While there’s nothing wrong with a Caribbean cruise or a weekend of wine tasting in Marlborough, sometimes you crave something a little more adventurous. Cue the Amazon River, one of the world’s largest, wildest and most intricate ecosystems.
The biodiversity is out of this world, with the Amazon Biome cradling not only the largest remaining tropical rainforest on the planet, but also an impressive 10% of the world’s total biodiversity. It’s a haven for animals like the jaguar, sloth, howler monkey and anaconda, as well as indigenous tribes that have been living in the rainforest for thousands of years.
Dreaming of a getaway to the Amazon? Whether you’re travelling on a shoestring or looking to splurge, we’ve got you covered with trip ideas for every budget.
It may be the epitome of exotic but that doesn’t mean a trip to the Amazon has to be expensive. Start by making your way to Iquitos, a gateway to off-the-grid jungle lodges strung along the northern Amazon. Spend a few days getting to know the isolated city, which can only be reached by boat or plane. Highlights include shopping at the sprawling open-air market and enjoying a waterfront meal at local favourites like Dawn on the Amazon Café. Then it’s off to your lodge for a rain forest adventure. Trips usually last for around five days and include daily expeditions led by naturalist guides. Think sunrise kayaking trips, visiting local villages, hunting for anacondas and fishing for piranhas. Prices start from a very affordable $500 for trips of four to five nights, which puts the Amazon well within reach of cash-conscious travellers.
If you’re looking for a blend of luxury meets affordability, you’ll love “comfort class” lodges. Hot showers, gourmet food and stylish quarters promise a memorable stay without compromising the delicate rainforest ecosystem. You’ll find fantastic offerings in Ecuador’s Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, where riverfront rooms offer plenty of opportunity to soak in the views or relax in a hammock with a good book. Consider yourself a birder? The Amazon is home to an incredible 1,500 species of birds, including over 100 endemic residents. Pack binoculars to get a good look at cobalt blue hyacinth macaws, crested oropendolas and the majestic harpy eagle, which can reach wingspans of two metres. Prices hover around the $1000 mark for a four-night adventure, coupled with the peace of mind you’ll be comfortable and well-rested throughout your stay.
Sometimes, the trip of a lifetime calls for a hands-down splurge. Whether you’re celebrating a milestone anniversary or ticking off a bucket list travel dream, luxury cruises on the Amazon promise an unforgettable experience. Picture yourself gliding along the iconic river in a spacious suite featuring boutique décor, private sun decks and exquisite attention to detail. You can wake up to golden sunrises and sign up for a host of adventure activities and excursions, including jungle walks (watch for sloths), kayaking trips, night safaris and swimming with pink river dolphins. Expect to pay around $7000 per person for a four-night voyage. It’s not cheap but it’s not an experience you’ll forget anytime soon. Prefer to base yourself on dry land? In Brazil’s Anavilhanas National Park you’ll find luxury jungle lodges offering private bungalows and an upscale aesthetic. Arrive via a scenic hydroplane flight, then relax with sunset caipirinhas by your sparkling riverside swimming pool. Prices start at roughly $2000 per person for a four-night stay.
Have you been to the Amazon? Whether you opted for a shoestring adventure or a luxury-soaked getaway, we’d love to hear about your experience and tips.