Given its vast size and often mysterious nature among first-time visitors, we’ve made an Amazon Rainforest travel guide to go over the best areas to visit.
We will cover the best adventure tours, nature tours, luxury tours, short tours of 2 or more days, and budget friendly options.
First, let’s have an introduction to the incredible forest.
Rainforests in general contain impressive animals and plants, but the Amazon is the world’s largest container of species. In total, the world’s rainforests cover only 7% of the Earth’s surface but contain 50% of all the species on Earth.
The Amazon Rainforest covers 40% of the South American continent and contains some of the world’s most untouched tropical wilderness. The next largest rainforests of the Congo in Africa and the rainforested island of New Guinea can fit comfortably inside the vast expanse of Amazonia.
Within the Amazon Rainforest, you can find an incredible diversity of animals and plants, wildlife-rich oxbow lakes, and beautiful scenery.
For example, the Manu National Park in southern Peru contains 10% of all the world’s bird species. It’s usual for national parks and reserves in the Amazon Rainforest to have more species of birds and other animals than entire countries.
For nature lovers, adventure seekers, or simply people looking for a different vacation, this makes the Amazon a perfect place to visit.
The Amazon also makes a great add-on to other South American attractions, such as the Galapagos Islands or Machu Picchu.
Countries in the Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest crosses nine nations and covers around 40% of the South American continent. The majority of the rainforest is contained within Brazil and Peru. However, the rainforest also crosses Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Colombia.
The most biodiverse area of rainforest is consistently found on the western side, such as the rainforest of Ecuador, Peru, and western Brazil. The protected areas in Peru and Ecuador especially continually set records for species diversity. The reason for this is thought to be the closeness to the Andes mountains and the refuges that remained forested during the last ice age. There are some fantastic Amazon tours in Peru and in Ecuador’s rainforest.
The tributaries that start on the Andes trickle down to form the Amazon River. These tributaries provide nutrients and water to feed this incredible tropical forest.
Amazon Gateway Towns
The gateways where you enter the Amazon are the base cities such as Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado, or Manaus inside the rainforest where you will arrive to begin your tour. The main gateways have the most options for Amazon tours, cruises, and lodges.
These cities were often the areas that were grown to prosperity during the rubber boom when the rise of the bicycle and automobile caused a demand for rubber. The rubber at this time was sourced naturally from the Hevea brasiliensis rubber trees that grow naturally in the rainforest.
Note that the general rule for rainforest gateways is that the larger the city, the farther you have to travel away from the city to enter less disturbed rainforest.
The main gateways in Peru for the Amazon Rainforest are Puerto Maldonado for the southern Amazon and Iquitos for rainforest surrounding the Amazon RIver. Iquitos is where to visit especially if you’re interested in a cruise or deep Amazon adventure whereas Puerto Maldonado has one of the most developed tourism industries in Amazonia for various rainforest lodges.
Manaus in Brazil is the largest city in the Amazon Rainforest. This is another choice for visitors interested in an Amazon cruise. However, to access some more pristine rainforest with a higher number of animals and plants, you can also visit from the southern Brazilian city of Alta Floresta or Tefe for some more pristine central rainforest.
In Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest, the main gateway is a city called Puerto Francisco de Orellana, which is also known as ‘Coca’. Coca is another port of the Amazon River where you can enjoy Amazon cruises and lodges to explore the protected areas of the famous Yasuni National Park and Cuyabeno Reserve.
Amazon Rainforest Attractions
There are some fascinating attractions in the Amazon Rainforest. While exploring the forest, you can find oxbow lakes, clay licks, canopy towers, and tall emergent trees. Not limited to the lowland rainforest, you can also explore the mysterious cloud forests on the side of the Andes. Differing in altitude and climate, these forests are home to a completely new set of animals and plants.
The Amazon River
The Amazon River itself for many people is a main attraction of Amazonia. The river is found between Coca in Ecuador all the way through to Belem in Brazil where the Amazon flows out into the Atlantic Ocean.
The ports you can visit along the Amazon River include Coca, Iquitos, Leticia, Tefe, Manaus, and Belem. The Amazon River is best explore on an Amazon Rainforest cruise from these port cities. Some of the favorites include the Amazon River tours from Iquitos in northern Peru, which take you into the incredible flooded forest of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. On some of the top cruises we will mention later, you are not restricted to the vessel and will instead head out on guided skiff expeditions and forest walks to have some incredible wildlife experiences.
Oxbow lakes are areas where tributaries of the Amazon River once flowed but have since changed direction. This change sometimes leaves behind oxbow-shaped bodies of water known as oxbow lakes. The lakes become very attractive for variety of animals and plants drawn by the water.
On tours of oxbow lakes, you can find many different animals, including the favorites Amazon animals to find. These include giant river otters, black caiman crocodilians, water birds, giant Arapaima fish, and land-living animals that visit the lakes. These include many different monkeys, which can often be spotted feeding on fruits around the lake in the mornings.
One of the most common animals around the oxbow lakes are the strange hoatzin birds. These are a chicken-sized bird that digest good by fermentation in a similar way to cows. Strangely, young hoatzins are born with a claw used to cut through the shell of the egg but also to climb their way through the thick lake-side vegetation.
The lakes are also often surrounded by palms, which are ideal nesting habitat for scarlet macaws and other parrots. This means you can often see different macaw parrots on short walks around the lakes as well.
Clay licks are areas of exposed river bank where different animals come to feed on the clay itself. Over 50 different animals worldwide are known to do this and the clays not only contain much needed salt, but also provides chemicals that neutralize toxins found in unripe fruits and seeds. In South America and the Amazon Rainforest, one of the most iconic animals that visits the clay licks are the fantastic macaws.
Hundreds of macaws gather at the clay at one time and they present visitors with a fantastic display of sound and color. You can see all types of birds at different clay licks. Some of the licks are best for seeing scarlet macaws and other for the blue and gold macaws for example.
The rainforest of Puerto Maldonado in southern Peru is fortunate to contain the most clay licks of anywhere in Amazonia. The almost guaranteed wildlife sightings of the Amazon’s most iconic animals at the clay licks and oxbow lakes near Puerto Maldonado have created one of the most thought out and developed tourist industries in Amazonia.
Clay licks can be found throughout the Puerto Maldonado rainforest and the different protected areas. For example, for macaw clay licks, one of the best to see is the Chuncho clay lick in Peru’s southern Amazon. This is located and accessible from both the Tambopata Research Center and the Refugio Amazonas Lodge on the ‘a la carte’ program.
Nearby, there are also smaller clay licks for mammals, which you can also see from the Refugio Amazonas Lodge. Parakeet clay licks for small parrots can be been from the Posada Amazonas Lodge. Other macaw clay licks can also be seen from the Manu Wildlife Center and the Heath River Wildlife Center.
Both the Manu Wildlife Center and the Heath River Wildlife Center are also near to tapir clay licks, which you can visit. Enjoy spotting South America’s largest land mammal from a carefully positioned hide.
On cruises and lodge tours in Ecuador’s Amazon, you can also visit the small parakeet clay lick in the Yasuni National Park. Visit the lick from lodges, such as La Selva Lodge and Napo Wildlife Center.
In the Brazilian side, you can see a mammal clay lick with a hide from the Cristalino Lodge.
In Peru, here’s a graph showing the different lodges and the most common mammals that visit the nearby clay licks.
The lodges mentioned in the above table are:
- The Posada Amazonas
- The Refugio Amazonas
- The Tambopata Research Center
- The Heath River Wildlife Center
- The Manu Wildlife Center
- The Amazon Villa
The Cloud Forest
The cloud forests are tropical forests on the Andes mountains that are penetrated by cloud cover. The Andean forests are home to one of the highest levels of species on Earth and are especially abundant with birds, including the world’s highest diversity of hummingbirds.
On tours of the cloud forest, you can find many different weird and wonderful animals and plants. See one of the highest diversities of orchids, epiphytes, and birds. Watch the different hummingbirds, visit the dancing ground of the bright red cock of the rocks, see woolly monkeys, capuchins, and even spectacled bears.
To visit the cloud forest, some fantastic tours are found in Ecuador and Peru. In Peru, you can visit the cloud forest of the incredible Manu National Park. On the Manu Bio Trip, combine a tour of the cloud forest with a descent down the Andes to the lowland tropical forest of the Manu rainforest.
Protected Areas of Amazon Rainforest
There are some fantastic protected areas in the Amazon Rainforest. These areas have helped reduce logging and the harvesting of resources in the rainforest protecting the homes of countless animals and plants. Given the protection, you’re more likely to see some of the more iconic and famous species and a higher level of wildlife.
Ordered by country, some of the most accessible and diverse protected areas in the Amazon Rainforest include:
The Yasuni National Park, Ecuador
The Yasuni National Park is one of the most famous protected areas in the Amazon Rainforest. The area contains an astounding species richness and has won world records for species diversity.
Yasuni National Park is found in western Ecuador and is accessible from the rainforest gateway town of Coca (Puerto Francisco de Orellana).
The park covers almost 1 million hectares of lowland tropical rainforest and protects many different animals and plants. Because of its ecological significance, the park is recognised by UNESCO as the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve.
There are some fantastic rainforest lodges in the Yasuni National Park and different cruises lead expeditions deep into the protected area. Some of the favorites include La Selva Lodge and the Napo Wildlife Center. We will mention more about these and a few other options farther down.
The Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, Peru
A fantastic section of flooded Amazon forest, the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve covers over 2 million hectares of rainforest. You can find all the iconic animals and plants within the reserve, including the pink river dolphins, many different monkeys, sloths, toucans, parrots, anaconda, black caiman, and giant water lilies.
Full of beautiful scenery, the Pacaya is known as the forest of mirrors due to the near perfect reflections from the water. The reflections are caused by the Pacaya Samiria’s almost black nutrient-filled water, which provides for the incredible diversity of animals and plants.
As this is such as large reserve of flooded rainforest, the best way to get the most in depth experience of the Pacaya Samiria is on a cruise. There are some excellent Amazon River tours from Iquitos to consider for exploring the reserve.
The cruise vessels not only take you on a relaxing cruise up the Amazon and tributaries, but also take you on guided tours throughout the rainforest. Explore the forest and waterways on rainforest walks and guided skiff expeditions to find several different monkeys, colorful birds, and a high diversity of others. We will mention cruises later, but some favorites are the Delfin II and Aria Amazon luxury cruises.
The Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve, Peru
The Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve is a section of Amazon Rainforest in northern Peru connected to the above mentioned Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. However, the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo contains some more accessible higher ground forest, which you can enjoy on rainforest walks. This is an especially great place to find the iconic poison dart frogs.
The Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve contains an impressive diversity of animals and plants. Home to over 600 bird species, the reserve provides a draw for birdwatchers the world over. Spot different toucans, macaws, parrots, tanagers, cotingas and more. In addition to birds and poison dart frogs, see many different monkeys, sloths, tree-living anteaters, orchids, epiphytes, and tall emergent trees
To explore the Tahuayo Reserve, you can stay at the Tahuayo Lodge. This is the only lodge within the reserve and you receive a private guide and custom itinerary as standard. In addition to the main Tahuayo Lodge, you will also visit the Tahuayo Amazon Research Center, which has a 1,000 acre primate research grid to find many different monkeys and more.
The Tambopata National Reserve, Peru
The Tambopata National Reserve is found in southern Peru and can be reached after only 30 minutes of travel time from the rainforest gateway town of Puerto Maldonado. This section of Peru contains the most clay licks to see colorful macaw parrots gathered at the clay and some beautiful oxbow lakes, which are often home to giant river otters.
The Tambopata National Reserve covers around 274,690 hectares of lowland Amazon Rainforest and protects the lower section of the Tambopata River after its descent from Lake Titicaca down the Andes.
The reserve protects some fantastic animals and plants, including the tall emergent trees of Brazil nuts, mahogany, and cedar. Spot various toucans, macaws, and other parrots flying over the forest. These are best seen at clay licks and canopy towers, which you can find at certain Tambopata Rainforest lodges.
The lodges in the Tambopata rainforest provide some fantastic trails, lakes, and clay licks to find a variety of rainforest animals. Enjoy seeing herds of peccary, several different monkeys, giant river otters, and even have a 10% chance of spotting wild jaguar from deep lodges, such as the Tambopata Research Center. As another fantastic wildlife sighting, a great lodge for seeing wild giant river otters is the community-owned Posada Amazonas Lodge.
To give an example of the Tambopata National Reserve and surrounding rainforest, we can provide the following table to show the chances of seeing different Amazon Rainforest animals. As recommended lodges to provide examples, the table contains information for:
The Manu National Park, Peru
The Manu National Park covers an impressive 1.5 million hectares and protects the entirety of the Manu River. Covering Andean forest and lowland rainforest, the Manu National Park has recently won more awards for wildlife richness.
Although not permitted in the national park itself, visitors can visit connected rainforest of the Reserved Zone or from the Manu Wildlife Center. Enjoy seeing some large macaw clay licks where hundreds of colorful macaw gather at the clay, a beautiful lake with giant river otters, and trails through the rainforest to see many different monkeys.
Some excellent tours to visit the Manu Reserved Zone and surrounding rainforest include the Manu Wildlife Center and the Manu Adventurer tour. On the Manu Adventurer you will get into the Manu Reserved Zone itself.
The Anavilhanas National Park, Brazil
The Anavilhanas Reserve is found in Brazil’s central Amazon Rainforest and is a section of flooded forest. Not only a fantastic reserve to visit in its own right, but the section of rainforest is part of the UNESCO listed Central Amazon Ecological Corridor. This is the largest section of protected Amazon Rainforest and was formed by joining different reserves and national parks together.
The Anavilhanas National Park covers 350,470 hectares of mostly flooded rainforest. The main features iconic to the area are the 400 islands, which themselves are visited or are home to some different plants and animals.
Containing such as large amount of water, the reserve is home to the largest array of electric fish and other aquatic animals. The forest protected by the national park is then home to the iconic and rarely seen wildlife, such as jaguar, river otters, and giant anteaters.
To visit the Anavilhanas National Park and surrounding rainforest, you can enjoy an expedition cruise aboard the Tucano Expedition Cruise. Styled as a steam boat, enjoy getting deeper into the rainforest than other vessels and some expertly guided forest expeditions.
The Cristalino Reserve, Brazil
A smaller protected area than the other on the list, the Cristalino Reserve is no less fascinating to visit in terms of its wildlife. Within the reserve, you can find several different monkeys, fascinating reptiles and amphibians, and hundreds of birds. Many of the species found here are found nowhere else.
Because the reserve is at the meeting of the Amazon Rainforest and the Pantanal Wetlands, it has created some fascinating areas to see a range of species. From the Cristalino lodge in the reserve, explore the forest to see some of the iconic Amazonian animals and plants.
Although the Cristalino Reserve is relatively small at 11,400 hectares, it is connected to the neighbouring 184,900 hectare Cristalino State Park and other protected areas. In addition, many different reserves, national parks, and conservation forests are connected to cover over 2 million hectares of Amazon Rainforest.
You can see several different monkeys, peccary, giant river otters, and even puma and jaguar are found within the reserve. In addition to the fantastic mammals, 586 bird species can be seen, which represents 50% of all the birds in Brazil. Because of this, the reserve is a much-loved destination for birdwatchers.
To visit the Cristalino Reserve, you can enjoy a stay at the comfortable Cristalino lodge where you can enjoy guided tours through the rainforest to see many different animals and plants.
Amazon Rainforest Tours
To enjoy the Amazon Rainforest, you can stay at a variety of fantastic rainforest lodges for guided excursions into Amazonia. You can also choose a river cruise to be comfortably transported deep into the rainforest where you will enjoy guided skiff expeditions looking for rainforest wildlife.
Here, we will go over some of the top recommendations dependent on how long you want in the rainforest and the type of tour.
First, we will mention top general rainforest lodges for short tours of 2 to 4 days then general deep rainforest lodges for 5 days or more, followed by a few recommended luxury and exclusive experiences.
Amazon Lodges • for 2 to 4 days
If you’re interested in a stay at a rainforest lodge for between 2 and 4 days, it’s best to focus on an area of high wildlife close to a rainforest gateway. Otherwise, you will have to spend valuable time getting to and from the lodge.
One of the best areas for a short stay that meets these requirements is the rainforest of Puerto maldonado in Peru. Here, we will mention some of our favorites to see the most wildlife at a comfortable lodge.
The Posada Amazonas Lodge, Puerto Maldonado, Peru
The Posada Amazonas Lodge is a community-owned lodge in the rainforest of Puerto Maldonado, southern Peru.
From the Posada Amazonas Lodge, enjoy a fantastic Amazon Rainforest tour to see a wide diversity of Amazonian animals and plants.
Explore the nearby oxbow lake to find giant river otters, see a small parrot clay lick, and climb a tall canopy tower to spot parrots, toucans, and mixed species flocks. You will also explore the rainforest find different monkeys and colorful birds.
From the Posada Amazonas Lodge, you can also choose a range of add-on activities. Choose from canopy climbing, kayaking, jungle mountain biking, and stand-up paddleboarding.
At the lodge itself, you can choose from different suites and comfort levels. The Posada Amazonas also offers a small spa where you can enjoy a massage and relaxation treatment surrounded by rainforest.
The Refugio Amazonas Lodge, Puerto Maldonado, Peru
The Refugio Amazonas Lodge is a similar lodge to the Posada Amazonas Lodge mentioned farther up. Located in the buffer zone of Tambopata National Reserve, the Refugio Amazonas Lodge offers slightly deeper experience of the Amazon Rainforest.
From the Refugio Amazonas Lodge, enjoy climbing a tall canopy tower to spot toucans and parrots over the rainforest. You will also explore the rainforest on guided expeditions to find a diversity of colorful birds, several different monkeys, and other Amazon wildlife. Recently, guests at the Refugio Amazonas have been lucky to catch sight of the famous harpy eagles, which seem to prefer nesting nearby the lodge.
Near the lodge, you can also visit a small parrot clay lick, a small mammal clay lick, and on the ‘a la carte’ program you can even visit the large Chuncho clay lick to stand a chance of spotting hundreds of colorful macaw parrots visiting the clay.
The Refugio Amazonas Lodge also offers a spa to enjoy a range of relaxation and aromatherapy treatments surrounded by the rainforest. On the ‘a la carte’ program, you can also choose from different activities, including jungle mountain biking, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding,and canopy climbing.
The Refugio Amazonas is also a great choice for families, as the lodge is one of the only Amazon lodges with a children’s trail specifically designed to teach young children about the Amazon Rainforest in a more relatable way.
The Sandoval Lake Lodge, Puerto Maldonado, Peru
The Sandoval Lake Lodge is nestled by the beautiful Sandoval Lake and provides lake tours to find the resident giant river otters and a number of other animals.
On tours from the Sandoval Lake Lodge, you will explore the lake in the morning to see different lake-living birds and numerous monkey. The capuchins, squirrel monkeys, titi monkeys, and howler monkeys visit the lake each day to feed from the surrounding plants.
In addition to exploring the lake, you will enjoy a walk in the surrounding rainforest to see different animals and plants. Around the lake is some excellent breeding habitat for scarlet macaws and visitors usually see macaws resting in the forest. In addition to these excursions, you will head out in the forest and on the lake of an evening to see nocturnal animals. Nocturnal wildlife includes black caiman, night monkeys, nocturnal birds, and more.
The Tambopata Research Center, Peru
The Tambopata Research Center is located in the middle of the wildlife-rich Tambopata National Reserve of southern Peru. Because this is a deep Amazon Rainforest lodge, the surrounding rainforest is at carrying capacity for the number of animals and plants living in nearby rainforest. This means you have a higher chance of spotting abundant, rare, and iconic wildlife. For example, 10% of guests to the Tambopata Research Center are lucky enough to see wild jaguar.
Enjoy guided expeditions in the reserve to find a variety of monkeys, such as capuchins, squirrel monkeys, marmosets, howler monkeys, and even the spider monkeys, which are the largest species in Amazonia.
The Tambopata Research Center is located nearby a large macaw clay lick where you can see hundreds of colorful macaw parrots. You will also explore different rainforest habitats home to their own communities of animals and plants.
The Tambopata Research Center is suited to tours from 4 days or more in the Amazon Rainforest.
The Tahuayo Lodge, Peru
The Tahuayo Lodge is a deep rainforest lodge about 150 km from Iquitos city in north Peru’s Amazon Rainforest. The lodge is located in the fantastic Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve, which is a great section of Amazonia to find a variety of different monkeys.
From the Tahuayo Lodge, head out on a privately guided and custom tour to find howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, capuchins, titi monkeys, and pygmy marmosets. The reserve also contains over 600 different birds, which makes it a great place to explore for birdwatchers and nature lovers.
On tours of 6 days and over at the Tahuayo Lodge, you will also visit the Tahuayo River Amazon Research Center, which is located in even more pristine rainforest. Surrounding the research is a 1,000 acre primate research grid where you can see different animals displaying more normal behavior. They have been a little more accustomed to researchers and so continue feeding etc. while you observe them at a distance.
From the lodge, you will also enjoy canoeing the river, the largest canopy zipline system in Amazonia, and you can even choose to camp for one or two nights in the jungle.
Because this is private guided tour on a custom itinerary, you can choose a pace and activities suited to your personality and interests, such as wildlife watching, relaxation, adventure, or photography.
The Tahuayo Lodge is best experienced on tours of 6 days or more.
La Selva Lodge, Ecuador • Luxury
La Selva Lodge is a fantastic rainforest lodge for people looking for a little more comfort in the Amazon Rainforest. Enjoy guided rainforest excursions deep into the Yasuni National Park to find a wide diversity of Amazon Rainforest animals and plants.
Enjoy the lodge’s tall canopy tower, visits to the Yasuni Clay Lick, touring the nearby Garzacocha Lagoon by canoe, and the many different rainforest trails. The trails have been specifically designed to take you past some of the most fascinating attractions in the rainforest. Enjoy trails for tall strangler figs, emergent trees, some of the oldest primary forest, and near a resident group of pygmy marmosets.
Of course, while exploring the main rainforest trails you will be on the lookout for the many different inhabitants of Amazonia. Your guide will help you find many of the different monkeys, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and beautiful plants that surround you.
La Selva Lodge is also a rainforest spa, which means you can enjoy a choice of relaxation treatments and massages on your stay. This is the perfect way to relax after exploring the Amazon Rainforest. The lodge then provides very comfortable suites, a restaurant serving delicious cuisine, a bar to enjoy a cocktail, and some excellent viewing areas.
La Selva Lodge is best enjoyed on tours of 4 days or more.
The Amazon Villa, Peru • Luxury
The Amazon Villa provides an exclusive stay at a very comfortable rainforest bungalow in the buffer zone of Tambopata National Reserve.
You will be assigned a private guide to explore the surrounding rainforest. Visit the large Chuncho clay lick to see hundreds of macaws gathered at the clay and a few other smaller clay licks to see different animals.
Explore the rainforest to find colorful birds and several different monkeys, such as capuchins, squirrel monkeys, titi monkeys, and howler monkeys.
The Amazon Villa is equipped with a hot water bath, Wifi internet, a television to watch nature documentaries, electricity in the rainforest, a refrigerator and microwave, and a place for your laptop to catch up on work or view photos.
From the Amazon Villa, you can also enjoy a choice of jungle activities, such as canopy climbing, jungle mountain biking, and standup paddleboarding.
You can also climb a tall canopy tower to look out over the Tambopata rainforest to spot colorful toucans, parrots, and even mixed species flocks. You can also choose from a number of other options exclusive to this particular lodge.
The Amazon Villa is best enjoyed on tours of 3 days or more.
The Napo Wildlife Center, Ecuador • Luxury
The Napo Wildlife Center is a deep and luxurious rainforest lodge for the Yasuni National Park in western Ecuador. After arriving in Ecuador’s capital city of Quito, you will take a short flight to Coca (Ecuador’s rainforest gateway). You will then be transported via river to the fantastic Napo Wildlife Center.
From the Napo Wildlife Center, enjoy a tall canopy tower to lookout over the rainforest to see different colorful birds and the various shades of green of the canopy itself.
Enjoy canoeing the Yasuni National Park, see a parrot clay lick to observe colorful birds gathered in one place, and explore the rainforest to find many colorful birds, several different monkeys, and many other animals and plants of Amazonia.
In addition to the wildlife, you will also learn about the culture of the Kichwa Añangu Community who own and manage the lodge. Try different local foods, visit a local home, and see the different projects the lodge is working on in Ecuador.
The Napo Wildlife Center is best visited on tours of four days or more.
The Manu Wildlife Center, Peru
The Manu Wildlife Center is a deep rainforest lodge for the Manu rainforest. Enjoy some fantastic guided tours into the Amazon to have a better chance of seeing iconic Amazonian icons than other rainforest lodges.
On guided expeditions from the lodge, you will visit a very large clay lick where different macaws come to feed from the salt-rich and medicinal clay.
In addition to the macaws at the clay lick, there is nearby tapir clay lick to wait and see South America’s largest land mammal. This is one of the Amazon’s most elusive animals and makes a fascinating experience. In addition to these icons, guests at the Manu Wildlife Center have a 10% chance of spotting wild jaguar.
Although guests are not actually allowed inside the Manu National Park itself, you can enjoy a short few night visit to the Reserved Zone. The Manu Adventurer tour tour adds a visit to a low-impact camp inside the reserved zone with a stay at the Manu Wildlife Center.
The Manu Wildlife Center is best visited on stays of 4 or 5 days.
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.
The Cristalino Lodge, Brazil • Luxury
The Cristalino Lodge is a very comfortable rainforest lodge in the Brazilian state of Matto Grosso. The lodge and associated foundation was established to help protect some of the last remaining rainforest in a heavily deforested region and to show the importance of conservation to surrounding communities.
From the Cristalino Lodge, enjoy fantastic guided expeditions into surrounding rainforest. See a range of different animals and plants, including delicate orchids, tall emergent trees, capuchins, howler monkeys, toucans, macaws, and much more.
What makes this section of rainforest a little different is that we’re at the crossroads of different habitats, including the vast Pantanal Wetlands and the rainforest. This means there are some animals here that are found nowhere else on Earth.
The Cristalino Lodge not only offers very comfortable accommodation, but also a floating deck, two of the tallest canopy towers in Amazonia, many rainforest trails, canoe trips, and a responsible take on tourism.
The Cristalino Lodge is best visited on tours of 4 or more days.
The Cristalino LodgeAlta Floresta, Brazil
Currently, TourTheTropics.com cannot help you book this experience. However, you can visit the tour operator's website for more information.
The Sacha Lodge, Ecuador
The Sacha Lodge in Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest is a great place for nature lovers. One of the main features of this particular lodge is the large canopy walkway that stretches 940-feet (275-meters) through the rainforest. Reaching 94 feet (30 meters) above the ground, this is a fantastic place for birdwatching. There are some fascinating species to see and 587 different birds representing 37% of all the birds in Ecuador have been spotted from the lodge.
In addition to the birdlife, enjoy guided expeditions in the surrounding rainforest to see many different primates, reptiles, colorful butterflies, and intimidating caiman crocodilians.
The Sacha Lodge includes single, double and triple accommodation. Rooms feature private bathrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets. The rooms are carefully screened to help keep you comfortable in the rainforest.
Meals are served in the dining room as a buffet service and there are three meals each day. At least one of your evenings will be a BBQ in the outdoor dining area. The bar then offers a range of drinks, so you can relax with a drink after your excursions.
The Sacha Lodge is best explored on tours of 4 or 5 days.
The Heath River Wildlife Center, Peru
The Heath River Wildlife Center is the only lodge in the Heath River, which runs at the edge of Tambopata National Reserve between Tambopata and Madidi National Park in Bolivia.
From the Heath River Wildlife Center, enjoy guided tours through the rainforest to find a diversity of colorful birds, monkeys, reptiles, and amphibians.
A novelty of the Heath River is that it has an area of savanna grassland home to a different community of animals and plants. One of the rarely sighted animals here are the elegant maned wolves, but also anteaters, foxes, and more. On the way here, you will pass an area where macaws come to nest. This provides a great opportunity to see a different stage of a macaw’s life.
You will also be very close to the nearby macaw clay lick. From a floating hide, you can get a bit closer to the action than on other tours. You can see hundreds of brightly colored macaws at this particular lodge providing a fantastic experience.
From the Heath River Wildlife Center, you will also visit a nearby oxbow lake to have a chance of spotting endangered giant river otters playing, hunting, and resting in their jungle home.
The Heath River Wildlife Center is best explored on tours of 4 or 5 days.
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.
The Sani Lodge, Ecuador
The Sani Lodge is a community-owned lodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest and is operated by the Sani Isla community. Enjoy guided tours by community members to find a diversity of animals and plants, but also enjoy learning about the Sani Isla culture and traditions.
You will climb a tall canopy tower to spot parrots and other colorful birds, but also to simply gaze out over the vast Amazon Rainforest. Enjoy spotting many different birds and over 565 birds have been seen from the lodge so far.
Enjoy exploring the rainforest to find golden–mantled tamarins, spider monkeys, blue and yellow macaws, and maybe white-lipped or collared peccaries.
You will also visit a Sani community house to learn how they live in the rainforest and taste typical foods, drinks, and learn about the Sani community.
The Sani Lodge is best explored on tours of 4 days or more.
Amazon River Cruises
Aside from a rainforest lodge, another way to experience the Amazon Rainforest is on an Amazon River cruise. You won’t simply be confined to the vessel aboard the following cruises, but will instead head down tributaries of the Amazon River and into incredible protected areas. Led by expert guides, enjoy skiff expeditions and forest walks to find a great many animals and plants, beautiful scenery, and some of the most untouched areas of rainforest.
The Delfin II Cruise
The Delfin II Cruise is a luxury cruise from Iquitos in northern Peru. Aboard the Delfin II, enjoy top of the line service, gourmet cuisine, fine wine, and some of the best naturalist guides in the Amazon Rainforest. You won’t simply be confined to your luxury suite and facilities, however, you’re more than welcome to simply relax on some days if you choose. Instead, you will head out each day on guided skiff expeditions away from the main vessel to explore the incredible Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.
This vast flooded forest is known as the forest of mirrors because of its reflective beauty. On Delfin II expeditions, enjoy find a variety of Amazon Rainforest animals and plants. See delicate orchids and bromeliads clinging to the tall rainforest trees, several different monkeys moving through the canopy, and even pink river dolphins playing in the water.
The monkey are one of the favorite sights in the Amazon and from the Delfin II you’re likely to spot howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, capuchins, pygmy marmosets, and titi monkeys. As well as the different monkeys, enjoy spotting two species of sloth, tree-living anteaters, and many frogs and lizards.
In addition to day excursions, you will head out at night to spotlight for nocturnal wildlife. You may see different caiman, various nocturnal birds, and more.
The Delfin II offers 3 night and 4 night cruises from Iquitos, Peru.
The Delfin I Cruise, Peru
The Delfin I is the sister ship of the Delfin II. The Delfin I offers more exclusivity and space, as the Delfin I has only 4 oversized suites. This makes it more akin to a floating luxury boutique hotel than a cruise.
Aside from the exclusivity and space, the excursions, high class gourmet cuisine, fine wine, and quality found throughout the vessel is otherwise equally high between both the Delfin I and Delfin II.
From the Delfin I, enjoy fantastic expeditions into the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve to find some incredible sights. See several different monkeys moving through the rainforest, pink river dolphins investigating your presence in their home, and hundreds of colourful and fascinating birds. You will explore the forest on guided skiff expeditions, which are modern motorised boats that enable use to get deeper into the rainforest up and down narrow tributaries.
When not on excursions, you can enjoy the facilities of the incredible Delfin I. Two of the four oversized suites have their own private whirlpool where you can cool off from the tropical climate with a drink from the cruise bar. The bed offers supreme comfort. Here, you can enjoy laying down to rest while watching the rainforest pass your floor-to-ceiling glass windows to spot toucans, parrots, and kingfishers from the comfort of your suite.
The Delfin I offers 3 night and 4 night cruises from Iquitos, Peru.
The Delfin III, Peru
The Delfin III is also known as the Amazon Discovery and is the most recent addition to the Delfin fleet. From Iquitos in northern Peru, the cruise offers one of the most affordable luxury vessels on the Amazon River and a choice of suite options depending on your requirements. This is one of the best options for single travellers especially as there are specific single cabins and no single supplement is required for the bunk or single cabins.
From the Delfin III, you will explore the rainforest of the Pacaya Samiria or between the Pacaya and Tahuayo Reserves depending on how many days you choose.
Enjoy guided expeditions to see a fantastic assemblage of Amazon Rainforest animals and plants, such as bromeliads, orchids, monkeys, parrots, toucans, cotingers, tanagers, sloths, colourful frogs, and fascinating reptiles.
The Delfin III (or Amazon Discovery) offers cruise itineraries of 3 and 6 nights from Iquitos, Peru.
The Aria Amazon Cruise, Peru
The Aria Amazon Cruise offers a luxury cruise in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve from Iquitos in northern Peru.
The first thing that will strike you about the Aria is the incredible design. Within the vessel however, you will also find elegant and stylish interiors. The air-conditioned suites are comfortably spacious at 23 square meters (250 square feet) and include floor-to-ceiling windows to allow the rainforest to decorate your room. Your ensuite bathroom then includes organic bath products and a rain shower.
Enjoy delicious gourmet dining designed by Executive Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino. The cuisine has been chosen to offer regional influence and to offer other contemporary Peruvian dishes. To accompany your meal, enjoy high-class service and a selection of fine wines.
In addition to the fantastic cruise vessel and service, you will enjoy expeditions away from the vessel on motorized skiffs. Led by some of the Amazon’s best guides, see several different monkeys, pink river dolphins, toucans, parrots, and some beautiful plants and scenery.
On the Aria Amazon Cruise, you have a choice of 3, 4 or 7 night itineraries.
The Aria AmazonIquitos, Peru
The Tucano Expedition Cruise, Brazil
The Tucano Expeditions Cruises travels deep into the Amazon Rainforest of the Rio Negro from Manaus, Brazil. The Rio Negro is the Amazon’s largest tributary and is home to some fantastic sections of tropical wilderness.
The Tucano vessel is styled as a traditional 19th Century steamship and takes you into areas of Amazonia unreachable by most other vessels.
Enjoy different expeditions into the rainforest led by some exceptional rainforest guides aboard skiff expeditions, forest walks, and even kayaking tours.
The Tucano contains 9 comfortable cabins. Most of these have individual beds and some contain above and below bunk beds. All of the cabins have private bathrooms with shower (hot water and pressurized), toilet and a sink.
There are 76 windows throughout the vessel to see the forest and each one can open and close to allow ventilation. All the cabins and the salon are then air conditioned to keep you comfortable on your cruise. The walls of the suites and salon are solid wood with raised and varnished panelling.
The Tucano offers cruises of 4 and 6 nights from Manaus, Brazil.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.
The Sandoval Lake LodgePuerto Maldonado, Peru
Amazon Rainforest Lodges • for 5 days or more
If you have five or more days to spend in the Amazon rainforest, we recommend that you head to some deeper Amazon Rainforest lodges. The deeper lodges improve your chances of seeing more abundant wildlife and some of the iconic or rare animals and plants.
We will mention our recommendations for deep lodges in Peru, Ecuador, and Brazil.