Here is a guide to tour prices for Amazon Rainforest tours and what accounts for such a difference, what you get for your money, and what to look at for different budgets.
We will break the article down to cover the different types of tours on offer in the Amazon, but keep in mind that the main factors that determine a tour’s price include fuel used to get to the lodge or on tour (this helps explain why cruises usually cost more than rainforest lodges), exclusivity, such as a private guide or a small-group cruise or tour, the quality of accommodation, service, guiding, and the wildlife you’re likely to see.
Another factor to consider is the length of time you wish to visit. If you’re planning on short tours of 2 or 3 days, make sure you pick an area of fantastic diversity close to a gateway town or city, so you don’t waste time traveling to and from the lodge. Remember that the day-to-day price decreases the longer you choose to stay.
To maximize your experience, no matter which budget you’re looking for, focus your attention on tours in an area of fantastic diversity, which means an area of Amazon forest that hasn’t been damaged by human activity. The general rule is that forest very close to cities and towns has often been damaged and the wildlife has left the area many years ago, but there are exceptions. We will cover these later.
We will go over some of the considerations for Amazon tour prices and suggest three of the top tours for each interest to give you some examples of:
- Budget Tours
- Luxury Tours
- Lodge-Based Tours
- Cruise-Based Tours
- Deep Amazon Lodges
- Short Amazon Tours
If you’re interested in a more budget conscious Amazon tour, make sure you choose an area of high biodiversity close to an Amazon gateway town. One of the best gateways for a budget tour is the Amazon town of Puerto Maldonado. This is just a short flight south of Cusco and is easily accessible from Lima.
Puerto Maldonado is a great place because the protected area of Tambopata National Reserve is so close to town. You can be in the reserve in a little over 20 minutes, which means you don’t waste time traveling to and from your lodge of choice
The Tambopata National Reserve is part of the world’s largest tract of protected tropical forest and contains an exceptional diversity of animals and plants. This section of Amazonia also contains more clay licks than anywhere else, which provide almost guaranteed wildlife sightings. Here is our recommended selection of budget Amazon tours:
The Sandoval Lake Lodge
Lake Sandoval is one of the Amazon Rainforest’s most beautiful oxbow lakes and is home to an incredible amount of wildlife. The lake formed when a winding tributary of the Amazon River changed direction, which left behind this fantastic oxbow lake that attracts a richness of rainforest animals.
On tours from Sandoval Lake Lodge Enjoy seeing many different monkeys as they visit the lake in early morning to feed on different fruits, shoots, and flowers. The monkeys you’re likely to see include capuchins, squirrel monkeys, titi monkeys, howler monkeys, and saki monkeys. This is one of the best short Amazon tours to see the most monkeys in the Amazon.
The stars of the Sandoval Lake Lodge are the giant river otters, which can often be seen playing and hunting at the lake edges. You will also enjoy night spotting for black caiman and seeing splashes of the giant Arapaima fish.
The Posada Amazonas Lodge
The Posada Amazonas Lodge is a community owned lodge in the Tambopata Rainforest of southern Peru. The Posada Amazonas provides a fantastic Amazon guided tour and comfortable rainforest accommodation accessible from the jungle town of Puerto Maldonado.
Enjoy guided tours in the surrounding rainforest to see many different animals, such as colorful birds and a range of rainforest monkeys. The monkeys you’re likely to see include howler monkeys, titi monkeys, tamarins, and capuchins.
The Posada Amazonas has a fantastic canopy tower where you can enjoy spotting different birds, such as toucans and parrots, and may even see monkeys moving their way through the forest.
From the Posada Amazonas, you can also enjoy a massage in the Posada’s spa area, enjoy night walks scouting for nocturnal animals, dedicated birdwatching, and take part in different cultural activities.
The Refugio Amazonas Lodge
The Refugio Amazonas Lodge is a great choice for soft-adventure in the Amazon Rainforest, which means it’s easy to reach and offers some favorite activities. In addition to wildlife and culture, you can also explore citizen science projects, such as aerobotany.
As a bonus, the Refugio Amazonas has a large spa area so you can enjoy a massage or spa treatment surrounded by Amazon Rainforest. This makes it a great choice for families as well, as children also have their own children’s trail around the lodge to communicate information in fun and interesting ways for kids.
Enjoy guided tours in the rainforest to spot a range of rainforest wildlife, such as several different monkeys, colorful birds, amphibians, and interesting reptiles. Recently, guests have enjoyed seeing harpy eagles around the lodge as our guides have found some favorite nesting sites.
You can also enjoy the canopy tower to spot different toucans, parrots, parakeets, and monkeys. This is also just a great way to gaze over the wonderful shades of green of the wildlife-rich Amazonian canopy.
Luxury Amazon Tours
Luxury tours treat you to the most comfortable way to experience this astounding Amazon environment and spoil you with impeccable service, gourmet food, fine wine, and fantastic wildlife guides. Because all aspects of the experience are maximized, luxury level Amazon tours represent the high-end side of the scale.
For a luxury rainforest experience, again it’s important to choose an area rich in wildlife and it’s often better to focus on protected areas. Some of the best places for a luxury tour include the flooded Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in northern Peru and the world-renowned Yasuni National Park in Ecuador. We will provide three recommended luxury experience for these areas below.
The Delfin I Cruise
The Delfin I is a highly exclusive Amazon cruise into the Pacaya Samiria Reserve from Iquitos, Peru, and was designed with only 4 over-sized suites to provide maximum space and comfort for guests. Combined with this, enjoy exquisitely comfortable accommodation, gourmet food, fine wine, and some of the best guides in the Amazon Rainforest. Two of the suites feature a private cold-water whirlpool.
Enjoy world-class hospitality and personal service aboard a vessel that features private, panoramic terraces, floor-to-ceiling windows to allow the Amazon to decorate your suite, and 3-times-daily cabin service to make sure you have everything you want on your adventure.
The observation deck features very comfortable, soft couches to enjoy stargazing or watching the Amazon Rainforest in the fresh air and the vessel also features a bar and entertainment center. These are perfect places to relax after your daily guided-wildlife tour and skiff-excursions.
The Delfin II Cruise
The Delfin II is the sister ship of the Delfin I and begins from Iquitos in northern Peru. The Delfin II provides more suites, but offers an equally high standard of service. The suites are not oversized like the Delfin I, but each features the most comfortable linen, large comfortable beds, organic toiletries and body creams, and large 180° panoramic windows. Enjoy laying on your comfortable bed looking over Amazonia as you travel deep into the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.
Each day you will head out into the rainforest to find some iconic inhabitants of Amazonia, such as several different monkeys, toucans, parrots, capybara, and hopefully some rarer wildlife. The monkeys you’re likely to see include howler monkeys, titi monkeys, squirrel monkeys, sakis, tamarins, and marmosets. You will also be looking to the trees to spot the many sloths that enjoy resting in the canopy.
The dining room on the upper deck is sure to become a favorite place where you will be served delicious food. Enjoy Peruvian and international favorites with different juices and delicious desserts flavored with fruits from the surrounding rainforest.
La Selva Lodge
For a luxurious lodge-based experience, we recommend La Selva Lodge, which sits in the Yasuni National Park of Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest. Enjoy some incredible views from the tower, which is part of the main building and even the dining room and bar overlook some spectacular sections of forest.
Enjoy guided tours around the Yasuni National Park to spot many colorful birds, including parrots at the small clay licks, macaws flying overhead, and toucans perched on the branches. We will also be looking up to the trees to catch sight of two species of sloth often found here. While walking through the jungle, we will be on the lookout for a diversity of monkeys, including howler monkeys, woolly monkeys, and possibly some spiders monkeys. The smaller monkeys will also be seen making their way through the forest, such as squirrel monkeys, different tamarins, and the much-loved marmosets.
Enjoy exploring this incredible section of Amazonia on canoes and by foot around many trails. The trails have been carefully positioned to maximize wildlife sightings or to show off some particular feature of the Amazon. La Selva Lodge consistently wins prizes in tourism and sustainable tourism for its fantastic experience. The lodge itself sits on Lake Garzacocha and the accommodation was based on traditional bamboo housing. Enjoy very comfortable suites, excellent wildlife, delicious food, and the relaxing in-house spa for massages or spa treatments to maximize your enjoyment in this incredible ecosystem.
Lodge-Based Amazon Tours
Lodge-based tours are often a lower cost than cruise-based experiences because of the less fuel used on tour, which is often the highest cost for Amazon tour operators. This also explain why deeper Amazon tours are often a higher cost than lodges closer to a gateway town, but we will cover this a little later.
A lodge-based experience allows you a more intimate experience with the rainforest and means you can spend more time exploring a specific area. The advantage of this if you choose a well-respected lodge is that the guides have usually spent years exploring the area for the best spots to see different animals and plants. The lodges themselves are often specifically positioned after years exploring the Amazon to find the best sites. This is why the best lodges are often near areas for almost guaranteed wildlife sightings and are often near protected areas, clay licks that attract different wildlife, or at the edge of wildlife-filled Amazonian lakes.
Here we will suggest three of our recommended lodge-based experiences to see fantastic wildlife, which will be suited to different budgets and time frames. Each of these lodges has its own fantastic feature for exploring the forest, such as a canopy zipline, tall canopy tower, or a canopy swing bridge.
The Tahuayo Lodge
The Tahuayo Lodge consistently ranks as one of the best experiences in the Amazon Rainforest. Over an 8 day tour, you will enjoy a stay at two different lodges, which include the main Tahuayo Lodge and the Tahuayo Amazon Research Center.
Enjoy a privately guided tour with a custom itinerary, which means you can focus on your interests, such as photography, birding, canoeing, hiking, wildlife watching, or a more general experience of the Amazon Rainforest. This is one of the best priced Amazon tours considering that it’s private guided, provides two deep Amazon lodges, and is in an area of incredible wildlife.
The Tahuayo Lodge is also home to the longest canopy zipline system in the Amazon Rainforest, which has been enjoyed by children right through to their grandparents. In addition to this, which is why it also ranked on our list of the top adventure tours in the Amazon, the Tahuayo Lodge provides some excellent camping experiences in the rainforest.
Behind the research center, you can then enjoy the 1000 acre primate research grid to find several different monkeys, including capuchins, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, tamarins, marmosets, and saki monkeys. A few lucky visitors get to see the rare red uakari monkeys, which were the reason for the foundation of the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve. Enjoy exploring the reserve with your guide to find some of the Amazon’s best wildlife experiences.
The Cristalino Lodge
Another highly rated Amazon lodge for Brazil’s southern Amazon Rainforest, enjoy expertly guided tours in canoe and on forest trails to find an incredible range of rainforest life.
The lodge sits in the rainforest that borders the Pantanal, which is another of the world’s most wildlife-rich areas, so the species amounts rocket up and means you have a high chance of spotting some fantastic animals. In addition to this, there are many species living around the Cristalino Lodge and the Cristalino Reserve that are found nowhere else on Earth. Enjoy spotting a range of monkeys, colorful birds, fascinating reptiles, and fantastically patterned frogs.
The Cristalino Lodge has two giant canopy towers, which rank as the largest canopy towers in Amazonia. From these structures, enjoy unparalleled views over the rainforest’s canopy to spot a range of wildlife, including colorful birds like toucans and different parrots, plus chance sightings of monkeys making their way through the canopy.
The lodge itself offers very comfortable accommodation and the Cristalino Foundation is dedicated to sustainable tourism, conservation, and educating surrounding communities on the importance of Amazonia.
The Sacha Lodge
The Sacha Lodge sits in the Amazon Rainforest near the Yasuni National Park and the Cubayano Reserve providing a fantastic wildlife experience. Enjoy the lodge’s massive canopy walkway, which really has to be seen to be believed.
The walkway at the Sacha Lodge stands around 94 feet (30 meters) from ground level and stretches 940-foot (275-meter) through the rainforest. Combined with this incredible structure and the Sacha Lodge’s fantastic Amazon guides, the birds you can see on a Sacha Lodge tour are incredible.
Enjoy guided walks through the rainforest to see a range of wildlife, including the Yasuni parrot lick, troops of monkeys making their way through the forest, and fascinating reptiles. Around 60 different species of mammal are found within this reserve.
Cruise-Based Amazon Tours
Although a cruise-based Amazon tour is often a higher price, there are some notable advantages to cruising the Amazon’s waters instead of staying at an Amazon lodge. From a cruise, you will visit different areas of the Amazon and have an opportunity to see places that vary in wildlife communities and scenery.
Cruises also keep you comfortable and separated from the rainforest while resting and offer a more hotel-like environment. This also means minimal mosquitoes and creepy crawlies. Many cruises are equipped with air-conditioning to keep you comfortable when you’re back aboard and often have better facilities for preparing better cuisine.
The Tucano Amazon Cruise
The Tucano Cruise is a fantastic cruise from the Amazon city of Manaus in northern Brazil. The Tucano Amazon Cruise was recognized by National Geographic as offering one of the Amazon’s best experiences and takes visitors on a cruise down the Rio Negro and deep into the Amazon Rainforest.
Enjoy spotting different animals, see beautiful plants, and learn about local communities. Head into the Anavilhanas Reserve to see many different birds with hundreds to spot on tour.
Manaus is the largest city in the Amazon Rainforest and is where many visitors choose to experience Amazonia. The Tucano continues to rank as one of the best cruises from the city for a fantastic adventure. Like the other cruises mentioned on this page, the Tucano Cruise is an expedition cruise, which means you won’t simply stay aboard the main vessel but will head into the forest on guided walks and explore the waterways on skiff expeditions. This helps us maximize wildlife encounters and provides you a more adventurous cruise.
The Delfin II River Cruise
The Delfin II River Cruise provides a fantastic and very comfortable cruise into the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve from Iquitos, Peru. With 14 guest suites, including four with 180° panoramic windows and a larger area at the front of the vessel, each fitted with movie screen sized windows, very comfortable bed and linen, organic toiletries, and special touches, you’re sure to enjoy your voyage in utmost comfort.
To keep you comfortable, the Delfin II is fitted with an observation deck and lounge, bar, entertainment center, and library. The dining room is where you will enjoy delicious meals with many dishes influenced by your rainforest surroundings. The table decorations will change for each meal to add a new ambience to each dining experience.
The observation deck is fitted with big, soft sofas and the bar is nearby, so you can relax in the Amazon’s fresh air with a cocktail after your guided expeditions into the Pacaya Samiria Reserve.
On your expeditions, enjoy spotting many different monkeys, fascinating birds, reptiles, and delicate frogs. The Pacaya is one of Peru’s most wildlife-filled protected areas and you’re sure to have some memorable experiences.
The Delfin III Cruise
From Iquitos, Peru, the Delfin III is a larger vessel on the Amazon River than the Delfin II or Tucano, but allows a little luxury at a lower price. Enjoy hardwood floors, designer furniture, and handmade Peruvian artifacts decorating the vessel. There are four classes of room to choose from to provide your choice of comfort and space on your adventure. On the lower deck, there are 8 Suites with floor to ceiling panoramic windows and two spacious Corner Suites at the front of the vessel. The upper deck features 10 Suites and one very large Owner’s Suite.
In addition to suites, the top deck includes an indoor and outdoor lounge, a sundeck with plunge pool, a spa and gym, and the bar. While aboard, enjoy the finest linens, soft robes and slippers, all natural therapeutic toiletries, and even telescopes for star-gazing. The vessel also includes a spa area for massages and a range of spa treatments with a fantastic window to continue enjoying the surrounding Amazon Rainforest.
Of course, you will enjoy guided tours through the rainforest to find many fantastic animals and plants. Enjoy spotting several different monkeys of the reserve, toucans, parrots, hoatzins, and night-spot for intimidating black caiman on some evenings.
Deep Amazon Tours
Aside from luxury lodges, the other major factor to determine the differences in price for Amazon tours is how deep they are in the rainforest. The deeper in the rainforest the tours are, the more fuel is required to transport visitors there and back, but what you get for this money is often more wildlife. Wildlife deep in the rainforest is at carrying capacity as human impacts haven’t had a detrimental effect on communities here.
If you’re interested in maximizing wildlife sightings, we recommend the deep Amazon Rainforest lodges, which are often positioned near areas for fantastic wildlife sightings, such as large macaw clay licks, areas to see tapir (the Amazon’s largest land-living mamma) and you even have a higher chance of spotting jaguar and other rare wildlife.
The following deep Amazon lodges have been chosen as they offer the highest chances for seeing a range of wildlife and some of the icons of the Amazon Rainforest, such as macaws and tapir.
The Manu Wildlife Center
The Manu Wildlife Center has been mentioned by Conde Nast Traveler as offering the “most intense wildlife experience in Amazonia” and we can certainly understand why. From this one lodge positioned deep in the Amazon Rainforest around Manu National Park, enjoy the nearby oxbow lake with its resident giant river otters and one of the largest and most photogenic clay licks in the rainforest. This particular clay lick is visited by hundreds of brightly colored macaw parrots each day. After seeing the lively and colorful macaws, you can enjoy the tapir clay lick to see the Amazon’s largest land mammal.
In addition to these fantastic and iconic wildlife experiences, enjoy professionally guided walks on a number of rainforest trails to spot several different monkeys, such as howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, capuchins, tamarins, and marmosets. Enjoy chance sightings of capybara on the river and 10% of guests enjoy seeing wild jaguar. These factors make this one of the best lodges in the Amazon Rainforest for wildlife sightings.
The Tambopata Research Center
The Tambopata Research Center is positioned in the middle of the incredible Tambopata National Reserve. Enjoy the nearby macaw clay lick where you can see hundreds of brightly colored macaw parrots, which are often regarded as the icons of this fantastic forest. Because of its proximity to the lick, the Tambopata Research Center is in association with a number of universities studying the macaws and you’re free to interact with researchers to learn more about these fantastic birds.
The Tambopata National Reserve is part of the world’s largest area of continuous protected tropical forest and is home to fantastic animals and plants. In addition to the clay lick, enjoy guided tours through the surrounding rainforest to spot several different monkeys, including howler monkeys, tamarins, marmosets, squirrel monkeys, capuchins, and hopefully some of the rarer species like spider monkeys. The birdlife here is fantastic and you’re sure to see hundreds of different species, including parakeets, tanagers, macaws, and aracari toucans.
The Heath River Wildlife Center
The Heath River Wildlife Center offers a fantastic experience of the Amazon Rainforest. The star attraction is the large macaw clay lick to see hundreds of macaws gathered at the clay. The great thing about this lodge is the floating hide, which means you can get closer to the action for better photography opportunities of these magnificent birds.
Enjoy guided tours around the many different trails taking you deep into this section of continuous forest, which lies between the Tambopata National Reserve and the Madidi National Park. The wildlife you’re likely to see include a number of colorful birds, such as tanagers and parrots, and different monkeys, including howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, capuchins, tamarins, marmosets, and spider monkeys.
In addition to the rainforest habitat, the Heath River Wildlife Center provides access to the savanna habitat where researchers have recently discovered the elegant maned wolves living in the area, plus an abundance of different animals and plants. To reach this environment, we will travel through blue and yellow macaw nesting areas to see these fantastic birds.
Short Amazon Tours
Ideal tours for a few days in the rainforest mirror the best tours for budget experiences, as a lodge in a wildlife-rich section of forest close to a gateway town is the preference. This means it doesn’t take long to reach the lodge and so you have more time to spend in the Amazon. Because it doesn’t take a long time to reach the lodge, operators spend less money on fuel, which saves you money and mean these lodges can also be the best places for a budget experience. That is of course unless you choose to treat yourself at a luxurious and exclusive lodge, such as the Amazon Villa.
A great place to enjoy tours for a few days in the Amazon is Puerto Maldonado as the Tambopata National Reserve is so close to the town. On tours to the Sandoval Lake Lodge, it means you can be at the lodge in around 25 minutes making it a fantastic choice to maximize your experience on a short Amazon tour.
Sandoval Lake Lodge
The Sandoval Lake Lodge is nestled on the Lago Sandoval, a fantastic wildlife-rich lake and one of the most beautiful in the Amazon Rainforest. The lake is home to a family of giant river otters, which you can see on tour. Each morning you will be paddled around the lake on a small raft-like catamaran to enjoy spotting the wildlife.
You won’t just see the giant river otters, but will also see prehistoric-looking hoatzin birds, colorful herons, and parrots at the lake edges. Spot toucans dueling in the branches and several different monkeys in the surrounding forest. The monkeys visit the lake to feed on different fruits, shoots, and leaves and you can find a variety of species. The species you’re likely to spot at Sandoval include squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, capuchins, marmosets, and tamarins.
A fantastic community owned lodge in southern Peru, the Posada Amazonas Lodge provides a great experience of the southern Amazon Rainforest. Enjoy lake tours to see resident giant river otters and climb the canopy tower for a birds-eye view of the forest. From this height, see parrots, parakeets, tanagers, and toucans flying high over the Amazon and you may even spot some monkeys moving through the canopy.
Enjoy guided tours in the surrounding rainforest to spot many different animals, including several different monkeys, colorful birds, amphibians, and reptiles. We will also visit a small clay lick often frequented by parakeets, small parrots, and sometimes small mammals.
The lodge provides a range of comfortable suites and you can choose from a range of activities, including an optional visit to to a large macaw claylick and relaxing at the lodge with a massage in the small spa room.
The Amazon Villa
The Amazon Villa provides a luxurious experience in the rainforest of Tambopata where you enjoy your own exclusive villa in Amazonia. Enjoy WiFi connectivity and a relaxing hot-water bath in your own private lodge.
The private service begins at the airport where we collect you in a private shuttle to transport you to the Amazon Villa and doesn’t end until your return. The lodge is located near the Refugio Amazonas Lodge at the buffer zone of Tambopata National Reserve and you are more than welcome to join Refugio guests for dinner. Alternatively, you can enjoy romantic dinners for two at the villa with your own personal service.
Choose to simply relax in your own private lodge or pick from a range of activities, such as trail walks to find different monkeys, toucans, parrots, reptiles and colorful frogs. The monkeys you’re likely to see include squirrel monkeys, marmosets, tamarins, capuchins, and howler monkeys. The area is also a favorite nesting site of the famous harpy eagles so make sure you ask if any birds have been seen recently.