The More You Know: Amazon Safety Tips for Your Jungle River Cruise
Are you embarking on an Amazon River cruise soon?
Home to 10 percent of the planet’s known species and over half of the planet’s rainforest, the Amazon is certainly a bucket list worthy destination.
But, while traveling to the Amazon will certainly be a memorable experience, there are some safety precautions that you need to keep in mind.
By keeping certain safety precautions in mind, you’ll have nothing but a great time in the Amazon.
So, what do you need to know before you embark on your cruise?
Read on to learn the top Amazon safety tips for your jungle river cruise.
Update Your Vaccines Beforehand
Before you live for your Amazon River cruise, it is very important that you update your vaccines.
The wet climate combined with the undeveloped infrastructure of South American can expose travelers to diseases carried by insects and can increase the possibility of consuming contaminated food or water.
Therefore, before you leave, it is very important that you talk to your healthcare professional about any recommended vaccines. And during your trip, you will want to carry records of your vaccines with you.
This is because some countries in South America actually require you to have vaccines before entering.
While vaccines can vary from place to place, you will typically need a vaccine for yellow fever.
It’s also usually recommended that you take malaria pills ahead of time. Usually, you’re required to take the pills three weeks prior to embarking on your trip, so make sure you give yourself enough time to do that.
In addition, you will want to bring insect repellant that contains a high amount of deet, just in case you do happen to get bitten by a mosquito. It’s also smart to pack some hydrocortisone, just in case a mosquito does happen to bite you.
Stay Close to Your Group and Guide
Most river cruises involve some time exploring the jungle. Undoubtedly, this jungle exploration will be one of the highlights of your trip.
However, you need to make sure you don’t wander off and that you’re always sticking close to your guide and your group. This is because while the Amazon contains a lot of beautiful species of insects and other animals, it also contains some deadly ones.
Staying on the path and sticking with your guide is the best way to avoid any encounters with dangerous animals.
That being said, it’s still smart to bring a safety whistle with you, just in case you do get separated from the group.
Don’t Touch or Approach Wildlife
During your Amazon cruise, you will have the opportunity to see species of animals and plants you have never seen before.
While these animals and plants are certainly fascinating, it is very important that you never try to touch them or approach them.
This is because approaching certain animals can trigger a defense mechanism in them. Otherwise, you may discover that what you thought was a cute frog was actually a poisonous creature ready to strike.
Keep in mind that plants can be poisonous as well, so it is very important that you don’t touch any of them unless you have the permission of your guide.
While motion sickness isn’t usually an issue, as the riverboats tend to move very slowly, it’s still a good idea to bring some pills with you.
The last thing you want is to be nauseous, dizzy, and vomiting on your river cruise.
Speaking of pills, it is also very important that you bring a realistic supply of all your medications for your trip. While there are definitely pharmacies in South America (most you do not need a prescription for), certain medications are very hard to come by.
Therefore, it’s best that you don’t leave anything to chance and bring enough to last you through your whole trip.
Pack the Right Things
Packing the right things for your trip to the Amazon isn’t just about being safe, it’s also about being comfortable.
While most river cruises will have first aid kits on board, there are other items you won’t want to forget. These include:
- Sunscreen: Remember, Ecuador and other parts of South America lie directly on the equatorial line. This means that even when the sun isn’t shining, the proximity can still cause sunburn. It is very important to bring sunscreen with a high SPF and to wear it every day
- Waterproof poncho
- Safety whistle
- Sun hat/cap
- Vaccine record
- Malaria pills
- Biodegradable toilet paper
- Bedding and mosquito net (your tour might provide these, so ask beforehand)
- Water-resistant day pack
- Proper clothing- This will somewhat vary depending what time you go and what part of the Amazon you are in. Generally, though, you will want to make sure to bring long sleeve shirts, pants, comfortable hiking shoes or tennis shoes, and clothing made of breathable cotton
- Anti-diarrhea medicine
- Bathing suit
If your river cruise involves camping outside, you will also want to talk to your tour guide about tents or any other extra supplies you need to bring for that.
General South America Safety
There’s a good chance that you will also be spending some time traveling to other cities before or after your trip to the Amazon. For this, there are some extra safety precautions you’ll want to keep in mind.
In general, South American people are extremely friendly and hospitable. In fact, many South American countries are frequently voted as some of the friendliest countries in the world.
That being said, like anywhere you travel, you need to exercise caution, as crime can be an issue in some of the bigger cities. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and flashing around expensive items like cell phones or cameras.
If you take a backpack or purse out with you during the day, make sure you are always keeping an eye on it and have it close to your side.
Also, be aware of any distractions. Distraction is one of the main tactics pickpocketers use to steal money. Typically, thieves work in pairs, and while one distracts you (asking you directions, giving you a compliment, etc) the other steals your money.
And lastly, be careful about which taxis you take. There are some people who pose as taxi drivers in order to steal your money.
Have your hotel or hostel call you a taxi, or download a taxi app, such as Uber.
Amazon Safety: Are You Ready to Take on the Jungle?
By keeping these Amazon safety tips in mind, you will certainly have an enjoyable experience on your river cruise.
If you have any questions about these safety tips, please let us know in the comments below.
Otherwise, if you haven’t booked your trip yet, be sure to check out our Amazon River cruise options.