There are numerous points to consider when trying to decide which Amazon cruise or tour to do and nowadays there are several choices to select from. What factors should you consider when deciding which is the best option for you?
* Do you wish to get an in-depth experience or do you just want to get a “taste” in the jungle?
* The number of days would you like to remain in the jungle?
* Have you been only coming to the jungle or are you considering going to other places? (Machu Picchu, Rio, Galapagos, etc.)
* How active do you want to be?
* Do you possess specific things you should do within the jungle, that the package tour might not offer?
Some individuals just want to get an idea in regards to what the jungle is like. On their behalf, a 3 day lodge stay or cruise might suffice. Which will allow them 1 full day in the jungle, considering that the 1st and last days are normally mostly for travel from your airport and back for the airport. They shouldn’t anticipate seeing much wildlife or primary jungle though because they’re just not getting far enough away from the cities and nearby people. As an example, Manaus has about 1.5 million inhabitants, so you need to get pretty far out of the city to feel like you are in a wilderness area.
People who want to really get yourself a feel for the jungle must stay longer. It always takes a few days for people to wind down for the rhythm of the jungle and you need to get into many different ecosystems so you stand an improved chance of seeing more varieties of animals and plants.
A lot of people think “Brazil” when thinking about the Amazon Basin, however 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 around South America to find out the Amazon, unless you have a special reason. If you wish to head to Machu Picchu, then you might as well do an Amazon trip in Peru. If you want to view the Galapagos, then do an Amazon trip in Ecuador.
Don’t just rely on pretty brochures or websites. I had been told with a local that certain particular lodge within the Iquitos area was probably the prettiest one there – however guides had all been fired off their lodges. Among the cruise companies shows many different boats on their website, but only the initial one is now kept up for regular cruises. Another lodge looks nice on the website, but the service has deteriorated badly and the buildings have gotten run down. Another offers you great interaction with all the local Indians, but those Indians also still hunt, so you won’t see much wildlife around there.
Alcoholism is an issue within the Amazon and guides aren’t immune from that problem. I remember reading many trip reports in the past, in which the people claimed that the guide they hired knew a whole lot about the jungle, but he would get drunk at nighttime and would go right after the female clients and wouldn’t bother with cooking dinner, so they had to fend for themselves. I used to be recently saddened to understand that one of the top guides in the Peruvian Amazon, one that was the main topic of several videos about jungle survival, etc., have been fired, because he had become an alcoholic. His father had already been one of many top guides, but he suffered the identical fate. Good operators rely on repeat business and recommendations advertising, therefore they can’t afford to keep guides which will cause publicity problems.
A great guide can make all the difference on a jungle trip. Should you go to the jungle on your own, all you will observe is actually a sea of green plants along with a symphony of sounds. A great guide knows what all those different plants are and what uses they have got. He can tell precisely what is making those sounds, their relationship for the plants in the region and where to search for them. They have got an uncanny eye for spotting seemingly invisible things. I recall a night walk where we switched off our flashlights and were in the dark, but our guide somehow spotted a huge black spider on a tree trunk. So he can turn a monotone experience into a Technicolor experience. Just like in any business, a great guide can command a better salary compared to a trainee, so don’t expect to get along with a top guide if you go on the cheapest trip you can find. (the climate requires a toll on buildings and boats, so low budget operations are probably not likely to have well-maintained facilities either. By the same token, the cheaper lodges are also often close to the city, so they are certainly not in areas which can be as pristine or which have just as much wildlife.)
Airports at Amazon gateways like Iquitos and Manaus was once havens for scam artists. They knew that lots of people would arrive with no reservations and so would offer exciting trips at low prices, but of course they often times would not deliver whatever they had promised. The governments work hard to try to eliminate these types, but they can certainly be a problem for unsuspecting budget travelers.
Most travel agencies will provide probably the most highly marketed cruises or lodge stays that offer the activities they think many people might like to do, but in order to camp or kayak or do just about anything out of the ordinary, then you will need to look elsewhere since the majority of travel agencies are more informed about mass market locations, such as Vegas, Cancun and Disneyland compared to they tjxdwn about specialized Amazon trips. A few of the highly marketed properties are like big resorts in the jungle. If that’s what you’re interested in, then fine. But some people want something more intimate and authentic and less intrusive. So it’s preferable to get in touch with a person who has more experience with the kind of trip that you are looking for.