By Gloria Mabery
Family Adventure in the Amazon
One of the most exciting places you can visit in the world is the Amazon rainforest. But when you mention rainforest and all the potential things that come along with it, people don’t really often consider taking a family adventure in the Amazon. That’s a huge mistake they’re making.
If you’re well prepared, and familiar with which adventures to pick and what to do, an Amazon expedition can be a truly exhilarating experience for your entire family. You’ll get to do hiking, paddling, and you might even get to see the Amazon pink dolphins, too. Just imagine your kids’ reaction when they spot them!
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what is the best time to visit Amazonia. It’s also important to consider where you should go, and what kind of activities you can organize. It’s important to make sure your entire family enjoys the trip. If you have any question/comments about this, leave them below!
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When and Where Should You Visit, and What Should You Do?
These are the two main questions you’ll want to get an answer on before you start organizing everything. As far as timing goes, the best months to visit the Amazon are May and June. During these two months, you’ve got river levels that are still high enough so you can explore everything by boat. However, by this time the rain has calmed down. This means that you’ll very likely see some of the wildlife that you wouldn’t be able to come across during a different season. In addition, the higher water level allows you to enjoy fun and family-friendly activities like kayaking or canoeing.
You might notice that many tourists recommend and tend to visit Amazonia during the low water season to avoid the rain. But if you want to enjoy a pleasant family trip, this isn’t the right time. It’s too crowded, it’s too expensive, and you won’t get to see and do everything you want.
The Amazon In Brazil
Due to the sheer size of the Amazon Rainforest, spreading across 8 countries, you’ll probably get to visit a tiny bit of it and you should choose the destination wisely. As far as the destinations go, Brazil is the prime spot, but that doesn’t mean you should head straight there. If you want a more relaxed atmosphere, here are a few alternatives.
Consider Columbia Too
Colombia gives you a perfect combination of untouched forests, organized infrastructure, and it’s also home to the Tarapoto Lake. It’s here where you’ll find the pink dolphins we spoke about earlier. And with over 400 species of birds and various wildlife, this is the perfect place for spotting.
Venezuela Is Also An Option
Another option is Venezuela, where you’ll find around 18 million hectares of rainforest. Venezuela has one of the lowest deforestation rates, because the people who live there care about the rainforest, a lot. Moreover, you get to sense the real jungle around here. However, you’ll come across many restrictions that serve to protect the Rainforest.
National Reserve In Peru
And if you feel like visiting a national reserve, head to Peru,. Here you’ll find the Pacaya Samiria Reserve, home to the largest protected flooded forest in the world. This is another perfect opportunity for spotting endemic species of Amazonian wildlife, while traveling responsibly.
Family-Friendly Outdoor Activities in the Amazon Rainforest
While there’s definitely no shortage of things you can do in the jungle, having your kids around requires better planning and caution. You’ll need to watch out for them. More importantly, you’ll need to make sure that any activities you do are kid-friendly and completely safe.
This is one of the best ways to spend your time on the Amazon river. This is especially true when you’re there with your family. You get to explore the surroundings and see the sights. However, you get to stay on a boat that oftentimes offers more luxury than a five star hotel. Of course, this does depend on the boat itself. But, you’ll enjoy the trip, and you’ll see things you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. If you decide on a river cruise, all onshore excursions are well planned especially when kids are around.
With highly experienced guides and perfectly tailored itineraries, you wouldn’t have to worry much about anything and just enjoy quality time spent with your kids. A few good suggestions would be the Mamore in Bolivia for an off-radar area, a river cruise in the Pacaya Samiria Reserve in Peru or you can take the route from Belem to Manaus and Tefe if you want the “classic” Amazon cruise.
Family Friendly Hiking In The Amazon
While you’ll want to make sure you pick a trail that is suitable for your family’s ability, hiking is a great way to experience the true Amazon rainforest. You’ll reach parts of the jungle that would otherwise be unreachable. You’ll also see stunning landscapes that will leave you speechless. The highly recommended kids-friendly hiking trails are in Manaus (Brazil). There are plenty of not-too-challenging hikes which start point can be reached by taxi, perfect if your kids don’t want to get too tired.
Camping In The Amazon Rainforest
We have yet to see a kid that doesn’t like camping. If you enjoy it too, you’ll have plenty of opportunities in the Amazon rainforest. There are a few things to keep in mind, but it’s a relatively simple activity that immerses you in the sounds and sights of the rainforest, especially the ones that you can only experience in the evenings.
If this sounds like a fun activity, the Las Piedras Amazon Center (Peru) allows a few groups to camp within the reserve each year. You have a massive area to explore, good camping areas, and is one of the few places in the entire rainforest that provides this opportunity.
If you’re alone, you could do this in a variety of environments, but when you have your family with you, you should stick to organized reserve visits – they’re safe, and you still get to experience the stunning wildlife that lives in the Amazon.
The ultimate option to spot the endemic species of the Amazonia is to visit the Pacaya Samiria Reserve in Peru. It is located between the Marañón and Ucayali tributaries. The Reserve has two large alluvial river basins, seasonal and permanent freshwater lakes, flooded forests (during the high water season) and a tropical forest cover. This Reserve Is a UNESCO protected area and home to plentiful wildlife that can be spotted in its natural habitat.
Another great option for animal spotting is Leticia in Columbia. Here you can book multi-day adventures with plenty of wildlife spotting opportunities.
What Should You Pack and Wear?
This does somewhat depend on the period of the year you choose for your visit, but generally, the Amazon rainforest is a rather warm and very humid place. If it’s the rainy season, though, it can get very cold, very fast, so be careful when you’re packing.
A rain-resistant jacket is a must, because you’ll need to deal with rain at some point, but make sure it’s one you can easily store away when not in use. Get yourself a daily backpack, one that covers the essentials, and is compact and lightweight. You could get a smaller one for your kids as well, and carry any snacks or small things they might want to have handy. The general rule for clothing is to stick to clothes for warmer climates, but make sure you can layer up if necessary.
And last but not least, when it comes to your footwear, get yourself a pair that’s comfortable and durable, for all the hiking and excursions, and one lightweight, breathable pair for daily use. Versatility and layering is important here, so make sure you’re covered for just about any scenario.
You shouldn’t need to overpack, especially if you’re only going to be there a couple of days, and if you follow the tips we mentioned above, you’ll enjoy your experience in the Amazon rainforest! But remember to always have a first-aid kit with basics included since most of your excursions will be outside urban areas. Comprise a packing checklist to make sure you have all you need and enjoy a hustle-free experience your kids will remember for a lifetime! Just imagine them in school having all this first-hand info on Amazonia – priceless!