After choosing your Amazon tour, it’s a good idea to start looking up what to take to the Amazon Rainforest. The main things to note are:
- The Amazon is hot and humid
- Rain often falls in the rainforest
- On the forest floor there are ants and termites
- Mosquitoes can be a nuisance at dawn and dusk
- The sun can be intense as we’re on the equator
- You will be out on treks for a couple of hours at a time
- As it’s hot, you will sweat so need to stay hydrated
- Sometimes you will head out on night expeditions to spot wildlife
- There are many fascinating things to see all around you
- Some very interesting animals and plants are high in the trees
- Cruises are a different base environment to lodges
Let’s now go over these main points and look at what this means for what to take to the Amazon.
First of all, the weather is hot, humid and can be wet. With this in mind, the clothes to take to the Amazon should be loose-fitting cotton or quick-dry material (depending on preference). You will often be given rubber boots for walks (message the tour to ask), so footwear concerns should be focussed on what you’re comfortable wearing for boat rides, walking around the lodge, or on the cruise.
After your expeditions, it’s then a great idea to take sandals or flip flops to let your feet breathe while you’re back at the lodge or cruise. Always make sure you’re walking in boots or shoes that cover the ankle, as you never know what you’ll encounter in the Amazon, such as spiders, snakes, or stinging plants.
As it will rain at some point, take a poncho or raincoat and a day pack to put it in while you’re on expeditions. A wide brimmed hat is also good to protect against both rain and sun. Because the sun can be very intense, especially while you’re on boat rides or canoeing, take sunscreen and apply this before you set out each morning.
As it’s a humid and wet environment, plan on taking some zip lock bags of different sizes to protect sensitive equipment while away from your lodge or cruise. If you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking or camping experiences, also think about taking some dry bags, which are great to protect your belongings from the elements or accidentally dropping your bag in the water.
Not only great to protect from the weather, zip lock bags are great for protecting against ants and termites, especially on more adventurous treks, as these insects try and make anywhere home. If you place items on the floor (locals hang their things on trees or make specific poles for the purpose), you will find you may have some uninvited guests in your pack.
Mosquitoes are probably the main nuisance and are at their most intense around dawn and dusk. They’re less likely to bite if you’re moving, but plan on taking some environmentally friendly mosquito repellent. The best protection will be your clothing and for this reason we recommend long sleeved shirts and pants (a loose fit helps keep mosquitoes at bay). For dealing with bites, a great product is tiger balm to relieve itching.
There are now many mosquito-proof clothing options on the market and some of these are very good. There are also some mosquito repellent pads you may like to try, which you can stick on bags or hats etc.
Preventing bites is preferable even if you’re one of the lucky people who doesn’t react. Mosquitoes are the main disease carrying organism and can transport yellow fever, dengue fever and malaria. For this reason, visit a travel medical professional and let them know where you’re planning to visit to make sure you have the recommended medication.
Medkits are one of the most important things to take with you to any tropical destination. Travel med kits usually come with different medications to treat a wide range of conditions when you’re far from medical attention, even containing medicine for stomach aches, allergies, and cuts. They often contain a self-treatment book to help when medical help is unavailable.
Remember to take a water bottle and put this in your day pack. As its hot and you may not be used to the heat, you will sweat a lot and need to stay hydrated. This is also a reason many of the foods you will eat may have a higher than usual salt content as it’s very important to keep your salts up. It also won’t hurt to take some re-hydration powder and keep this in your medkit. This is also a very good idea if you eat something that doesn’t agree with you.
Plastic is a worldwide problem and this becomes very apparent when traveling. On the Amazon River, you will see bottles and plastic waste on the riverbank. To avoid being part of problem, we recommend using a refillable water-bottle and treating your water instead of purchasing disposable plastic bottles. For more information, you can visit the TAP website and download their helpful guide here.
You may get the option to go swimming in some nice river ways or lakes, so remember to take some swimwear. Even if you don’t think you’ll need it, it’s a good idea as after a long hike in the tropical weather, a dip in the water is very inviting.
A flashlight is another good thing to take. Although many lodges have electricity powered by generators or solar panels, sometimes you need a little more light. You also never know if this will last or if this only works for certain hours. In addition to this, a great idea is to take a headlamp for when you head out on night excursions. A good quality headlamp frees up your hand and some have the option of a red light, which should cause less disturbance to wildlife.
Because there are so many fascinating things to see, you should definitely take a camera. Even if you don’t invest in a good size SLR, a quality point and shoot is worth the investment. Remember that much of the wildlife may be a good distance away, so something with a reasonable zoom will give an advantage. Binoculars are also a great idea, especially if you have an interest in birds or want a closer look at some of the many different monkeys.
River vessels are a bit different to Amazon lodges, especially some of the luxury-class Amazon River cruises. Because of this, you can afford to take some nicer clothing options on cruises, as luxury vessels often have air-conditioning and provide a more hotel-like environment.
I hope that helps with some suggestions on what to take to the Amazon. Remember that if you have time before your visit, you will be able to get many of the things you need in the country you’re visiting, but with much less of a selection in the rainforest gateway town itself.