Rainforest reflection by Ivan Mlinaric, on Flickr
The Amazon Rainforest is arguably one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. It covers 1.7 billion acres over nine countries, and is home to an extraordinary abundance of life, including hundreds of thousands of different species of animal and plant as well as a number of isolated human tribes too. If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting this wonderful place before, a trip to Brazil is definitely a great first introduction. We explore Rio the Amazon rainforest travel.
Preparing for Amazon Travel
Before you leave for Brazil, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared, especially if you’re planning an excursion into the Amazon. Here are some of the most important things you’ll need for your trip: Vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Yellow Fever are necessary for most parts of the Amazon. Make sure you check with your doctor first.
Amazon Packing List
- Malaria tablets, insect repellent, insect bite or itch relief cream, plenty of suncream, moisturiser, lip balm, mosquito net and medication for altitude sickness and colds and fevers
- Travel first aid kit, including plasters, bandages, antiseptic and painkillers like aspirin or paracetamol
- A water purifier or tablets
- Sunglasses and a hat with a rim
- Ear plugs are recommended, especially if you’re a light sleeper
- A comprehensive backpacking travel insurance policy is a must-have. Insure and Go provides a number of good offers
- Consider a camera, preferably weather/water proof and extra memory cards & batteries
Rio de Janeiro
Cristo Redentor – Rio de Janeiro by Juliana Coutinho, on Flickr
You can’t really visit Brazil without a quick stopover in the carnival city of Rio. Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s second-largest cities and is packed with things to do and see. The iconic 130-foot statue of Christ the Redeemer, which looks down on the city from atop Corcovado mountain, isn’t all Rio has to offer.
Sugarloaf mountain by Christian Haugen, on Flickr
You can watch rock climbers scale the 1,300-foot Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar), which overlooks Guanabara Bay. If you have the know-how, you can join in yourself or, if climbing isn’t your thing, you can take the cable car to the top.
Copacabana Beach – Rio de Janeiro by Christian Haugen, on Flickr
Copacabana is easily one of the world’s most famous beaches, and with 4 km of sand and the hot Brazilian climate, it’s easy to see why. And there’s plenty of enjoyment to be taken from exploring the city itself, from the bustling Centro to the sprawling favelas.
Rio de Janeiro by Denise Mayumi, on Flickr
Manaus fisherman by Zemlinki!, on Flickr
Buried deep within the Amazon, the city of Manaus is typically regarded as the first port of call for visitors to the Amazon Rainforest, with lots of boat tours and cruises leaving from the city. Manaus lies on the banks of the Rio Negro, which joins with the Rio Solimões to form the almighty Amazon River (see the ‘Meeting of Waters’ below). When it comes to accommodation, Manaus has plenty of options from hotels to lodges. Manaus itself has a number of attractions that are worth checking out – particularly the Opera House (Teatro Amazonas) and the Natural Science Museum.
Simon in the mist by Zemlinki!, on Flickr
Staying in an eco-lodge is perhaps the easiest way to experience the Amazon Rainforest up close and personal. Unfortunately, it’s not easy finding an affordable eco-lodge in Brazil’s Amazon. Nothing quite captures the feeling of waking up in the morning and seeing the world’s largest tropical rainforest staring back at you through your window. The Ariau Amazon Towers is the world’s largest treetop hotel consisting of eight towers and over 260 rooms. Prices are steep but they provide a number of packages that include excursions into the surrounding area.
The Meeting of Waters
Aerial view of the Meeting of Waters just after departing Manaus, Brazil by Immelman284 on Wikipedia
The “Meeting of Waters”, where the dark Rio Negro flows side-by-side with the sandy-coloured Rio Solimões, is one of Manaus’ main tourist attractions. Thanks to the difference in temperature, speed and water density between the two rivers, their waters do not mix, which creates an extraordinary “two-tone” appearance that looks a lot like an oil slick. You can see the Meeting of Waters up close via one of the many boat tours or cruises leaving from Manaus.
The Amazon River
Gotta Leave It Behind by heatherlyone, on Flickr
After showing you the Meeting of Waters, most boat tours and cruises will continue down the enchanting Amazon River, stopping at certain points of interest. Many also offer excursions on small boats or zodiacs to explore the rainforest further, including activities like birdwatching, visits to National Parks, piranha fishing, canoe rides, hikes and lectures. There will also be plenty of opportunities to see the Amazon’s diverse wildlife – from monkeys and alligators to river dolphins and manatees.