Amazon Jungle Travel Tips:
1) Animals are surprisingly hard to find in the Amazon jungle. They do not come out for a photo op and greet you as you walk through the jungle. The animals are either highly camouflaged or quickly hide away when they hear your footsteps before you even know they are there. Be as quiet as you can when you walk, and hire an expert local guide who can spot jungle creatures for you.
2) Our posts on the Surviving the Amazon Jungle or Iquitos and the Belen Market (port city to the jungle) may also be of interest to you.
Amazon Jungle Adventure Log:
If you think Iquitos is hot and humid, multiply that by four, and that’s the kind of hot and humid the real Amazon jungle has in store for its guests. Within about 10 minutes of taking a cool refreshing shower, if you walk anywhere, you will feel the need to take another shower again. Seriously.
From a jungle lodge there are many jungle activities you can partake in such as jungle hikes, piranha fishing, dolphin watching, lily pods viewing, and village visits.
The jungle hikes usually start at three different periods in the day: early in the morning (8am), late afternoon (3:30pm) or at night (8pm). This is structured purposely to avoid the midday heat. Each hike can take up to several hours to complete. Keep in mind that there are almost zero predefined trails anywhere. You or your guide will make your own trails with a machete as you walk through the lush Amazon jungle. The jungle hikes are the the best time to spot jungle animals and learn about the jungle flora. My favorite is the owl monkey: we spotted an entire family of them watching us high from their home up in the tree (although I think they spotted us first!).
Piranhas live in lagoons alongside many other creatures such as caimans, anacondas, electric eels, or other meat-eating fish. In these lagoons even the lily pods have spikes underneath for protection against predatory fish. The concentration of this eclectic cast of characters, by which any single one of them can seemingly kill you in any instant, would certainly scare off anyone from dipping their toes in the water. However, on our fishing expedition, one of our local guides did not even flinch as he got into the knee-high water along the river bank of the lagoon to find a better spot to catch fish. I think I was more nervous for him than he was for himself!
Now don’t be fooled by the brown color of the Amazon river, it is lush with life and is the livelihood of many families who live alongside it. At any time any day, you will find fishermen on the Amazon casting nets, waiting for the catch, or rounding up the catch of the day. If you have never seen dolphins you may be surprised to see them swimming and frolicking in the Amazon! Both grey and pink freshwater dolphins live in the Amazon river. Grey dolphins are the most active (imagine SeaWorld but in the jungle). Pink dolphins are more difficult to spot as they are much more shy and tend to stay in the water away from view.
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