6 Occasions to Enjoy an Amazon Rainforest Tour

You’ve heard about them the rainforests of the world, home to plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. They’re also known as “the lungs of our planet,” because they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen back into it. The rainforests cover 6 percent of our planet’s surface area (including a percentage of Antarctica), but only 2 percent of people live there.


Rainforests aren’t just for strolling through the trails or hiking up mountains. Many of these areas have unique cultures, such as the indigenous populations living in remote villages, where they hunt wild game and fish, gather fruits and vegetables, weave palm-leaf hats and baskets, build houses out of wood and grasses, and maintain traditional medicine practices.


And many species of birds and mammals rely on the forests’ natural cycles to survive without rainforests, ecosystems would be altered and might not support all life forms as we know them today. Visiting a rainforest may sound like a dream come true, but it isn’t easy.


You need to bring supplies with you, including insect repellent, sunscreen lotion, binoculars, camera batteries and film, a hat, sunglasses, a water bottle, and comfortable shoes. Although you can take short hikes, you should plan longer excursions so you get closer to the native communities. If you want to see wildlife, you’ll likely have to hire local guides who speak the languages of the area. Most importantly, remember that rainforests are fragile environments and must be treated with respect. So what do you do once you reach a tropical forest?


  1. Ecuador


With its cloud forests and jungles, Ecuador is full of opportunities for adventure and exploration. Take a day trip into the city of Cuenca to sample the area’s rich cultural offerings, including art galleries, craft markets, and restaurants. Or spend more time learning about the country’s history and culture at archaeological sites, museums, and historical buildings throughout the nation.


If you’d rather stay close to the jungle, explore the rainforest by rafting down the Napo River near Coca or opt for a birdwatching expedition along the coast. In the town of Loja, don’t miss visiting the Museo de Historia Natural, which displays artifacts from Ecuador’s past. Also check out the nearby archaeological site of Ingapirca, located less than 20 miles (32 kilometers) away, which has been dated to 3,000 years ago.


  1. Brazil


Brazilian rainforests are famous for their abundance of flora and fauna. There are over 300 million acres of Atlantic Forest (which covers much of southern Brazil and surrounding countries), making up 70 percent of the entire rainforest biome.


This region has an impressive variety of habitats, ranging from dense river bottoms to high tree canopy regions. It’s home to hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and mammals, including tapirs, jaguars, capuchin monkeys, manatees, and pink dolphins.


One of the best ways to experience the Brazilian rainforest is to join a tour group. These guided trips include everything from night treks to boat rides on rivers, giving visitors access to wildlife and scenic landscapes. For those interested in seeing specific types of creatures, consider going with a specialized tour company, such as EcoAmazonia Tours, which offers expeditions targeting primates and other rainforest inhabitants.


In addition to the rainforest itself, don’t forget to pack mosquito repellant! Mosquitoes carrying malaria and dengue fever thrive in warm climates, and the rainy season runs from June to November.


  1. Papua New Guinea


Located southeast of Australia, Papua New Guinea boasts two distinct climate zones: wet and dry. The lowlands are hot and humid, while higher elevations are cooler and drier.


Its varied topography includes rugged mountain ranges, deep valleys, beaches, and coral reefs. Indigenous tribespeople inhabits the land, maintaining their own customs and traditions.

The best way to explore the rainforest here is to travel with a licensed guide who knows the area well. A typical visit will consist of walking through the woods, observing wildlife, and participating in activities like fishing and hunting for taro roots.

Guides often speak English, Tok Pisin (the national language), and the local tribal tongue, so if you’re uncomfortable speaking another language, ask your hotel staff to arrange a translator. Don’t worry too much about bringing extra provisions — food is usually provided during meals.


  1. Sumatra


Sumatra’s rainforests are among the oldest in the world. The island was covered in thick vegetation until about 9,600 years ago when rising sea levels flooded the coastal lowlands and created extensive swamps. Since then, the rainforests have gradually regenerated, recovering from environmental damage caused by logging, fires, and floods.


Today, they span 1.7 million square miles (4 million square kilometers) of the Indonesian island, covering nearly half of the island’s total area.

A good way to experience these forests is to go on a trekking journey. The most popular trail leads through the primary rainforest from east to west. Along the way, you’ll encounter several lakes and streams, as well as plenty of wildlife. Other options include riding around the countryside on horseback or exploring the forests on small boats called banggai.


As far as accommodations go, hotels and guesthouses are available. However, the best way to enjoy the rainforests is to rent a private villa or house, which allows you to sleep under the stars, cook your own meals and avoid any potential disturbances from prying eyes.


  1. Borneo


Considered part of Southeast Asia, Borneo lies between Brunei in the north and Sarawak and Kalimantan states in Indonesia. It’s divided into three sections: North Borneo, Central Borneo, and East Malaysia. Much of the rainforests here were destroyed decades ago due to deforestation, but new conservation efforts are helping to restore the environment.


Many tours focus on the endangered species of apes, elephants and rhinos that call the rainforests home. One of the best ways to view the animals is to ride in a jeep through the jungle. Or you can take a hike through the rainforest to observe the animals directly. Another option is to stay in a longhouse, a traditional village made of wooden logs supported by poles. Guests sleep in hammocks strung up above the ground.


  1. Nepal


Nepal sits atop the Himalayas, and the highest peak in the range, Mount Everest, rises 77,962 feet (24,848 meters). Home to the Nepalese Gurkha community, Nepal also encompasses smaller peaks, valleys, gorges, rivers, farmland, and beautiful landscape.


The best way to see the rainforests here is to book a trek with a certified guide. The majority of lodges offer these services, but you can also organize your own trip through a travel agency. The rainforests are home to numerous plant and animal species, including tigers, bears, leopards, rhesus macaques, blue sheep, and red pandas. Be sure to wear sturdy footwear and bring a change of clothes.