Image: Rio Preto da Eva beach, near Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
Anyone foolhardy enough to actually want to spend a few days in the jungle should do so. It’s a tremendous experience and I actively encourage anyone to do it.
There are a few ways of doing so and, as I have done a fair bit of “jungle-bashing” in my time, I reckon that the tips that I provide will be of some value.
I have lived in/near rainforests in three locations: Brunei Darussalam, Amazonian region of Brazil and the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. Just to annoy biologists I can say that they are all pretty much the same! So if you are looking for experience then just choose your preferred location!
While the Atlantic Rainforest is sub-tropical and gets quite cold in the winter months, particularly in the south, Amazonia is equatorial and stays hot all year. The big difference is that the Amazon region suffers (perhaps “enjoys” is a better word) heavy rainfall during the “winter” months from December to June.
When I say “winter” I should clarify that Southern hemisphere seasons are the opposite of those in the northern hemisphere. Logical. So when it is winter in the north it is summer in the south. I emphasise this only because travellers from the northern hemisphere may need to pack a mix of clothes (though I try to arrange RAE tours in September which avoids this).
There are, as I indicated, a few ways to experience the jungle. Rainforests, in general, are full of large and small creepy crawly things with fangs and venom etc that are the source of nightmares and cold sweats. So a jungle is not an environment in which you can just freely enter when you feel the urge, certainly not alone.
Tours are still the best way of getting to see the rainforest intimately. Two, three or four days is adequate for those wishing to tick their bucket-list, and it is possible to arrange these things with a degree of comfort and security. Visits of longer duration, for photographic, botanical, anthropological or similar professional interest, are obviously possible, and provide a deeper experience, but have much different logistical requirements.
Where to go
I suggest two eco-systems if you have the time. Manaus offers access to both white water and black water locations, but downstream locations also exist eg Belem at the mouth of the Amazon.
How to get there
For the Brazilian Amazon, fly to Manaus. Usual points of entry to Brazil are Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, but there are other options eg Natal.
When to go
July to December. I prefer September to November as there is less likelihood of heavy constant tropical rain and the rainy seasons can start early or end late.
What to take
As little as possible. In addition to light clothing (long sleeves if you feel the need) I suggest: camera, insect repellent, sun-screen, hat, any personal medication.
What to see
Pink dolphins, birds, insects, monkeys, reptiles, plants, flowers, fruit, people (indigenous and settlers), the rainforest, waterfalls, fish and gastropods.
Alan Skyrme has run Real Amazon Experience tours for almost 20 years and can arrange these to order – small groups or large, corporate or individual. These would occur in the months of September, October or November with a duration of up to three weeks. Contact us for further details.
Buy the book to learn more: Real Amazon Experience
British writer, photographer and tour coordinator Alan Skyrme takes you into the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil.
This book provides a taste of what to expect on one of his Real Amazon Experience tours