Explore the Amazon Rainforest: 4 Best Countries to See the Amazon
The Amazon Rainforest is known for having one of the best natural sights globally. And because of its biodiversity, many adventurers are interested in exploring the rainforest.
Many South American countries have access to the Amazon Rainforest. So, here are four countries that can help you enjoy your Amazon trip:
Unlike Brazil, Peru isn’t the first thing you think of when you think of the Amazon Rainforest. What you may not know is that Peru has the most extensive protected flooded forest globally. It’s called the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve.
It also has the most number of clay licks or clay deposits in South America. That is critical because these clay deposits are where many birds and mammals congregate to consume clay. That means that these clay licks are great locations to find numerous animals in the Amazon Rainforest.
The Central Amazon is the best connected to Peru, so it’s best to head there if you want the ease of access.
You can get there from the capital city of Peru, Lima, and go to the roads leading to several jungle towns La Merced, Satipo, and Pucallpa. You can also get to Pucallpa by plane starting from Lima, which may be more convenient.
Swim in the Amazon
There are many scary stories about swimming in the Amazon Rainforest, especially the Amazon River and other major rivers.
If swimming in the Amazon has been something that you’ve always wanted to do, you can do it with the advice of a local or tour guide. They know the safest spots to swim in.
Try Amazon Ceviche
Ceviche is a popular Peruvian dish, and interestingly enough, there’s even a different version of the ceviche if you’re around the Amazon.
Amazon Peruvian Ceviche uses freshwater fish caught in the Amazon Rainforest instead of fish from the ocean. It’s just as good as any Peruvian Ceviche, has a more interesting background, and goes with the whole Amazon Rainforest theme.
Enjoy a Boat Trip
An everyday activity when you’re in the Amazon Rainforest would be a boat trip. Since the Amazon River is the largest globally, enjoying it with a boat tour makes sense.
From the amazing rainforest and river to floating villages, you’ll have plenty of amazing sights to see along the way.
Several bird species call the Amazon Rainforest their home, so it makes sense that you should do some bird watching here if you can.
The Peruvian area of the Amazon Rainforest, in particular, is exceptionally conducive to some bird watching. As we’ve mentioned before, Peru has the most clay licks, which many birds swarm to, including the ever-colorful bird species: the Macaws.
The Amazon Rainforest covers about 60% of the entirety of the country of Brazil. Thus, it has the largest size of rainforest that you can explore compared to the other countries that have access to the Amazon.
It’s the country most people frequently go to when they think of enjoying the Amazon Rainforest. However, that made it a more commercialized area than others.
The fastest way to get to the Amazon when you’re in Brazil is by boarding a plane and heading to the city of Manaus. Manaus is also a convenient place to book a session with local tour operators. There are many boat trips and other tours that you can get in the area.
If you want, you can also stop by Jau National Park as it is close by. It’s a World Heritage Site and has in-house accommodations available if you’re going to stay the night.
Boat From Peru
If you want to move from Iquitos in Peru to Brazil, you can do so.
Iquitos is a city in the Peruvian Amazon known for being the largest city globally that can’t be reached by road. So much so that you’ll need to take a three-day boat trip from Iquitos to Tabatinga, where the borders of Peru, Colombia, and Brazil come together.
Exploring the Amazon’s Wildlife
You can’t head to the Amazon Rainforest without exploring the wildlife, which is fantastic both day and night. There are many waterways and of course, the forest that you can explore while you’re there.
By the way, since the name of the Amazon Rainforest has the word rainforest in it, you should assume that it will be raining quite frequently. Therefore, it’s a good idea to bring your trusty and high-quality rain jacket with you to explore the Amazon wildlife.
Don’t forget to get a waterproof bag cover if you’re keeping items that can’t get wet in your bag.
Seeing the Spectacular Meeting of the Waters
If you want to see the fantastic art that only Mother Nature can provide, one of the best things to see would be the Meeting of the Waters.
The Meeting of the Waters is where the Rio Negro, an almost-black-colored river, and the Amazon River, a sandy-colored river, meet. You can see a wavy outline that borders these two rivers, making for a spectacular sight that you’ll rarely ever see anywhere else.
If you want some extreme activity to do while you’re in the Amazon, consider taking a kayak tour. The best thing about going on a kayak tour is that it will be a serene tour throughout the Amazon. It’s not the most commercialized thing to do yet when you’re in the Amazon, which means you can see less touristy places.
If you want to go on a more lengthy boat tour to capture multiple must-see spots in the Amazon, then going on a Jungle Cruise is one of the best options to do there. You can have plenty of choices depending on what you need.
If you want larger river cruises that have more luxury, you can do that. If you want a smaller but more serene cruise, these smaller boats can lead you to narrower parts of the rivers.
Ecuador has the least when it comes to the parts of the Amazon Rainforest within its borders, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worthy of your attention. It can even be an underrated way to enjoy the Amazon Rainforest.
Unlike the other South American countries close to the Amazon Rainforest borders, Ecuador’s slice is more pristine. That’s because it’s not as commercialized. Thus, it’s best for a quieter and less tourist atmosphere.
The most convenient way to reach the Amazon from Ecuador is by chartering a plane from Ecuador’s larger cities to the smaller airports.
Usually, people would start from the city of Quito on a flight to El Coca. The flight would take you less than an hour until arrival.
When chartering these small planes, you shouldn’t be surprised if one of your co-passengers would be livestock instead of people.
Unlike the other countries, you’ll find that to get to the Ecuadorian part of the Amazon Rainforest is much more accessible. That’s why you can also access the Amazon Rainforest by road.
If you’re starting in the city of Quito, you can take a 10-hour bus ride to El Coca. You can also go to other smaller towns such as Tena.
If you don’t mind waiting longer, the bus route may be the best option for you.
Canoeing Along the Rio Napo
We’ve mentioned kayaking along the Amazon River before, but you can also enjoy canoeing along the Rio Napo. Many people also consider canoeing up to some of the lodges in the Amazon Rainforest, like La Selva Lodge.
It would undoubtedly be a more adventurous and exciting way to commute to your accommodations than the more direct approach.
Along the way, you might be able to see some wild animals. The local guide should be able to show you which spots are ripe for this opportunity.
Hiking in Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest
Nothing will make you feel like an adventurer than going on a hike in the Amazon Rainforest.
Since it has some of the most bio-diverse areas worldwide, hiking is one of the best ways to appreciate it. There are many more accessible parts of the Amazon Rainforest that you can see by hiking than with a boat anyway.
With that said, make sure that you have a local guide if you plan on hiking. Never hike alone, even if you are an experienced hiker. It’s best to be safe, after all.
Visit the Galapagos Islands
When you think of Ecuador, you’re most likely thinking of the Galapagos Islands more than the Amazon Rainforest anyway. Therefore, if you’re going to make a nature trip out of your journey to Ecuador, you might as well visit the Galapagos Islands while you’re at it.
Given the lack of predators around the Galapagos Islands, you’ll find that many animals have no fear of humans, which is interesting. However, it’s best to respect their space still and leave them be.
Explore the Amazon Jungle
The Ecuadorian Amazon Jungle isn’t just home to the wildlife and all sorts of unique flora. They are also home to Ecuadorian indigenous communities.
They are known for their culture and friendly demeanor that you might want to connect with and learn more about.
These are also parts of the Amazon Jungle experience that are worthwhile when you’re in Ecuador. Plus, it’s also one of the things that’s unique about the Ecuadorian side of the Amazon Jungle.
A considerable part of the country of Colombia is a part of the Amazon Rainforest, much like Brazil. Many of the Colombian Amazonia is more remote, even from the other parts of the country.
The best place to start your Colombian Amazon Rainforest experience would be in the town of Leticia. That’s where most people go since it’s a great place to enjoy either the rainforest or the rivers, or both.
To get to Leticia, Colombia, the best method of travel would be by boarding a plane.
Luckily, you can easily book a flight from the capital of Colombia, Bogotá, to Leticia. LATAM and Avianca are two Colombian airlines that provide daily flights to Leticia from Bogotá.
The price for a flight ticket is not too outrageous either. Thus, you don’t have to worry too much about that if you do your research beforehand.
If you want to cross the Peru-Colombia border, you can take a boat from Iquitos down to Santa Rosa, which is already near Leticia. You can also go by the same method except heading up the river from Manaus in Brazil. You’ll land in Tabatinga, which is a town that’s a land border away from Leticia.
Amazon River Tour
There are also plenty of Amazon River Tour offers in the town of Leticia, Colombia. It’s one of the best ways to see the best spots along the Amazon River, which is why it’s an obvious choice for many tourists.
If you want to spend days along the large Amazon River, seeing its best spots starting in the area around Leticia, an Amazon River tour is the way to go.
Visit the Tourist Boardwalk
For those looking for a slow day to admire the town of Leticia, you can try and stop by the Tourist Boardwalk first. Also known as the malecón turístico, many colorful canoes are offering their wares to tourists.
As the sun sets, you can head to the Tourist Boardwalk and have a little something to eat along with a cool glass of beer and admire the sunset.
You can also go trekking in the Colombian Amazon Rainforest as long as you have a guide with you, as always.
The majority of the trails in the Colombian Amazon Rainforest have no marks. Thus, many local guides even venture into the brush and go through it while wielding their machete.
That said, having a local guide is the best way to enjoy a trek through the Amazon Rainforest.
Try the Local Foods
Leticia is near the border of three countries, making it an exciting place to try many things, such as the local cuisine. Trying local cuisine is an excellent way to explore a country.
A Leticia specialty would be casabe, like a pizza, except it’s made from yuca instead of flour. It has all sorts of toppings to enjoy. Try it out when you’re in Leticia.
No matter where you choose to start your journey, the four countries listed above can help you explore the Amazon Rainforest. Just remember to be a responsible traveler and don’t forget to enjoy!