Both from an environmental and experience point of view, the best way to explore the rainforest is either on small group Amazon tours or going even smaller and choosing a private guide.
All of the tours featured on TourTheTropics.com offer small group tours or private guided expeditions, as in addition to the above factors, it provides a more personal and enjoyable tour. We will provide some examples over a few different Amazon areas, which offer some of the best experiences and tours in the rainforest.
Here, we will provide some information on some of the best small group lodge-based and cruise-based Amazon tours. We will cover deep Amazon tours to see the most wildlife, luxury tours offering incredible comfort and service in the rainforest, and tours closer to base towns to still see a lot of wildlife. These offer a great choice for short 2 or 3 day tours or for more budget conscious travelers.
As all of these tours provide incredible wildlife opportunities, the most important difference from all the experiences is whether they are lodge or cruise based. Both lodges and cruises offer their advantages, but in summary, if you would like a more comfortable experience then the recommendation is a luxury Amazon cruise.
If you would like to visit many different sections of the Amazon then a cruise is also the best option. If, however, you would like a more immersive rainforest experience to really explore a particular area then we recommend an Amazon lodge. Usually, lodges also offer more flexibility, more activities, and more time out exploring the forest.
First, let’s start with some of the best deeper Amazon tours, which will cover lodges and cruises in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. These are the best choices to see the most wildlife, as you will be exploring more pristine areas of the Amazon where the wildlife levels are higher. These lodges have all been carefully placed in the forest to maximize wildlife viewing. The cruises we will mention take you deep into the Amazon Rainforest and into protected forest areas.
Adventure | Private Guide | Custom Tour | Camping
Offering a custom and privately guided tour of the Amazon’s Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Reserve from Iquitos, north Peru, enjoy a great tour to see many different Amazon animals. On tours of 6-days or more from the Tahuayo Lodge, enjoy combining the main Tahuayo Lodge with the Tahuayo Lodge Amazon Research Center in more pristine rainforest to explore the 1,000 acre primate trail grid. Enjoy privately guided canoeing, hiking, boat tours, canopy ziplining, cultural tours, and camping experiences. See fantastic wildlife from Iquitos including several different monkeys, poison dart frogs, sloths, caiman, and colorful birds.
Tambopata Research Center
Adventure | Macaw Clay Lick | Amazon Activities
From Puerto Maldonado, Peru, the Tambopata Research Center is located in the middle of Tambopata National Reserve. Positioned near one of the Amazon’s largest clay licks visited by hundreds of macaw parrots, enjoy seeing the macaws and other parrots. Head out on guided tours in the rainforest to find different rainforest monkeys, reptiles, and amphibians, plus a choice of additional activities. These include aerobotany, cultural tours and citizen science projects.
Manu Wildlife Center
Adventure | Macaw Clay Lick | Manu National Park Combos
A fantastic lodge accessed from from Puerto Maldonado in southern Peru, explore the rainforest of Manu from Manu Wildlife Center to see large brightly colored macaw parrots, giant otters, a high chance of seeing tapir, and a 10% chance of spotting wild jaguar. The Manu Wildlife Center provides some great small group Amazon tours. Tour the rainforest to spot many different monkeys, fantastic bird life, and some of the icons of the Amazon Rainforest. To date, we don’t know of any other Amazon lodge offering such a high probability of seeing giant river otters, tapir, and such a high chance of seeing jaguar from one lodge. In addition, you can combine Manu Wildlife Center with tours to the Manu cloud forest or the Manu National Park Reserved Zone.
Heath River Wildlife Center
Adventure | Macaw Clay Lick | Rainforest & Savannah
Accessed from Puerto Maldonado in Peru, the Heath River Wildlife Center is located in the continuous rainforest between the two fantastic protected areas of Tambopata National Reserve and the Madidi National Park. This represents the world’s largest continuous area of protected tropical forest full of wildlife. Enjoy guided tours to see many different Amazon monkeys, one of the Amazon’s largest macaw parrot clay licks, a visit to the tapir clay licks and tours of the savannah. Heath River Wildlife Center is a great lodge to experience both the savannah and rainforest ecosystem to see a high diversity of different animals and plants.
Adventure | Large Canopy Towers
The best choice for an Amazon lodge in Brazil’s eastern Amazon, enjoy the Cristalino Lodge from Alta Floresta, Brazil. Explore the rainforest with your Amazon guide to find fantastic wildlife, plus many different endemics to this corner of the Amazon. Because of its location to the Pantanal and other factors, the lodge is surrounded by a high diversity of animals and plants. See several different monkeys, fantastic reptiles, and a high diversity of Amazon bird life. The lodge has two of the largest canopy towers in the Amazon, which make for fantastic views over the rainforest.
Expedition Amazon Cruise
The Tucano Cruise provides a great National Geographic recommended cruise from Manaus, Brazil. On the Amazon cruise, explore the Anavilhanas protected area and the Rio Negro, the largest Amazon tributary. Aboard the Tucano Cruise, explore fantastic rainforest areas to see Amazon Rainforest monkeys and different forest birds.
La Selva Lodge
Luxury Lodge | Adventure | Canopy Tower | Galapagos Combos
Possibly the most luxurious and comfortable lodge in the Amazon Rainforest, from La Selva Lodge enjoy fantastic service while exploring deep in Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park. Head out into the park to enjoy the parrot clay lick, see several different Amazon monkeys, and other incredible forest life. Enjoy cultural displays to test your hand at an indigenous blow gun and canoeing tours. This is a great Amazon lodge to combine with luxury Galapagos Island cruises for an incredible South American vacation.
Napo Wildlife Center
Luxury Lodge | Adventure | Canopy Tower
A very comfortable lodge in the Amazon Rainforest and a favorite among nature lovers, the Napo Wildlife Center is accessed from Coca in Ecuador and positioned in the middle of the Yasuni National Park. Enjoy guided tours to find several Amazon monkeys, fantastic bird life, various reptiles and amphibians, and tours to the Yasuni clay lick.
Expedition Amazon Cruise
A great cruise in Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest from Coca, aboard the Manatee Amazon Cruise, explore the rainforest on guided tours to see many different monkeys and diverse birdlife. Enjoy glamping as an extra activity and climb the canopy tower for views over the rainforest.
Anakonda Luxury Cruise
Luxury Amazon Cruise
The only luxury Amazon cruise in Ecuador’s rainforest, on the Anakonda Amazon Cruise enjoy fantastic guided tours to find Amazon plants and animals, including monkeys, toucans, parrots, and reptiles. Climb the canopy tower to enjoy views over the rainforest, paddle the river on kayaks, and visit the Yasuni clay lick. Relax on the comfortable vessel and enjoy delicious cuisine.
Adventure | Canopy Walkway
A great lodge to explore the canopy of the Amazon Rainforest, from Sacha Lodge enjoy their impressive canopy walkway, canopy tower, and visits to the Yasni clay lick. Enjoy guided tours in the surrounding Ecuadorian rainforest to find many different monkeys, colorful birds, and other Amazon animals. This is a particularly great lodge for birdwatching and the lodge has recorded 587 species living in the area. This represents almost 40% of all the birds in Ecuador.
Delfin I & Delfin II Luxury Cruises
Luxury Amazon Cruise
Both the Delfin I and Delfin II Luxury Amazon Cruises make a fantastic way to explore the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve near Iquitos in north Peru. The Delfin II provides very comfortable luxury-class suites, organic bath products, some of the best guides in the Amazon, and gourmet cuisine. Voyage deep in the Pacaya Samiria to find incredible wildlife, such as different monkeys, including howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, capuchins, tamarins, sakis, and titi monkeys.
Other animals you’re likely to see include fascinating reptiles, incredible birdlife, and a diversity of plants and flowers. In addition to the luxury Delfin II, you can choose the even more exclusive Delfin I, which has 4 over-sized luxury suites providing a more personal and spacious cruise.
Excellent Lodges Closer To Puerto Maldonado, Peru
Now let’s have a look at some of the Amazon’s tours a little closer to the base town of Puerto Maldonado, which still offer a fantastic wildlife experience but with less chances of the larger and rarer wildlife than the above lodges. Puerto Maldonado is one of the best places in the Amazon to find the most wildlife on a shorter and more budget friendly tour. These lodges are fantastic for seeing many Amazon monkeys, different reptiles, and fantastic bird life.
Great For First Amazon Adventure | Community-Owned
A great community-owned Amazon Lodge for a short two or three night tour, from Posada Amazonas Lodge enjoy exploring the rainforest with your guide to find different forest life. Explore the lake to find the giant otters and lake life, walk the rainforest to see different monkeys and birds, and explore the canopy tower for a great view over the rainforest. In addition to the rainforest, you can enjoy cultural tours by visiting the ethnobotanical trail and a working farm.
Sandoval Lake Lodge
Lake Tours | Giant Otters | Monkeys
Over a short two or three night tour, at the Sandoval Lake Lodge you will rise early to head out on the lake to find different monkeys feeding by the water, such as titi monkeys, howler monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and capuchins. In addition to the monkeys, you will enjoy the lake-living animals, such as the star players of the lake, the giant river otters. You will also enjoy exploring the lake to find different caiman, a variety of interesting lake birds, toucans, and parrots, and head out on a night walk to find nocturnal wildlife.
Refugio Amazonas Lodge
Family Amazon Adventure
This lodge is very similar to the Posada Amazonas Lodge mentioned above. From Refugio Amazonas Lodge, enjoy visiting a lake to find lake wildlife, explore the rainforest to find Amazon monkeys and birds, and get a bird’s eye view of the rainforest from the canopy tower. In addition to the rainforest tours, enjoy a range of other activities, such as aerobotany, ethnobotanical tours and cultural visits. In addition to this, the Refugio Amazonas Lodge contains one of the only children’s trails in the Amazon where information is presented in an easily understood manner making it a great destination for a family Amazon Rainforest adventure.