Should you choose an Amazon Cruise or opt for a jungle lodge? Find out the key differences and benefits for each.
Benefits of an Amazon Cruise
For many considering visiting the region, the first question will be which country to visit the Amazon in, closely followed by the choice between taking an Amazon cruise or staying at one of the specialist lodges of the region. Both broadly offer the same immersive Amazon experience, however, there are a few key differences which may affect your decision.
Firstly, one of the main attractions of an Amazon cruise is the experience itself. In some cases this offers the opportunity to cruise down the water on a luxury traditional riverboat, akin to a floating boutique hotel, attended to by a fully-trained staff and crew, enjoying excellent food, air-conditioned rooms, regular access to hot water and comfortable lounge areas and balconies. These boats tend to offer a greater layer of protection from the jungle than some lodges, where you are very much immersed in the rainforest, hearing the sounds as it comes alive at night and sleeping under mosquito nests.
In other 'expedition' style cruises the ethos is to provide a truly immersive and intensive experience, reaching much further into pristine areas of the Amazon wilderness and offering the chance to experience different habitats that are out of the reach of lodges. Aboard a boat you will sleep in a different part of the jungle each night and discover places largely untouched by tourism, where as the trails at most lodges are far more well-trodden.
In Peru and particularly in Brazil, cruises are the only way to experience the extraordinary flooded forests which begin to form after the rainy season in the Andes during January to March.
Find out more about our range of Amazon Cruises in Peru, Brazil and Ecuador
Clockwise from top: Cattleya Cruise in Peru, Manatee Cruise in Ecuador, Sacha Lodge in Ecuador, La Selva Lodge in Ecuador
Benefits of a Jungle Lodge
Lodges are obviously static by nature and focus in far greater detail on the immediate surrounding area, providing a more intimate experience. It is for this reason that we have selected our preferred lodges in or close to protected reserves in which there is extraordinary biodiversity to explore, particularly in Peru and Ecuador. The guides know the areas like the backs of their hands, having spent many years exploring them in-depth and the trails tend to take you further into the rainforest, away from the water's edge, often with more time to linger. You also do not have to spend time navigating stretches of the river and getting away from the larger towns as you would expect to do in a boat, although this time can be used to relax and soak up the jungle views of course.
Certain lodges also have unique features, such as the 275 metre treetop walkway and butterfly house of the Sacha Lodge in Ecuador or the direct access the Tambopata Research Centre has to its own clay lick. Other advantages of the lodges are that they are generally quieter and less expensive than the boats and that there are no fixed departure dates, giving you greater flexibility to fit your Amazon visit into your South America holiday.
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