgePuerto Maldonado, Peru
Currently, TourTheTropics.com cannot help you book this experience. However, you can visit the tour operator's website for more information.
Tour Amazonian oxbow lakes
Oxbow lakes are a fantastic place to see a range of wildlife. The lakes are shaped like an oxbow or arc because this is where tributaries of the Amazon River once flowed. When the river changed direction it left behind these lakes, which attracted different wildlife and created habitat for a range of lake-side plants. Animals to find in and around the lakes include the giant otters already mentioned, but also arapaima fish, black caiman, hoatzin birds, horned screamers, various frogs, and many different monkeys in the lakeside forests. The areas are also good nesting sites for macaws and are visited by different water birds and toucans. A lodge with a focus on a beautiful oxbow lake is Sandoval Lake Lodge.
Find giant goliath tarantulas
The world’s largest tarantula, the goliath tarantulas are a fantastic spider to find in the rainforest. Seeing these sometimes intimidating spiders free in the rainforest is a great experience and they can be found in certain habitats on the rainforest floor. The goliaths make great photographs to show family and friends of your adventures in the Amazon Rainforest. The spiders are found at night but take a bit of patience and effort to see. In addition to the goliaths, you can find other tarantula species throughout the rainforest. In the Peruvian Amazon, one of the most often found and easily seen species are the Peruvian pink toed tarantulas. These cling to the trunks of trees making them easy to spotlight at night.
Photograph and watch cute pygmy marmosets
The smallest monkey in the New World, pygmy marmosets are a much-loved monkey to find in Amazonia. The monkeys feed on tree sap and can be easily found from a few different lodges, most notably from lodges in the western Amazon Rainforest of Peru and Ecuador. The monkeys can also be found near villages and seem to cope OK with habitat change. The monkeys have an inquisitive nature and as you take photos of our adorable distant cousins, they will often watch you with curiosity. A great lodge to see pygmy marmosets is the Tahuayo Lodge accessed from Iquitos in northern Peru. Some rainforest communities near the lodge also have different trees with resident groups of pygmy marmosets living in the branches.
Have a go at survival training in the Amazon Rainforest
The most adventurous itinerary option offered in the Amazon Rainforest, you can learn some Amazon rainforest survival and head out into the jungle with your highly trained guide. A great lodge offering this activity is the Tahuayo Lodge in the jungle of northern Peru. This is an award-winning lodge and offers survival training over one or two nights to learn how different tribes manage to live in this often hostile environment. Learn how to recognise different water vines, how to make shelter, and how to find food. As this is an adventurous offering, note that lots of visitors feel overwhelmed with the intensity of the Amazon and change their mind halfway through, so it’s handy that the comfortable Tahuayo Lodge is available for your return.
Climb into the rainforest canopy
Rainforest researchers often have to strap themselves to a harness and hoist themselves high into the jungle canopy. This type of research in the canopy environment has rocketed up species estimates for the entire Amazon Rainforest with entire communities of animals living in the trees and never venturing to ground level. You can explore this fascinating part of the forest for a unique perspective on Amazonia by choosing canopy climbing itinerary options. Canopy climbing is offered as an add-on experience from the deep Amazon lodge of the Tambopata Research Center, the fantastic Refugio Amazonas Lodge and the community owned Posada Amazonas Lodge in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest.
Learn about traditional medicinal plants
For a fascinating look at rainforest life, learn about the different medicinal plants used by rainforest shaman and indigenous communities to treat the sick and heal different ailments. It’s estimated that around 40% of all prescription drugs in the United States are of animal, plant, of fungi origin and the Amazon is the world’s largest container of species. Tour the rainforest or cultured medicinal areas in communities to learn how to recognise different medicinal species and what they’re used to treat. Great places to enjoy this activity are the Tahuayo Lodge in Peru, where if you mention your interest, you will be assigned a guide with this specialty, and the community owned Posada Amazonas Lodge.
Relax in your own whirlpool on a luxury Amazon River cruise
One of the best things to do after walks or skiff expeditions exploring the Amazon Rainforest is to enjoy some cool and refreshing water. What better than your own personal cold-water whirlpool aboard the excessively luxurious Delfin I Amazon River Cruise. Fitted with only 4 oversized suites, 2 of the suites comes with the whirlpool making it more like floating through the Amazon Rainforest on a boutique luxury hotel than a ship. Enjoy the whirlpool in your relaxation time after your guided excursions in the rainforest to find a variety of rainforest life, such as colorful birds and several different monkeys.
Enjoy canoeing or kayaking the Amazon’s waterways
Canoeing and kayaking the Amazon Rainforest’s waterways is an adventurous activity giving you an active role in your exploration. This is sometimes the only way to explore the rainforest outside a skiff if the area is sufficiently flooded and it’s quite an experience to paddle between the trees. Enjoy canoeing experiences from the Tahuayo Lodge to explore the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve from Iquitos, Peru. You can also enjoy kayaking from different cruises, such as the luxurious Delfin I or Delfin II in Peru, the Tucano Cruise from Manaus, Brazil, or different Amazon lodges, such as the Tambopata Research Center, Posada Amazonas Lodge, and Refugio Amazonas Lodge in southern Peru.
Take a romantic sunset cruise on an Amazon lake
For a break from wildlife exploration at the Tambopata Research Center in the middle of Peru’s Tambopata National Reserve, you can choose the add-on experience of a sunset romantic cruise complete with wine for you and your special someone. This is one of the deepest lodges in the Amazon Rainforest and to know you’re in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest sipping wine is quite an experience and creates a wonderful memory together.
Night-spot for black caiman in lakes and waterways
Black caiman are an intimidating looking animal in the Amazon and one of the rainforest’s top predators. Black caiman reach about the same size as large crocodiles but are less aggressive. They were almost hunted to extinction for their skins and populations have been recovering slowly since their protection. One of the favourite activities on Amazon River cruises and from Amazon Rainforest lodges is to head out at night to spot different caiman species, including the black caiman. The activity is offered on Amazon River tours from Iquitos in northern Peru, rainforest lodges from Puerto Maldonado in southern Peru, and Amazon Rainforest tours in Ecuador.
Have a go at fishing for piranha
Popularized by movies and horror stories, visitors to the Amazon are often surprised that you can fish for piranha. The fish prefer fast moving water where you can cast off a simple wooden rod and line to catch these hungry fish, but watch out for their teeth. The teeth are so sharp that different indigenous groups in the Amazon Rainforest are known to use piranha as scissors to cut their hair. A great lodge to enjoy fishing for piranha is the Tahuayo Lodge in northern Peru, but different lodges in Ecuador’s Amazon also offer the activity. As an added bonus, you also have the option of taking your catch back to the lodge to taste the fish and it doesn’t get more Amazonian than eating piranha in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest.
Spend a few nights camping under the stars
There are few better experiences in the Amazon Rainforest that provide such an immersive experience of the jungle than camping. Hike during the day through the jungle scouting for a variety of animals and plants then set up camp to enjoy spending a night in the rainforest. Enjoy drifting off to sleep listening to the incredible sounds of Amazonia and you may even hear some fascinating animals just outside your mosquito net. A great lodge for camping experiences is the Tahuayo Lodge to camp in the wildlife-rich Tahuayo Reserve, which started as an Amazon camping company.
Experience a canopy walkway high in the trees
A great way to get a different perspective on the Amazon Rainforest, you can enjoy a walkway high in the trees at the Sacha Lodge in Ecuador’s rainforest. The walkway stretches 940 feet (275 meters) through the Amazon and is supported with different canopy platforms. Enjoy spotting many colorful birds and monkeys making their way through the rainforest. This is a great place to see different birds and the lodge has tallied up 587 species seen so far. This is 37% of all the birds that live in Ecuador.
Enjoy a wildlife-photography course
What better way to improve your photography skills than being led by an award-winning travel photographer through the world’s largest container of animals and plants. Enjoy snapping fantastic images of many different animals, such as howler monkeys, giant river otters, scarlet macaws, hoatzin birds, capybara and leafcutter ants. Choose from a 5 day or 7 day photography tour including photography equipment on a combination experience of the Posada Amazonas, Refugio Amazonas, and Tambopata Research Center in the Amazon Rainforest of Tambopata, southern Peru. Send the lodge a message using their page below for more info.
Walk a 1,000 acre primate trail grid to find different monkeys
Trail grids help researchers map data on different populations and communities to get good ideas on movement patterns. Not only helping researchers, grid systems can also help visitors find the best spots to see different monkeys and as the primates are more familiar with being observed, you have a better chance of watching normal behavior. The Tahuayo Lodge in northern Peru provides tours to their Tahuayo Amazon Research Center on tours of 6 days or more to enjoy their impressive 1000 acre primate research grid. The Tahuayo region contains many different monkeys to see, such as howler monkeys, capuchins, sakis, marmosets, and tamarins. To see some more ideas, you can see our guide to Amazon tours in Peru.
Enjoy gourmet cuisine with fine wine on luxury Amazon River cruises
Offering an incredible dining experience surrounded by near pristine Amazon Rainforest, luxury Amazon cruises really know how to complement this incredible environment. Luxury cruises have better facilities to prepare delicious cuisine and this is certainly true aboard the luxurious Delfin I and Delfin II for cruises into the diverse Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Enjoy traditional Peruvian cuisine, which is often regarded as one of the world’s best, some local Amazon food, and different dishes, juices, and desserts influenced by the surrounding rainforest. Of course, your meals are then accompanied by high class service and your choice of fine wine.
Sit and wait to see tapir (the largest land mammal in Amazonia)
Over 50 different animals have been recorded using clay licks, which are exposed areas of certain clays that provide different salts and medicines. Animals are known to regularly return to the same licks to top up their salts or to neutralise toxins found in their diet. One of the favorite mammals that regularly visits clay licks is South America’s largest land mammal, the tapir. Some lodges have specially made observation platforms for seeing the tapir at their licks, so you can get to see one of the rarely witnessed Amazonian animals. Lodges near tapir clay licks with specially designed hides are the Manu Wildlife Center and the Heath River Wildlife Center accessed from Puerto Maldonado in southern Peru.
The Manu Wildlife CenterPuerto Maldonado, Peru
Currently, TourTheTropics.com cannot help you book this experience. However, you can visit the tour operator's website for more information.
Mountain bike through the jungle near Tambopata
Offered as an adventurous add-on activity, you can mountain bike through the rainforest to give a new way to experience Amazonia. You can enjoy jungle mountain biking from the Tambopata Research Center, Refugio Amazonas Lodge, and the Posada Amazonas Lodge in the southern Peruvian Amazon Rainforest accessible from the sleepy jungle town of Puerto Maldonado.
Visit sustainable Brazil nut concessions
Brazil nut trees are a symbol of ecotourism and sustainable tourism in general, as to reap the rewards of the delicious nuts, you need surrounding rainforest in a healthy condition. The intricate plays that take place to produce Brazil nuts involve the relationship between a Euglossinae bee and a delicately scented orchid. Brazil nuts are sustainably harvested by different communities in the Amazon Rainforest and you can visit one of these Brazil commissions on a tour of the Posada Amazonas Lodge in the Amazon Rainforest accessed from Puerto Maldonado in southern Peru.
Talk to macaw researchers about their work
Macaws are an iconic animal of the Amazon Rainforest and are severely threatened by the pet trade leading to the extinction of some macaws already. Macaws are also threatened by habitat loss and research on bird populations is required to correctly monitor their status in the wild. Both to help conservation of the birds and to simply learn more about these magnificent animals, research is being carried out in the Amazon Rainforest. A great lodge nearby a large macaw clay lick where researchers are studying the birds is the Tambopata Research Center, which is also an award-winning tourist lodge. Enjoy seeing the macaws, hear some talks on parrot research, and talking to macaw researchers about their work.
Visit rainforest markets to buy local crafts
To remember your time in the Amazon Rainforest, you can visit some different markets in the Amazon’s gateways. These gateways include Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado, and Manaus where you can buy locally made craftwork. You can choose some handcrafted items made by communities living deep in the rainforest who then ship their items to the market. Choose from paintings, sculpted wooden animals and more. Be careful not to choose products of animal origin, however, as you will be unintentionally supporting hunting of threatened rainforest animals.
Visit a savannah ecosystem between areas of rainforest
Near the Heath River between the Madidi National Park and the Tambopata National Reserve, in the middle of a 3 million hectare tract of protected tropical forest, you can find a fascinating savanna ecosystem. Camera traps have revealed a population of elegant maned wolves and anteaters. You can also enjoy an observation tower to look over the savanna habitat. On the way there, you will pass a macaw breeding area to see another part of a macaw’s life. The area can be visited on tours from Heath River Wildlife Center where you will enjoy rainforest experiences and seeing a large macaw clay lick.
The Heath River Wildlife CenterPuerto Maldonado, Peru
Currently, TourTheTropics.com cannot help you book this experience. However, you can visit the tour operator's website for more information.
Visit a community-owned Amazon Rainforest lodge
Many tours, cruises and lodges in the rainforest involve local communities in the management of the tour operation. They are employed as guides, managers, cleaners and cooks. To have the most influence on conservation and to maximize benefit for local communities, one of the best things in ecotourism is to have the rainforest lodge owned by the communities themselves. This means the economic benefit of tourists visiting the area goes directly to the communities. If properly managed, profit is then shared out fairly within the group involved. Community owned and operated lodges in the Amazon include the Posada Amazonas Lodge near Puerto Maldonado in Peru, Sani Lodge in Ecuador’s Amazon, and the luxury-class Napo Wildlife Center in Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park.
Look over the rainforest from a canopy tower
Canopy towers provide a platform to look over the rainforest and into the canopy. This is a great place to find many different birds and forest life otherwise hard to spot. The canopy contains a large fraction of all the forest’s life and many animals spend their entire lives high in the trees. This is an especially great place for birdwatchers to scan the environment with a pair of binoculars or a camera with a good amount of zoom. The tallest canopy towers in the Amazon Rainforest belong to the Cristalino Lodge in the Brazilian Amazon, which provides great tours to find many different monkeys, colorful birds and fascinating reptiles. Other lodges with canopy towers include the Napo Wildlife Center and La Selva Lodge in Ecuador and the Posada Amazonas Lodge and Refugio Amazonas Lodge in the rainforest of southern Peru.
Have a go at glamping in the Amazon
If you’re not familiar with glamping, think of it as glamorous camping taking away much of what non-campers don’t enjoy about a camping experience. Instead, you will enjoy comfortable beds and delicious dinners with knife and fork. This means you enjoy the best bits of a camping experience in the Amazon. You can enjoy a fantastic glamping experience on the Manatee Cruise or more luxurious Anakonda Cruise in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador. In addition to the add-on experience of glamping, enjoy guided tours in the rainforest to see many different animals and plants, visits to the Yasuni clay lick to see parrots, and enjoy a canopy tower to see different toucans and colorful birds.
Treat yourself to an exclusive forest bungalow with wildlife tours
If you like the idea of maximizing privacy and comfort while in the Amazon Rainforest, a good option is to stay at an exclusive lodge where you have the entire lodge to yourself. A lodge offering this type of rainforest experience is the Amazon Villa in the buffer zone of Tambopata National Reserve of southern Peru. Enjoy guided tours of the rainforest and different activities, such as jungle mountain biking, canopy climbing, and kayaking. Enjoy romantic meals at the Amazon Villa deep in the rainforest, a hot water bath, and a WiFi connection to share your photos and experiences with friends and family.
See giant water lilies in slow-moving water
The large Amazon water lilies have leaves stretching 3 metres (10 feet) wide with a stalk that can reach down 8 metres (26 ft) to the river bottom. The leaves are so big they are able to support the weight of a small child and make for a remarkable form of plant life to find in Amazonia. To see the giant water lilies, you can choose a cruise into the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve of northern Peru where there are certain areas to find these fascinating plants.
Choose specific bird-watching tours in the Amazon Rainforest
As the most species-rich place on Earth, there’s an incredible amount of birds to find in the Amazon. Small protected areas of rainforest have as many species as entire countries. Enjoy seeing a diversity of birds, including parrots, parakeets, toucans, tanagers, manakins, birds of prey, ant-birds, and lake-living species like hoatzins. You can enjoy some specific birdwatching tours at the Tambopata Research Center, Refugio Amazonas Lodge, and Manu Wildlife Center in Peru and the Sacha Lodge in Ecuador’s Amazon.
Try traditional Amazon Rainforest food
The Amazon area has its own cuisine distinct from the rest of the country. This is often because the temperature and environment is completely different, so new and exotic foods are available to try. For example, in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest you can try ‘juane’, which is a local delicacy made with rice, chicken and an olive, which is all wrapped together in a leaf. Iquitos in Peru is a great place to try this food and aboard the luxury Delfin II Cruise you can even enjoy some cooking classes.
See the meeting of the waters
The meeting of the waters is most famous near Manaus in northern Brazil. This is where the almost black Rio Negro meets with the brown Amazon River to create a spectacular visual effect. The rivers run side by side for 6 km (4 miles) because of the differences in temperature and density creating one of the main attractions in the area. You can visit the meeting of the waters as part of a Tucano Cruise. This takes you on a cruise of the Rio Negro to explore the rainforest. You can also see similar, although less dramatic, meeting of the waters in Peru on Iquitos Amazon River tours.
Have the best chance of seeing harpy eagles
Harpy eagles are one of the world’s largest and most powerful birds of prey. They frequently prey on medium-sized sloths and monkeys and are a spectacular bird to see in the wild. Harpy eagles are very rarely seen but there are places to maximize your chances. Guides have found that the rainforest near the Refugio Amazonas Lodge in the Peruvian Amazon is a preferred nesting area for the eagles and they are regularly seen here, but make sure you ask the lodge about recent sightings. From the Refugio Amazonas, you will enjoy guided tours into the rainforest scouting for rainforest wildlife, a canopy tower, and a range of add-on activities.
Visit a local village to see how people live in the rainforest
One of the great things about visiting new areas is to enjoy seeing how the locals live and learn from different cultures, and it’s no different in the Amazon. There are some great lodges where you can visit different jungle farms, such as at Posada Amazonas Lodge and the Refugio Amazonas Lodge in southern Peru. Enjoy tasting exotic fruit and learning about the way of life. At the Refugio Amazonas Lodge, you can also visit a Brazil nut concession to see how the nuts are harvested. Another great lodge to visit a rainforest village is the Tahuayo Lodge from Iquitos in northern Peru where you can visit a riverside village and rainforest school.
Have a go at stand-up paddleboarding on slow waterways
For another way to experience the Amazon’s waterways, you can have a go at standup paddleboarding on still water. Enjoy paddling on the water listening to the rainforest as you hear different birds and you might see parrots, turtles and caiman. This is an easy activity and is offered at the Refugio Amazonas Lodge and Posada Amazonas Lodge in the rainforest near Tambopata in southern Peru.
Get a traditional temporary rainforest tattoo
Some tribes in the Amazon Rainforest decorate their skin with pigment from fruit of huito and achiote, which is made into a colored paste. You can have a tattoo applied with the paste to see what it’s like . As they last several days, it will give you something to remember your time in the jungle for a short while. The tattoos are offered at the Posada Amazonas Lodge and Refugio Amazonas Lodge in the jungle of southern Peru.
Enjoy boat tours to see different rainforest animals
In addition to rainforest walks, many tours in the Amazon Rainforest will also take you around the Amazon’s waterways on motorized boats or skiffs. This allows you to travel up smaller waterways to see rainforest life, such as different monkeys, tamandua anteaters, sloths, and colorful birds. This is more relaxing way to experience the rainforest and the experience is offered on different cruises, such as the Delfin I and Delfin II from Iquitos and the more affordable luxury cruise, the Amazon Discovery. You can also choose the itinerary option from the Tahuayo Lodge near Iquitos in northern Peru.
Find different rainforest flowers
Flowering plants make up the rainforest’s largest component of biodiversity and there are a few favorite flowers to find, such as the many different orchids, monkey brush, and passion flowers. The Amazon Rainforest blooms in the wet season, which is the best time for seeing the most flowers. To give an idea of the northern Peruvian Amazon Rainforest for the Tahuayo Lodge, the best time to visit to see different flowers is between January and June.
Experience the rainforest with a private guide
A private guide allows you to move at your own pace and concentrate on your own interests. It means you can stop and give attention to different things in the forest and shape the tour around you. Because you aren’t in a group, it also means you will create less noise and increase your chances of spotting more animals and possibly some more elusive species. You can hire a private guide at a number of Amazon Rainforest lodges, such as La Selva Lodge in Ecuador’s Amazon and the Amazon Villa in the buffer zone of Peru’s Tambopata National Reserve. As another option for a deep Amazon lodge, the Tahuayo Lodge in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve of northern Peru offers a private guide and customized itinerary as standard.
Lay on your bed gazing at the rainforest on a luxury cruise
There are some exceptional luxury cruises on the Amazon River and one of the best protected areas for a cruises is the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, which is a beautiful flooded area of rainforest. Some of the best cruises have large floor-to-ceiling or movie-screen windows fitted to the suites for exceptional views into the rainforest. Many guests on cruises mention that their favorite times were simply laying on their very comfortable beds and watching the rainforest pass by. You are likely to even spot different parrots, flowers, and other animals. Some fantastic cruises with luxurious beds and fantastic suite windows include the Delfin I, the Delfin II, the Aria Amazon Cruise, and the The Delfin III Cruise.
Find giant emergent trees on rainforest trails
There are some giant trees to find in the Amazon Rainforest and the larger and emergent species to encounter include the famous Brazil nut trees, mahogany, wimba, lupuna, and ficus. The largest species can reach higher than 70 meters. Great lodges for seeing giant trees include the Tahuayo Lodge in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve, the Tambopata Research Center in the Tambopata National Reserve, and La Selva Lodge in the Yasuni National Park.
Identify different kingfishers as you watch them scout for prey
As you navigate the waterways either on the way to the lodge or scouting the waterways by canoe or motorized boat, you will be amazed by how many kingfishers there are to spot in the Amazon Rainforest. Similar looking species with different patterns and various colors and sizes are to be found. Your guide will happily help you identify the different types and if you’re not familiar with the birds it can be a challenge to tell them apart. The different species you can spot include the Amazon kingfisher, ringed kingfisher, green-and-rufous kingfisher, green kingfisher, and the American pygmy kingfisher. Great lodges to see these birds are the Tahuayo Lodge in northern Peru, and the Tambopata Research Center, Refugio Amazonas Lodge and Posada Amazonas Lodge in southern Peru.
Find three-toed and two-toed sloths hanging high in the trees
Sloths are one of the most common large mammals to find in the rainforest and should be easy to spot as they don’t move very quickly, but they have some excellent camouflage. The only mammal in a symbiotic relationship with algae, the green shine on a three-toed sloth’s fur can make spotting them a challenge. Even when your guide is pointing at the sloth and you’re looking through binoculars, it can still be difficult. You will soon get the hang of it, however, and will be learning how to spot males, females, and juveniles apart. There is also a second species, which is a little rarer. This is the two-toed sloth, which looks completely different and is covered with a golden shaggy fur. A good rainforest lodge to see both species is the Tahuayo Lodge in northern Peru.
Enjoy tours from deep rainforest lodges to see the most animals and plants
To get the best wildlife experience in the Amazon Rainforest from a rainforest lodge, you should aim for a lodge located deep in the Amazon Rainforest and preferably within or with easy access to a protected area. The farther you are within a protected area, the wildlife is less likely to have been disturbed by hunting, development, and habitat loss. Deep lodges for the best wildlife viewing include La Selva Lodge and Napo Wildlife Center for the Yasuni National Park in Ecuador, the Tahuayo Lodge for the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve in northern Peru, the Cristalino Lodge in the Brazilian Amazon, the Tambopata Research Center and Heath River Wildlife Center for the Tambopata National reserve in Peru, and the Manu Wildlife Center for the rainforest surrounding Manu National Park in Peru.
The Manu Wildlife CenterPuerto Maldonado, Peru
Treat yourself to your own luxurious floating apartment on a luxury cruise
For a step beyond luxury, you can choose to enjoy your own apartment-style suite aboard the Delfin I Luxury Cruise, which includes only 4 oversized suites on the whole vessel. Alternatively, aboard the Aria Amazon Cruise you can connect two suites and have them styled as bedroom and lounge area for the epitome of comfort as you cruise deep into the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Both of these luxurious river cruises begin and end in Iquitos, northern Peru, and take you on spectacular tours of the Amazon Rainforest and it’s wildlife.
The Aria AmazonIquitos, Peru
Lay back and observe the Milky Way in stunning detail
Free of all types of pollution, the crisp and clean air above the Amazon Rainforest provides unobstructed views of the Milky Way. Stargazing is therefore one of the favorite activities when you’re relaxing back at your comfortable Amazon lodge or aboard your Amazon Rainforest cruise. Top rainforest tours to enjoy stargazing are the Delfin I with its very comfortable soft sofas on the observation deck and La Selva Lodge, a luxurious rainforest lodge and spa in the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest.
Visit the best areas to see strange looking hoatzin birds and horned screamers
Hoatzins are a fascinating lake-living bird that digests vegetation by fermentation in a similar way to cows. When the young birds hatch, they are born with a claw to help them climb their way through the foliage. Another fascinating bird is the horned screamer, which has a long ornament from the bird’s crown giving the bird its name. Both the hoatzins and horned screamers can be found in the Amazon’s lakes. Lodges to see these birds include the Tahuayo Lodge, Posada Amazonas Lodge, and the Refugio Amazonas Lodge in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest.
Enjoy night excursions looking for a new variety of animals
Night walks are a fascinating activity offered by most lodges. Aboard cruises, you will have an opportunity of a night skiff excursion. The objective is to find nocturnal animals, which differ a lot from the animals you will see of a day. Spotlight for different caiman crocodiles, see night monkeys, spot bats flying over the rainforest, see owls, tarantulas, and tree frogs clinging to the leaves. Great lodges and cruises offering night excursions are the Tahuayo Lodge, Refugio Amazonas Lodge, luxury Delfin II Cruise, Napo Wildlife Center and La Selva Lodge.
Have the highest chance of spotting jaguar sunning themselves by the river
Jaguar are the most sought after wildlife-sighting among nature lovers and regular tourists alike. The cats are the dominant land predator in the Amazon and reached mythical status among many native groups. The cats are rarely seen because of their low number, keen senses, and ability to disappear into the forest but there are places to maximize your chances. For the best chance of a jaguar sighting, head to deep Amazon Rainforest lodges and we recommend the rainforest of southern Peru near the Manu National Park and Tambopata National Reserve. Visitors to lodges in these areas seem to see a higher number of jaguar than elsewhere, which is possibly linked to the area having the highest concentration of clay licks and less development. Great lodges to visit include the Tambopata Research Center, Heath River Wildlife Center, and the Manu Wildlife Center, which reports that 10% of all guests see wild jaguar.
See capybara, monkeys and peccary visiting clay licks
Not only visited by many colorful parrots, such as near the lodges of Manu Wildlife Center, Heath River Wildlife Center, and Tambopata Research Center, certain clay licks are also visited by various small mammals. Worldwide, over 50 different animals are known to visit clay licks to get much needed salts. In the Amazon there are different licks regularly visited by certain mammals, such as howler monkeys, peccaries, capybara, and more. A couple of great lodges for seeing these small-mammal clay licks are the Posada Amazonas Lodge and the Refugio Amazonas Lodge in the Amazon rainforest near Puerto Maldonado, Peru.
Watch toucans duelling in the branches
With their stereotypical appearance and long bills, toucans are one of the favorite birds to see in the rainforest. The toucan’s bill is thought to help the birds regulate temperature, but it also helps with foraging for food and males use their bills in ritualistic duelling competitions. You can see different aracari toucans and other species throughout the rainforest and great places to get a better look can be lodges with canopy towers, such as the Refugio Amazonas Lodge and Posada Amazonas Lodge in southern Peru. Other good options are lodges near lakes, such as Sandoval Lake Lodge or the deep Amazon Rainforest lodges of Manu Wildlife Center, Tahuayo Lodge, and the Sacha Lodge with it’s tall canopy walkway.
Find different snakes in the rainforest
Among nature lovers, snakes are another great animal to find in the Amazon Rainforest. There are many varieties to see with a diversity of colors, sizes, and patterns. In this part of you world, boas replace pythons as the dominant constrictor and you can find emerald tree boas, rainbow boas, and and famous anaconda. Other species to find include coral snakes, lance heads, and tree snakes. Deep Amazon Rainforest lodges are the best choice for seeing a diversity of snakes and we recommend lodges near lakes and waterways. We recommend lodges or tours in or near protected Amazon Rainforest, such as the Tahuayo Lodge, Manu Adventurer tour, and the Refugio Amazonas Lodge. For this activity, it’s better to have a private guide and custom itinerary, such as at the Tahuayo Lodge, but you can also ask for private service at some other lodges.
Watch colorful butterflies flying through the trees
Butterflies are often regarded as honorary vertebrates and attract a similar amount of interest and attention as various birds and larger animals. Seeing beautiful butterflies flying over the waterways or flying through the forest adds something extra to this incredible environment. There are many varieties to spot on your rainforest experience with the most famous being the large, lightning-blue blue-morphos. The other favorites are the red and orange heliconias, the sulfur butterflies and kite swallowtails. While on the Amazon’s waterways, you may even capture great shots of these butterflies drinking the tears of turtles and caiman for salt. You can see butterflies on all Amazon Rainforest tours.
Enjoy swimming in the Amazon’s tributaries
A great option to cool off after your wildlife walks in the hot and humid rainforest, there are certain areas where you can enjoy cooling off in the water. Remember to take your swimming stuff as even if you think you won’t be in the mood, the water can be very inviting. Many different tours are in areas where you can enjoy swimming if the mood takes you, such as the Tahuayo Lodge, Sacha Lodge or even aboard cruises like the Delfin II.
Visit the Amazon on a short 1 or 2 night add-on tour
Many visitors to South America are drawn by the famous attractions, such as Machu Picchu in Peru or the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. While in South America, visitors also wish to see the Amazon Rainforest as this is one of the world’s most famous forests. Great options for an add-on experience are the short 1 or 2 night tours, which need to be to areas with high levels of wildlife and close to the base town to maximize your experience. The best options for a short Amazon Rainforest tour are the jungle tours from Puerto Maldonado, such as the Sandoval Lake Lodge or Posada Amazonas Lodge.
The Sandoval Lake LodgePuerto Maldonado, Peru
Visit two Amazon lodges on the same tour
Different parts of the Amazon Rainforest are better for seeing different animals. Dotted around the Amazon Rainforest are various beautiful oxbow lakes, fantastic tributaries, large clay licks for macaws, clay licks for tapir, and clay licks for small mammals. There are sections of the Amazon where researchers are studying animals on trail grids, areas for conservation set up to protect poison dart frogs, and places preferred for adventurous activities.
The best way to make the most of the adventure to see a variety of animals, habitats, clay licks, and lakes is to visit two or more rainforest lodges on one trip. This requires tours of a week or more, but some combination experiences include the Tapir & Macaws tour to combine cloud forest, tapir and macaw clay licks, and the Manu Reserved Zone, spending 8 days at the Tahuayo Lodge to visit the main lodge and the Amazon Research Center, visits to the Tambopata Research Center on 5 day tours to also visit the Refugio Amazonas Lodge, and a combination tour of Sandoval Lake Lodge and Heath River Wildlife Center.
Explore rubber boom Amazon cities
Cities in the Amazon Rainforest grew to prosperity during the famed rubber boom days of 1879 to 1912 where the rise of the bicycle and automobile caused a massive need for rubber. The rubber was sourced from a plant named Hevea brasiliensis and was tapped from areas deep in the rainforest. The industry attracted businessmen and entrepreneurs from all over the world to reap the rewards by owning plantations or otherwise involving themselves in the industry. The rubber created the wealth and power of the rubber barons who built elaborate mansions in the cities and the industry built the cities of Iquitos in Peru and Manaus in Brazil. Enjoy visiting the cities to see some fantastic architecture and a glimpse of this remarkable time.
See a performance at a theatre in the Amazon Rainforest
In the Amazon Rainforest of northern Brazil, you can find the Teatro Amazonas or Amazon Theater. This was built at the time as a symbol of prosperity. To show off the city’s wealth in the most extravagant manner, the theater was made with the world’s finest materials, such as French glass, Italian marble, German roofing tiles and Scottish steel. You can enjoy different performances at the theater, which is still the central structure of the city. Enjoy various performances throughout the year and the annual Amazonas Opera Festival between March and May.
Find many different birds of prey in the rainforest
As well as the parrots and toucans, another favorite bird to see for many visitors are the birds of prey. Enjoy spotting different eagles, hawks, vultures, and falcons flying over the rainforest or perching on branches scouting for food. One of the best ways to see these birds are on motorized skiff or boat expeditions either from cruises, such as the Delfin II or The Delfin III Cruise or from deep rainforest lodges, such as the Tahuayo Lodge, Tambopata Research Center, or the luxurious La Selva Lodge.
Find many colorful beetles and insects
The most species-rich group of insects, there are many beautiful beatles to see in the Amazon Rainforest. Enjoy finding large species like the ceiba borers, a beautifully metallic colored jewel beetle, and have chance sightings of titan beetles. These are the world’s largest beetles, but are difficult to find. An easier family to spot are the scarabs and you’re sure to find some attractively colored species. You can also enjoy spotting various weevils, including giant species like the palm weevils. For this activity, we recommend a private guide and a deep Amazon Rainforest lodge, such as the Tahuayo Lodge in northern Peru
Experience a tropical storm and rainforest rains
Named for good reason, tropical rainforests have an incredible amount of rainfall. Tropical storms are the most impressive and these areas break world records for the amount of rain they receive. The Amazon Rainforest has only a wet and dry season, and sometimes lacks a dry season at all. Even during travel in the drier months, it’s likely that you will experience a tropical storm. Although wildlife activities will be put on hold until it passes, sitting to drink a coffee or tea and simply watching the rain pour from the sky and lodge roof is mesmerizing. It also makes for some some great video or photographs to show friends and family.
Enjoy deep rainforest hikes through the Amazon Rainforest
Hiking through the Amazon Rainforest offers a great experience with some beautiful scenery and many things to experience with all your senses. Walk past beautiful plants, interesting frogs and reptiles, and see different monkeys and colorful birds. It’s not uncommon to have troops of monkeys following you through the forest to investigate what you’re doing in their jungle home. Most of the jungle lodges offer walking tours, aside from Sandoval Lake Lodge with a focus on boat tours around the lake, but if you’re interested in some serious hiking, we recommend a deep Amazon Rainforest lodge with a private guide, such as the Tahuayo Lodge in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve of northern Peru.
Try tasty rainforest fruit
There are some delicious fruits to try from the Amazon Rainforest and you are sure to be amazed by the fruits you have never heard of. Some, such as cocoa you will be more familiar with than you realize, but may not have known they grow wild in the Amazon. There are a variety of fruits to try and a favorite is the small and tart citrus fruit named camu camu, which ranks as a superfruit for its concentration of Vitamin C. The fruit is sustainably harvested in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, which you can visit on the Delfin II or The Delfin III Cruise. The best time for seeing fruit in the Amazon is during the wet season, which is when the forest fruits and blooms. Delicious fruits to try also include sapote and guanabana, which are two more favorites. On tours at rainforest lodges like Posada Amazonas Lodge and Refugio Amazonas Lodge, you can visit a working jungle farm and try some different varieties.
Have a go at karaoke overlooking the Amazon’s waterways
If you’re visiting a rainforest city, it’s quite fun to remember that you’re actually still walking around in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest. Iquitos is a port city of the Amazon Rainforest in northern Peru. As it’s a smaller city than Manaus in Brazil, you will still be aware that you’re in the rainforest. Enjoy walking the boulevard and looking out over the Nanay River and into Amazonia. The boulevard has some nice cafes, restaurants, hotels and even a place for karaoke.
See mixed species flocks of colorful birds
A bird sighting all visitors can appreciate, mixed species flocks are fascinating to find in the rainforest. This is where different species flock together. A favorite are the mixed species flocks of tanagers because of their bright contrasting colors. You can see these flocks flying together and resting together on branches. It’s thought that the birds behave in this way as there are more eyes to detect predators. Good places in the Amazon Rainforest to see mixed flocks are lodges with canopy towers, such as Posada Amazonas Lodge and Refugio Amazonas Lodge in Peru, and also the Sacha Lodge in Ecuador with its long canopy walkway.
Spend time volunteering at animal orphanages
Because of the amount of research and NGOs in the Amazon Rainforest, there are different opportunities for volunteering. Some places accept volunteers to assist with ongoing research and others to help care for orphaned Amazon Rainforest animals.
Visit incredible protected areas of Amazon Rainforest
Protected areas of the Amazon Rainforest contain some of the rainforest’s best areas for wildlife as the animals and plants are less threatened by deforestation and hunting. This means wildlife populations can grow to the carrying capacity of the environment and increases your chances of seeing some fascinating and rarer species. Great protected areas to explore in the Amazon Rainforest include the Yasuni National Park in Ecuador, the Cristalino Reserve in Brazil, the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve and Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve in Peru, and the Tambopata National Reserve and Manu National Park area in southern Peru.
Walk a children’s trail in the Amazon rainforest with your family
The Amazon Rainforest is a great place to visit with your children as kids often have an innate curiosity and fascination with the natural world. Where better to take them than the world’s largest container of animals and plants. There are some better places for children in the Amazon and certain rainforest cruises and lodges have special family Amazon tours and activities. For example, the Tucano Cruise is a family friendly vessel in Brazil, but also offers specific family departures. The Refugio Amazonas Lodge in southern Peru has a specific children’s trail to communicate information about the rainforest in a relatable way. A lodge for all the family, the Refugio Amazonas also has a spa to enjoy a spa treatment and massage to relax after your adventure.
Have the best chance of finding famous anacondas
Anaconda rank as one of the Amazon Rainforest’s icons and along with macaw parrots, jaguar, black caiman, giant river otters, and tapir they are a favorite sighting for rainforest visitors. Because of their camouflaged colorations and ability to sense you approaching and disappear from view, seeing these fantastic snakes wild can be difficult. To get the best chances of seeing wild anaconda in the Amazon Rainforest, we recommend heading to deep rainforest lodges or cruises that take you deep into protected areas. The best time to see anaconda is during the drier season when there is less water for the snakes to hide in. Suggested lodges and cruises to maximize your chances include the Heath River Wildlife Center, Delfin II Luxury Cruise, and the The Delfin III Cruise.
Feed a manatee at the Manatee Rescue Center
Manatee are the largest mammal in South America but were threatened in the wild by hunting from local communities. Unfortunately, because of this they can be locally extinct. But with increased education on the importance of manatees and reintroduction programs, they are returning to different areas. The Manatee Rescue Center in Iquitos, Peru, helps care for injured manatees and has a breeding program to return manatees to the wild. You can visit the Manatee Rescue Center by requesting the visit on Iquitos Amazon River tours, such as the Delfin II, The Delfin III Cruise, and the Tahuayo Lodge.
Explore the Rio Negro on an old steam-ship styled Amazon cruise
The Rio Negro is the Amazon River’s largest tributary and causes the incredible meeting of the waters near Manaus because of its sediment and tannin rich water. Travel up the Rio Negro and into the Amazon Rainforest aboard the Tucano Cruise, which is an expedition cruise departing from Manaus, Brazil. The Tucano is styled like an old steam ship and provides an expedition cruise, which means you will not be confined to the vessel and will head out to explore the rainforest on skiff expeditions, forest walks and kayaking trips.
Watch leafcutter ants and army ants make trails through the rainforest
If you weighed all the ants on Earth, it would equal the weight of all the people. Ants are also the most dominant insects in tropical environments. Not only this, but their constant activity is mesmerizing. Some of the favorites to see are the army ants, which head out in a nomadic manner to blanket the forest floor and predate any small animals in their path. Enjoy watching their trails with the fearsome looking soldiers guarding the workers as they carry back food for the colony. Another species to see are the leafcutter ants, which cut different leaves and bring them back to farm a fungus deep within their nest. You can watch these ants for a long time as they carry back different parts of foliage. If you look carefully, you can even see smaller ants on the leaf fragments, which protect the workers from parasitic flies.
Visit macaw nesting areas in rainforest tree-holes
Macaws are the favorite birds to see in the Amazon Rainforest. A rarely seen life-stage of these birds is their nesting behaviour. The birds nest in different tree holes in the rainforest and prefer certain areas. To see where the birds nest you can visit certain tours, which are also near some impressive macaw clay licks to see hundreds of macaw parrots. To visit these areas, we recommend the Tambopata Research Center and Heath River Wildlife Center. These are both accessed from Puerto Maldonado in southern Peru.
Enjoy combination Amazon tours with other South America attractions
South America is home to fantastic attractions. Because there is so much to see and do, it’s a great idea to combine some of the favorite sights. Great attractions to combine with the Amazon Rainforest include:
- The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador – best explored on a luxury Galapagos cruise
- The incredible cloud forest of the Andes mountains on the Bio Trip
- The Pantanal Wetlands in Brazil with the Cristalino Lodge
- Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, which makes a great combination tour with the Sandoval Lake Lodge.
Visit the Cloud Forest
The cloud forest is defined as forest at such a high altitude that it’s penetrated by cloud cover. A great place to experience the cloud forest is on the side of the Andes near Cusco in Peru where you can visit forest near the incredible Manu National Park. Enjoy a stay at the fantastic Cock of the Rock Lodge, which is located in its own private cloud forest reserve. There are many different trails you can enjoy on guided walks to find cloud forest animals and plants, such as many different hummingbirds, toucans, butterflies, capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, spectacled bears, and the cock of the rocks, which are Peru’s national bird. You can also combine the cloud forest with lowland Amazon Rainforest on the Bio Trip and Macaw & Tapir Tour.
Travel like a local in a hammock on a passenger vessel between Iquitos and Manaus
The Amazon River runs past Peru, Colombia, and through Brazil before emerging into the Atlantic Ocean. Locals of the different countries navigate the area by river as there are no roads connecting these different places. Ferries travel frequently between the different port cities and it makes an adventurous experience to set up your hammock like a local and relax for 3 or 4 days to travel the Amazon River.
Celebrate your honeymoon in the Amazon Rainforest
To create a memorable honeymoon, you can celebrate your wedding in pristine Amazon Rainforest. To create a memorable experience, you will head out into the rainforest with your guide to see incredible animals and plants. To get the best experience and to make it more special, we recommend a luxury cruise. Some of the best choices to compliment the occasion are the Delfi II luxury cruise and the more luxurious Delfin I. If you would like a very comfortable rainforest lodge option, we recommend a comfortable lodge such as La Selva Lodge and Spa. If you’re after a more rustic rainforest lodge with a private guide and custom itinerary, a great wildlife lodge is the Tahuayo Lodge from Iquitos in northern Peru.
See images of elusive animals from camera traps
To get the best look at what wildlife is living in the different Amazon areas, researchers set up camera traps to capture images of some rarely seen animals. The bigger and rarer wildlife are often hard to spot simply by heading out and looking in the forest. Camera traps offer a way to get an idea of what animals the researchers and guides are missing. Different lodges with a research element, such as the Tahuayo Lodge, Tambopata Research Center, and Heath River Wildlife Center have set up camera traps that have revealed some fascinating finds, including jaguar, puma, tapir, and even maned wolves. You can ask the lodges to see what more elusive wildlife they have found
Find species new to Science
There are new species constantly being discovered in the Amazon Rainforest and if the area interests you, it’s fascinating to see some of these recently discovered animals and plants. The animals are usually small, such as different insects and spiders, which you can help in collecting, but occasionally a large monkey or other mammal is discovered. Some rainforest lodges to message to find out more about this are the Tambopata Research Center, Refugio Amazonas Lodge, and the Tahuayo Lodge in the Peruvian Amazon.
See monkeys and other wildlife from your room
If you’d like to keep a constant connection to the Amazon Rainforest even when back at your rainforest lodge, a good choice is to pick a lodge that opens out onto the jungle. Options include lodges close to species-rich rainforest with a more open design. Lodges to enjoy wildlife sightings directly from your suite and bed include Sandoval Lake Lodge, Posada Amazonas Lodge, Refugio Amazonas Lodge, and the deep rainforest lodge of the Tambopata Research Center, which is located right in the heart of Tambopata National Reserve.
Visit different Amazonian museums
There are museums dotted around the Amazon’s gateway cities. You can visit these to learn about the Amazon Rainforest, the tribes that live and have lived here, and the history of the rubber boom. Areas to visit fascinating museums include Manaus in the Brazilian Amazon for the Museu da Amazonia, Museu do Indio, and more. There is also Iquitos in northern Peru for the Historical Ships Museum and Museum of Indigenous Amazon Cultures.
Enjoy a panoramic helicopter or plane flight
Manaus in Brazil offers fantastic tours for panoramic flights over the Amazon by helicopter and plane. The flight lasts less than an hour and offers incredible views over the Amazon. See the dramatic meeting of the waters in all its glory and look over the vast blanket of green that is the Amazon Rainforest.
Climb the tower in Puerto Maldonado
Puerto Maldonado is a jungle town in southern Peru and is a quieter town than the largest gateway cities of Iquitos and Manaus. There are some fantastic Puerto Maldonado jungle tours and the markets in Puerto Maldonado are great to stock up on fresh Brazil nuts and to try some jungle fruit. In the center of town is the Obelisk, which is a must-visit attraction in Puerto Maldonado. This is an eight-story tower to see out over the town and over the Amazon Rainforest. Look out over the Madre de Dios River and the Tambopata National Reserve to see where you will later explore.
Visit a butterfly house
To learn more about the butterflies in the Amazon Rainforest, you can choose to visit the different butterfly houses, which can be found in different Amazon Rainforest gateways. In Peru, you can find the Pilpintuwasi Butterfly House in Iquitos, which functions as an animal orphanage, and in Puerto Maldonado, southern Peru, you can visit the Mariposario Tambopata Butterfly Farm.
Enjoy a luxury lodge complete with your own bath or spa
To enjoy a luxurious lodge offering a bath or spa area, you can choose a couple of different rainforest options. In southern Peru, you can pick the Amazon Villa, which is a an exclusive lodge offering private guides and transfers then your own bath to relax in the jungle. In the Ecuadorian rainforest of Yasuni National Park, you can also find the luxurious La Selva Lodge, which offers a small spa pool in the family suites.
Try delicious cuisine at a floating restaurant
There are some interesting restaurants in the rainforest gateway towns and in the Amazon Rainforest gateway city of Iquitos, northern Peru, you can find Al Frio Al Fuego. This is a floating restaurant associated with the same people as the luxurious Delfin I and Delfin II. Enjoy a range of dishes from local cuisine to international favorites.
Spot many rainforest bats
The bats in the rainforest are interesting mammals to see. As you navigate the waterways deep in the rainforest, you can see the long nosed bats lining up on different trees as they camouflage themselves with the environment. At the Tahuayo Lodge from Iquitos in northern Peru, you can also visit a large hollow log home to a bat colony. This is affectionately known as Bat Cave and is a favorite experience in an area of high ground rainforest.
Visit a shaman
Shaman are the medicine men of the Amazon Rainforest and are highly regarded within their communities. Shaman are who the community ask to make sense of different diseases and unusual events. Using his knowledge of various plants, the shaman then treats a variety of conditions and communicates with the spirit world for answers to different problems. For some fascinating insight into this way of life, you can visit a shaman to ask various questions and learn about life in the rainforest. Lodges for this cultural activity include the Tahuayo Lodge and the Posada Amazonas Lodge in the Peruvian Amazon.
See Amazonian aquarium fish
Many different tropical aquarium fish can be found in the Amazon Rainforest and you can see your much loved pets swimming free in the Amazon’s waterways. The fish you can find in the Amazon’s tributaries include famous piranha, angelfish, different cichlids, and tetra. Although difficult to find, you can have a go at searching for the fish from the Tahuayo Lodge in Peru’s Tahuayo Reserve.
Celebrate Christmas in the Amazon Rainforest
To create a Christmas to remember, you can choose to spend it in the Amazon Rainforest. Many lodges offer special Christmas activities, food, and drink over the holiday, which complements guided tours to see Amazon Rainforest animals. Great lodges to enjoy Christmas include La Selva Lodge, the Tahuayo Lodge, the Tambopata Research Center, and the Refugio Amazonas Lodge.
Visit a group of semi-tame woolly monkeys
A problem that threatens wildlife populations of Amazon animals, the pet trade in exotic animals is a major threat to conservation. Animals are taken from the rainforest after their family have been killed. The young animals are taken and sold in markets for pets, which often get too big or otherwise become unmanageable. The Tahuayo Lodge in the Peruvian Amazon has attempted rehabilitation of a few different woolly monkeys rescued from the pet trade, which now live together in the rainforest near the lodge. Guides often visit the group to see how they’re doing and despite the group being able to forage for themselves now, they still enjoy visiting trusted guides for a banana.
Charter an Amazon Cruise
For the ultimate experience of exclusivity, you can choose to charter an Amazon Rainforest cruise vessel for your friends, family, or work group. Enjoy exclusive use of the vessel and guides for fantastic guided tours in the surrounding Amazon Rainforest. Great cruises to charter in the Amazon include the luxury Delfin I Cruise and Delfin II Cruise for Peru’s Pacaya Samiria National Reserve and the Tucano Cruise in the Brazilian Amazon.
Find some fascinating lizards
There are a number of different lizards to see in the rainforest, both on the rainforest floor and up in the trees. Find different iguanas clinging to the branches, caiman lizards resting above the Amazon’s waterways or swimming through the water, other types of the tegus walking through the forest, various geckos on night walks, and tree anoles between the leaves.
Skype or share photos with friends and family
Sometimes it’s great to be disconnected from everyday life for a while, but it’s also nice to know you can share the experience with friends and family directly from the lodge. Many of the Amazon River cruises and lodges don’t have an internet connection as we’re deep in rainforest. However, others have a satellite internet connection, which can be slow and spotty but allows you to share your experiences. Lodges with a WiFi connection include the private and exclusive Amazon Villa, the community-owned Posada Amazonas Lodge, the Refugio Amazonas Lodge in the buffer of Tambopata Reserve, the Tambopata Research Center deep in Tambopata National Reserve, and the Tahuayo Lodge from Iquitos where you receive a private guide and custom itinerary.
Sip a cocktail looking over the Amazon
As a great way to relax of an evening, you can order a cocktail at the bar while looking over the Amazon Rainforest and River. There are a few excellent cruises with great bars and menus, such as the following luxury cruises:
There are also some great lodges with bar facilities. In Ecuador, these include the luxurious La Selva Lodge and Napo Wildlife Center. In Peru, you can choose from the Refugio Amazonas Lodge, Posada Amazonas Lodge and Tambopata Research Center. Each provides a fantastic experience of the Amazon Rainforest.About the Author: Ash Card is a frequent visitor to the Amazon and has a passion for helping visitors get the best experiences from tropical destinations. Ash has interests including tropical destinations, rainforests and wildlife. Feel free to contact Ash for tour help in the Amazon. When not helping tourists with tours and info, Ash can be found salsa-ing the night away or posing near waterfalls.