Planning an adventure into the dense Amazon Rainforest can be both exciting and intimidating. It’s a place where Nature rules supreme and visitors must adapt to the environment, so being properly prepared is essential. To help you keep your feet dry and your mind at ease, here’s a rundown of what to expect and how to pack for an adventure into the Amazon rainforest.
The Amazon is generally a hot and humid environment. Daytime temperatures average in the high 80s to 90s and nighttime temperatures drop only slightly to fall between the 60s and low 70s. During the winter months (June-August) random cold fronts called friajes may pass through, lowering temperatures to the 50s.
Macaw (Photo credit: MaxPixel)
Keep in mind that the summer months (December –March) correspond with the rainy season. The rainiest months are January and February and you can expect heavy downpours during these months (although showers are common year-round - thus the term "rainforest"). During the summer rainy season, river levels rise dramatically, and boats are able to travel further into the jungle.
Packing for the Amazon should be an exercise of practicality. You’re likely to spend most of your time outdoors and will probably be tired during your downtime. Start with the premise that your luggage should be limited, as the motorized canoe you’ll take to your Amazon lodge can only hold so much. If you are traveling to multiple places in Peru or South America, consider packing a smaller duffle bag or suitcase so you can repack only the items necessary for the Amazon portion of your trip—you can store your main bag in town.
The Amazon from the air (Photo credit: Neil Palmer / CIAT)
A small backpack for day excursions.
Reusable water bottle. You will be provided with an endless supply of water to refill your personal bottle during your time in the Amazon.
Bug spray to keep the mosquitoes away.
Some calamine lotion or cream to sooth any potential mosquito bites.
Protection from the sun: sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm, and a hat. (The hat can also serve to protect your hair from any falling canopy debris and is highly recommended.)
Binoculars for a better view of distant wildlife during your excursions. (You may be able to rent these at your lodge but at an additional cost.)
Camera (plus charger/batteries), along with a plastic bag to protect everything from the humidity. (Even lodges without electricity turn on their generators for a few hours so you can charge your camera battery if necessary).
A lightweight and compressible poncho in case it rains during your excursion.
Additional plastic bags to keep all items listed above dry.
A flashlight/headlamp will come in handy during an evening excursion or a night stroll on your lodge’s property. Most lodges supply all rooms with one flashlight, but if there is more than one person sharing your room, you will need to bring along additional flashlights for use. Amazon lodge rooms are lit by either candles or kerosene lamps at night. (Note: Inkaterra properties offer electrical lighting in all rooms but turn off electricity after 11 pm).
If you enjoy reading, we suggest bringing a book for any downtime.
Flip-flops or sandals are recommended for padding around the lodge when not on excursions.
Lastly, if you are a light sleeper, earplugs may come in handy to zone out the evening Amazon noises or even your neighbors.
Don’t worry about packing shampoo, conditioner, or bar soap as your lodge will provide you with their own biodegradable products - but definitely don’t forget all other preferred toiletries and personal medication.
Spotting wildlife (Photo credit: Pete)
A comfortable pair of walking shoes; preferably waterproof if you already own a pair. If you don’t, the lodges have rubber boots available to all clients (free of charge). Either way, we suggest bringing along a backup pair of shoes.
Two sets of socks and underwear per day.
About 2-3 comfortable, light-weight travel or outdoor pants (jeans can be uncomfortable, especially if they get wet, and mosquitos can sometimes bite through leggings).
A few shirts (maybe 3 tees and 3 long-sleeved). Long-sleeved shirts are very important for excursions since they serve as an extra layer of protection from the mosquitoes. Even during hot weather, you may prefer to wear long sleeves. Also bear in mind that lighter, natural colors tend to attract fewer mosquitoes.
Comfortable sleeping clothes; you may prefer shorts to help keep cool at night. Note that your bed is equipped with a fine netting to keep all bugs out.
A sweater (especially in the winter months) since the weather can fluctuate.
Dinner at the lodge will be casual, but you may prefer to bring along a nicer set of clothes to celebrate jungle dining.
River walks (Photo credit: Ludovico Alcorta)
Credit to Torrenegra for the cover image of this blog.