Top 6 things to do in the Amazon Rainforest
Discover what to do in the Amazon Rainforest. Experience life in the jungle, spot exotic wildlife, meet local communities…Learn More
Our preferred Amazon cruises and specialist lodges are generally clustered around four regions; near the port city of Manaus in the north of Brazil, those around Coca in eastern Ecuador and in two different parts of Peru. We have chosen these locations because of the immersive Amazon experience that they offer our clients; luxury cruises and excellent lodges all operating in areas of extraordinary biodiversity, largely untouched by humans and with experienced naturalist guides that have intimate knowledge of their regions.
In addition, these areas are all relatively easily accessible from the main airports of the countries and so can be combined with some of the continent's most popular travel destinations, including Rio de Janeiro, Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands. For many this may be the starting point when deciding where to visit the Amazon Rainforest, so the first step would be to consider what other locations most attract you. You may wish to consider some of the tours at the bottom to aid you in this.
Let's have a look at each area in a bit more depth to give you an overview of what each has to offer.
Brazil is perhaps the country most synonymous with the Amazon, boasting over 60% of the region and home to most of the actual Amazon River. There are a couple of things that distinguish Brazil's Amazon from the areas visited in Ecuador and in the Tambopata region of Peru. Firstly, much of the land near Manaus is subject to flooding when the rainy season arrives in the Andes, from where the water of the Amazon originates. This dramatic raising of water levels causes many forests to flood for around eight months each year, submerging the forest floors and creating bizarre habitats that allow exploration in boats and canoes, taking you closer to the wildlife activity of the forest canopies.
The second distinction is that the area around Manaus is the best place to visit the actual Amazon River; the lodges in Peru cover the Tambopata Reserve much further south and the river does not actually flow through Ecuador. Whilst the river actually starts in Peru, most Brazilians only consider it to be the true Rio Amazonas beyond the 'Meeting of the Waters' near Manaus. This is where the silty waters of the Rio Solimões run side-by-side with the darker Rio Negro for several miles. This natural phenomenon creates a remarkable landscape and one of the highlights of the Brazilian Amazon, particularly as this is one of the best places to spot the Amazon pink river dolphin.
We offer a number of lodges around Manaus and also the Tucano Amazon cruise, which lasts four or seven nights and also starts and finishes in Manaus, visiting the the world's largest river island system - the Anavilhanas Archipelago. The closest lodge to Manaus is the Amazon Ecopark Lodge, a short boat ride away, whilst the others require longer journeys in motorized canoes, but are in more pristine areas of the rainforest, far away from the city.
What to combine with the Brazilian Amazon: The most popular places to combine with the Brazilian Amazon are the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador da Bahia and the beaches of Praia do Forte. Wildlife enthusiasts might consider visiting the Pantanal wetlands, whilst further south are the mighty Iguassu Falls.
Meeting of the Waters (by Juma Lodge), sloth, flooded forest & community member (by Visit Brasil)
The cruises are accessed from Iquitos airport and the surrounding area is known as the 'mirror forest', as it is thought to be the largest protected flooded forest in the world. This stands in contrast to the lodges of the south, which mainly exist in terra firme conditions that never flood. Cruises here offer the same comprehensive Amazon experience; abundant wildlife, diverse flora and local community visits, all from the comfort of a luxury traditional riverboat. You will also cruise along the Marañón River, that will eventually merge into the Ucayali River to form the start of the Amazon River.
The lodges are accessed from Puerto Maldonado, reached by a short flight from Lima or Cusco. Upon arrival, you will transfer to the port and board a motorized canoe that will transport you to your lodge, deep in the Amazon Rainforest. This area of the Peruvian Rainforest is known for its extraordinary biodiveristy. Macaw and parrot clay licks, canopy observation towers, oxbow lake visits and jungle night walks all allow you to better observe the exotic and varied wildlife of the area, whilst nature trails showcase the remarkable trees and plants of the jungle. At various lodges here you might also have the chance to kayak, mountain bike, paddle board or even climb a tree! There are also local communities that you can visit to see how they have adapted to jungle life.
What to combine with the Peruvian Amazon: Given that British Airways fly direct to the capital Lima, this is the most natural starting point for your trip. For first time visitors to Peru it is highly likely that you will want to visit the Inca heartland of Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, perhaps undertaking the Inca Trail if you have the time and fitness levels. Further south on the Bolivian border is magical Lake Titicaca, home to remote traditional communities.
Clay lick, observation tower, kayaking and jungle walk (by Perunature)
Much like the area around the Tambopata River in Peru, the Ecuadorian Amazon offers areas of immense biodiversity and untouched natural beauty. The majority of the jungle lodges and the Manatee and Anakonda cruises are based along the Napo River in the Yasuni Biosphere area and Yasuni National Park and are accessed from the town of Coca, a short flight from Quito. The one exception to this is the Kapawi Lodge, which is further south in splendid isolation at the confluence over the Pastaza and Capahuari Rivers, near the Peruvian border. To arrive here, you will be transferred by road from Quito to the town of Shell and then take a short flight in a small plane. The lodge is around ten days walk from the nearest road!
Visitors to the Ecuadorian Amazon can witness colourful macaws and parrots descending on clay licks, climb canopy observation towers for a closer look at the wildlife hidden high above the forest floor, meet local communities carving out a life in the world's biggest rainforest and head out after dark in search of nocturnal wildlife activity. As in all parts of the Amazon, the jungle trails of the region immerse you in the sights and sounds of the jungle and guests of the Sacha Lodge can walk across their 275 metre treetop walkway or visit their very own butterfly house.
What to combine with the Ecuadorian Amazon: The capital Quito is surrounded by high Andean peaks and boasts some of the continent's best churches. Travelling south you could drive through the Avenue of the Volcanoes to the colonial city of Cuenca. Most visitors to Ecuador combine the mainland with a seven night cruise around the famous Galapagos archipelago, getting incredibly close to a huge range of wildlife.
Treetop walkway at Sacha Lodge, hiking on Manatee Cruise, Giant Otters (by Napo Wildlife Centre), Rainforest view
Want to know more? Now that you know where the best places to visit the Amazon Rainforest are, you might like to browse below for a selection of itineraries which include the Amazon in Brazil, Peru or Ecuador, or perhaps see our other articles about what you can expect from a visit to the Amazon Rainforest and when the best time to visit is.
Pacaya Deluxe Cruise Tour
14 Nights from £8,498 €9,297 $10,047
From the comfort of the luxury Aria Amazon riverboat, we explore the pristine rainforest of the Amazon, combined with Ancient Civilisations of the Andes.
14 Nights from £8,498 €9,297 $10,047Full Itinerary Contact Specialist
Day 1 - Arrival in Lima
Day 2 - Tour of Lima
Day 3 - Lima at leisure
Day 4 - Flight to Iquitos
Day 5 - Yarapa River
Day 6 - Pacaya & Ucayali Rivers
Day 7 - Amazon Community
Day 8 - Amazon Market & Manatee Rescue Centre
Days 9-10 Exploring Sacred Valley of the Incas
Day 11 - Machu Picchu
Day 12 - Free time at Machu Picchu
Day 13 - Cusco's Inca & Colonial heritage
Day 14 - Free time in Cusco
Days 15-16 - Return home via Lima
14 Nights from £4,138 €4,065 $4,379
Discover Peru's diverse landscapes and history, from the Coastal Desert, the altiplano and high peaks of the Andes, to the lush Amazon rainforest.
14 Nights from £4,138 €4,065 $4,379Full Itinerary Contact Specialist
Day 1 - Welcome Introduction to Lima
Day 2 - Nasca Lines
Day 3 - Excursion to Ballestas Islands
Day 4 - City Tour & Santa Catalina Convent
Day 5 - Excursion to Uros Islands
Day 6 - Train Journey to Cusco
Day 7 - Excursion to the Sacred Valley
Day 8 - City Tour & Ruins Of Cusco
Day 9 - At Leisure in Cusco
Day 10 - Journey to Machu Picchu
Day 11 - Return to Cusco
Day 12 - Amazon Lodge & Canopy Tower
Day 13 - Wildlife Safari & Community Visit
Day 14 - Lima
Day 15 - Lima
Ninos Amazonas Family Tour
15 Nights from £4,118 €4,041 $4,353
Ideal for families, discover the exciting city of Rio, venture deep into the jungle of the Amazon, and relax on the soft white sands of Bahia and the golden beaches of Praia d…
15 Nights from £4,118 €4,041 $4,353Full Itinerary Contact Specialist
Day 1 - Fly to Rio de Janeiro
Day 2 - City Tour of Rio de Janeiro
Day 3 - At Leisure in Rio de Janeiro
Day 4 - Travel to Manaus
Day 5 - City Tour of Manaus
Day 6 - Travel to Remote Amazon Lodge
Day 7 - Rainforest & Wildlife Excursion
Day 8 - Visit Local Community
Day 9 - Morning Excursion & Return to Manaus
Day 9 - Walking Introduction to Salvador da Bahia
Day 10 - City Tour of Salvador
Day 11 - Travel to Praia do Forte
Day 12-14 - At Leisure
Day 15 - Return Flight to the UK
12 Nights from £4,578 €4,593 $4,951
Experience Brazil's most vibrant cities, admire the stunning Iguassu Falls and venture deep into the pristine Amazon Rainforest on a four night expedition cruise.
12 Nights from £4,578 €4,593 $4,951Full Itinerary Contact Specialist
Day 1 - Flight to Rio de Janeiro
Day 2 - Christ the Redeemer & Corcovado
Day 3 - Day At Leisure in Rio de Janeiro
Day 4 - Travel to Iguassu Falls
Day 5 - Guided Tour ( Brazil & Argentina sides)
Day 6-9 - Tucano Amazon Cruise
Day 10 - Travel to Salvador da Bahia
Day 11 - Tour of Salvador
Day 12 - Day at Leisure in Salvador
Day 13 - Return Flight Overnight
Tucano Amazon Voyage Tour
8 Nights from £2,750 €2,400 $2,575
Explore areas of rainforest rarely visited and seek out life in the wilderness, in some of the most untouched areas.
14 Nights from £8,532 €9,338 $10,091
This tour includes the Amazon rainforest, a Galapagos cruise to experience the stunning friendly wildlife and an insight into the colonial charm of Quito, high in the mountain…
14 Nights from £8,532 €9,338 $10,091Full Itinerary Contact Specialist
Day 1 - Flight from London to Quito
Day 2 - Tour to Otavalo Market
Day 3 - Transfer to Amazon Lodge
Day 4-5 - Guided excursions & activities at the Amazon Lodge
Day 6 - Transfer to Quito
Day 7 - Tour of Quito
Day 8 - Flight to Galapagos Islands and board yacht
Day 9-14 - Guided excursions & activities at the Galapagos Islands
Day 15 - Flight back to the mainland. Return flight home
Day 16 - Arrive back home
19 Nights from £5,950 €6,240 $6,735
Close encounters with friendly wildlife on the Galapagos Islands cruise and experience fascinating cultures in the exuberant rainforest and by the volcanoes on the Andean moun…
19 Nights from £5,950 €6,240 $6,735Full Itinerary Contact Specialist
Day 1 - Flight London to Quito
Day 2 - Otavalo and Quito City Tour
Days 3-6 - Amazon Lodge & excursions
Day 7 - Return to Quito for 1 night
Day 8 - Tour of Cotopaxi Volcano
Day 9 - Ingapirca and Cuenca
Day 10 - Gualaceo Valley
Day 11 - Cuenca Tour and Cajas National Park
Day 12 - Cajas National Park
Days 13-19 - Galapagos cruise with daily guided excursions
Day 20 - Travel back to UK
13 Nights from £4,588 €4,605 $4,964
Immerse yourself in Ecuador's landscapes and local markets; cruise into the remote Amazon Rainforest, drive through the Amazon of the Volcanoes and ride a switchback train dow…
13 Nights from £4,588 €4,605 $4,964Full Itinerary Contact Specialist
Day 1 - Traveling to Quito
Day 2 - Tour to Otavalo Market
Days 3 - 10 - Manatee Amazon Explorer Cruise
Day 11 - Volcanoes & Local Markets
Day 12 - Devil's Nose Railway
Day 13 - Cuenca & Panama Hat Factory
Day 14 - Cajas National Park
Day 15 - Transfer to Guayaquil & Fly Home