Off the Beaten Track: Amazon River Cruising
Stretching for more than 6,600 kilometres and winding its way through Peru, Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador, the mighty Amazon River is one of the most legendary waterways in the world. Home to an array of natural and cultural diversity, it is the gateway to travel experiences unlike any other. Whether visiting a native village, taking photos of pink river dolphins, or setting off on a shore walk, guests will be fascinated from start to finish on their cruise.
Travellers flock to the Amazon River, tantalised by the verdant, lush landscapes, the tributaries teeming with aquatic life, and the Amazon Rainforest’s amazing inhabitants. Around 1,500 species of fish can be found in the Amazon system, including giant catfish and, of course, the famous piranha. River turtles, sea cows, alligators, anacondas and dolphins can also be found, while the rainforest’s residents include vampire bats, jaguars, spider monkeys, sloths, macaws, porcupine, agouti, howler monkeys, toucans, marmosets, iguanas and armadillos.
When to Visit
As the Amazon is situated so close to the equator, temperatures are warm year-round. During the rainy or wet season, which runs from December to April, you can expect things to be slightly cooler than the dry season (May-November). The wet season also sees higher rainfall and water levels, meaning it’s easier to explore small tributaries and discover the wide array of wildlife that are drawn to the variety of blooming flowers and plants. If you decide to book your Amazon cruise for this time of year, just make sure you pack insect repellent!
The dry season also has its advantages. Thanks to the drier weather, the Amazon’s water levels are lower and, as a result, sandy beaches and jungle paths appear. This is an ideal time to observe animals nesting and laying eggs, from turtles and fish to birds and caimans. On a jungle walk, you may also have the chance to get up close and personal with a sloth.
A number of cruise line companies offer Amazon River cruises, including Avalon Waterways, Aqua Expeditions, Silversea, Lindblad, Crystal Cruises and Holland America Line. With such a variety of cruise lines to choose from, it will be easy to find a price, itinerary and style to suit your needs and wants.
- Prepare for the weather – Annually, the Amazon rainforest receives torrential rainfall, between 1,500 mm and 3,000 mm. While the wet season certainly has more rain than the dry season, you’re still likely to experience a shower no matter when you’re cruising through the Amazon. Make sure you pack an umbrella and a raincoat or light rain jacket.
- Prepare for the insects – Visitors to the Amazon River have to contend with the resident mosquitoes, so pack insect repellent and light (not black) cotton clothing that covers as much of you as possible. To avoid leeches, tuck your pants securely into your socks and always check your shoes before wearing them. Also let your doctor know of your trip in advance, so you can receive any recommended medication or vaccinations.
- Prepare for jungle walks – Pack sturdy, non-slip walking shoes, a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen, and don’t forget your binoculars or bottle of water.
Are you ready for an Amazonian adventure?