Did you know the Amazon rainforest stretches over 2.5 million square miles and four different countries? It accounts for 2/3 of the land in Peru and 11% of the land in Ecuador. It also covers a 1/3 of Colombia’s land and nearly all of Brazil.
Planning a trip to the Amazon is an unforgettable life experience and not one that many people get a chance to do. It doesn’t even need to cost you a fortune when you budget your trip correctly.
Ensure you have a memorable adventure by planning some fun rainforest activities to do in the Amazon before you go.
The 10 Best Rainforest Activities to Do on an Amazon Cruise
If you’re looking for fun things to do in the Amazon rainforest while on a cruise, try one of these 10 awesome rainforest activities.
1. Visit a Local Community
One of the best ways to experience the Amazon is to see how people live there. Hundreds of thousands of people in about 400 distinct groups make up the Amazon’s indigenous population. Many of these cultures have no contact with the outside world and haven’t changed in hundreds of years.
Some of these local groups offer community visits and tours for visitors to the Amazon. You can find cruises that stop by the lands of various tribes, like the Bora Community who maintain most of the original customs and beliefs.
The tribes want to share their culture and inform visitors why they need preserving. Once you’ve seen their ceremonial lodge and witnessed traditional dances, be sure you check out the gorgeous handicrafts and purchase some to support the community.
2. Support National Parks
You can also head to a few of the Amazon’s many national parks and UNESCO world heritage sites. The Peruvian Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve is a popular tourist site carefully maintained to preserve the area’s biodiversity. In Brazil, head to the more than 400 islands making up the Anavihanas Archipelago.
Want to explore an even bigger section of the pristine rainforest? Go to Ecuador and check out the Yasuni National Park. This remote park features about 2.5 million acres of marshlands and rainforest as well as many indigenous Amazonian tribes like the Taegari and Hauronai.
3. Take a Medicinal Plant Tour
About 25% of the pharmaceuticals made in the West were originally derived from natural materials and plants found in the Amazon rainforest. This is especially impressive when you realize researchers have only tested about 1% of all the natural materials found in the Amazon.
Taking a medicinal plant tour is a great opportunity to view these plants in their natural environment. You’ll learn about plants you know, like the Brazilian Ginseng, and those you may not know, like Tawari tree bark. Even those you haven’t heard of before appear in many of the medicines used in the U.S.
4. Check Out the Manatee Rescue Center
If you’re doing an Amazon river cruise in Peru, you’ll probably stop by the Manatee Rescue Center on the outskirts of Iquitos. The center rescues young manatees from pet trafficking and rehabilitates injured or orphaned animals.
Visitors can also interact with monkeys, anteaters, and sloths as well as feeding the baby manatees. If you’re having trouble choosing a cruise, check out this article by Voyagers to help you decide.
5. Explore in a Kayak
Hiring a kayak is an excellent way to see the natural flora and fauna found in the Amazon without scaring animals off in a loud boat.
Hire a tour guide and quietly paddle along the most remote parts of the Amazon River for a unique experience. Choose local tour guides to support the community and expect to paddle for about 2 hours.
6. Try SUP-ing
If you want to get a little workout in as you cruise down the river, try stand-up paddle boarding. This new water sport originated in Hawaii but has become popular around the world.
The calm waters of the Amazon River make it perfect for SUP-ing and allow you to explore parts of the river that you can’t get to by boat.
7. Walk Across a Canopy Bridge
One of the most popular rainforest activities is to walk across a canopy bridge to explore the highest parts of the jungle canopy.
One of the longest canopy bridges is located in Peru in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. It stands nearly 85 feet above the ground and extends more than 500m between 14 massive trees.
8. Go on a Jungle Walk
The most common rainforest activity once off the river is to walk through the jungle. You will see plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. More than a third of all animal species on Earth call the Amazon jungle home as well as about a fifth of the bird species.
Take a pair of binoculars and stay quiet for the best chance to see some of them. You could be lucky enough to see a three-toed sloth hanging from a tree or witness an anaconda moving through the brush.
9. Eat Local Dishes
Eating local dishes is one of the best things to do in the Amazon Rainforest. Fish plays a major role in most of the cuisine, especially in Ecuador and Peru where you find ceviche served everywhere.
Juanes is another common meal to find in Peru. It’s made of muddled meat, usually chicken or pork, mixed with rice and stuffed into a banana leaf. You can also find many places that sell insects often eaten by locals.
If you visit a local community, you may even get a chance to see traditional hunting and cooking techniques still used by indigenous people today.
10. Go for a Swim (in Designated Areas)
Finally, if you’re feeling brave, you can take a dip in the world’s longest river. Many Amazon cruises allow you to swim in safe, designated areas where you will not disturb the local wildlife or risk encountering piranhas.
See the Coolest Places Around the World
Describing the awe-inspiring beauty of the Amazon Rainforest and River does not do it justice. Once you arrive in the Amazon, you’ll see why it’s one of the world wonders and how it can produce over 20% of the world’s oxygen.
Interested in checking out more of the coolest places around the world? Head on over to the Beekman Beer Garden blog for tips on how to plan your dream vacation and learn about destinations you may never encounter otherwise.