There are several things to consider when trying to choose which Amazon cruise or tour to do and now there are several choices to choose from. What factors should you consider when deciding which is the best option for you?
* Do you wish to have an in-depth experience or would you just want to get a “taste” from the jungle?
* The number of days do you wish to maintain the jungle?
* Have you been only coming to the jungle or are you considering likely to other places? (Machu Picchu, Rio, Galapagos, etc.)
* How active do you wish to be?
* Have you got specific things you wish to do in the jungle, which a package tour might not offer?
Some individuals just would like to get an idea in regards to what the jungle is like. On their behalf, a 3 day lodge stay or cruise might suffice. That will allow them 1 full day in the jungle, because the 1st and last days are usually mostly for travel through the airport and back towards the airport. They shouldn’t plan on seeing much wildlife or primary jungle though because they’re just not receiving far enough out of the cities and nearby people. As an example, Manaus has about 1.5 million inhabitants, so you must get pretty far from the city to feel like you are in a wilderness area.
People who wish to really get yourself a feel for the jungle have to stay longer. It usually takes a few days for folks to wind down towards the rhythm from the jungle and you need to get into many different ecosystems so that you will stand a better chance of seeing more species of plants and animals.
Most people think “Brazil” when thinking about the Amazon Basin, yet it is also in Peru, Ecuador, and many other countries. You can have good experiences in those countries, so you don’t have to fly all over South America to view the Amazon, unless you do have a special reason. If you wish to visit Machu Picchu, then you certainly might as well do an Amazon trip in Peru. If you want to see the Galapagos, then do an Amazon trip in Ecuador.
Don’t just rely on pretty brochures or websites. I was told by way of a local that one particular lodge in the Iquitos area was probably the prettiest one there – however their guides had all been fired using their company lodges. One of many cruise companies shows many different boats on their website, but only the first is now kept up for regular cruises. Another lodge looks nice on the website, however the service has deteriorated badly and also the buildings have gotten run down. Another provides you with great interaction with all the local Indians, but those Indians also still hunt, which means you won’t see much wildlife around there.
Alcoholism is a problem in the Amazon and guides aren’t immune from that problem. I recall reading many trip reports years back, in which the people claimed that the guide they hired knew a lot regarding the jungle, but he would get drunk during the night and would go after the female clients and wouldn’t bother with cooking dinner, therefore they needed to fend on their own. I used to be recently saddened to learn that one of many top guides in the Peruvian Amazon, person who was the subject of several videos about jungle survival, etc., had been fired, as he had become an alcoholic. His father had also been among the top guides, but he suffered exactly the same fate. Good operators count on repeat business and recommendations advertising, so they can’t afford to keep guides that will cause pr problems.
A good guide can make a big difference over a jungle trip. If you walk into the jungle on your own, all you will see is really a sea of green plants and a symphony of sounds. A great guide knows what all those different plants are and what uses they have. He can tell what is making those sounds, their relationship for the plants in the area and where to look for them. They have got an uncanny eye for spotting seemingly invisible things. I remember an evening walk where we switched off our flashlights and were at night, but our guide somehow spotted a big black spider on a tree trunk. So he can turn a monotone experience in to a Technicolor experience. Just like in every business, an excellent guide can command an improved salary compared to a trainee, so don’t expect to be with a top guide if you go on the cheapest trip you can find. (the weather takes a toll on buildings and boats, so low budget operations are most likely not planning to have well-maintained facilities either. From the same token, the cheaper lodges will also be often close to the city, so they are certainly not in areas that are as pristine or which have as much wildlife.)
Airports at Amazon gateways including Iquitos and Manaus was once havens for scam artists. They knew that many people would arrive without reservations and thus would offer exciting trips at great prices, however they often times would not deliver what they had promised. The governments will work hard to try to eliminate these types, however they can still be a difficulty for unsuspecting budget travelers.
Most travel agencies will offer many of the most highly marketed cruises or lodge stays offering the activities they think most people might like to do, but in order to camp or kayak or do just about anything unusual, then you will need to look elsewhere since the majority of travel agencies tend to be more informed about mass market locations, including Las Vegas, Cancun and Disneyland than they tjxdwn about specialized Amazon trips. A number of the highly marketed properties are like big resorts inside the jungle. If that’s what you’re thinking about, then fine. But some people want some thing intimate and authentic and less intrusive. So it’s better to communicate with a person who has more experience in the kind of trip that you are interested in.