“No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced.” – David Attenborough
There are many individual access points across nine South American countries into the Amazon Rainforest. And tourism to this vital tropical rainforest is more crucial than ever to ensure its survival and, in turn, our survival. Tropical rainforests, like the great Amazon, regulate the global temperature, absorbing harmful greenhouse gases on a scale that cannot be replicated if they disappear. Together with the world’s oceans, forests absorbed an impressive 55% of dangerous fossil fuel emissions between 1960 and 2015; and the Amazon basin alone contains one-fifth of the planet’s freshwater.
If you are considering a trip to South America, and the rainforest hasn’t factored into your plans yet because you think it will be too far away from your other bucket-list items or logistically out-of-reach, think again! You have plenty of options for a quick 3-day Amazon getaway in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, or Bolivia, jumping off from the following six fantastic South American jungle cities.
When it comes to Brazilian territory, the Amazon is king. This rainforest spans 40% of Brazil, and Manaus is the largest city in the Amazon region. As the capital city of the Amazonas Brazilian state in the northwestern corner of the country, Manaus serves as an essential gateway into the heart of the Amazon. The city itself is home to numerous botanical and zoological parks and many day-trip options to get up close and personal with the Amazon’s stunning biodiversity.
Leticia represents another capital city in another area called Amazonas but in Colombia. Sitting on the mighty Amazon River banks and the Brazilian and Peruvian borders, there are definitely fewer crowds than in bustling Manaus. You can take a comfortable flight from Bogotá to get there and choose to dig deep into the wilds of the jungle with a lodge-stay, take a cruise following the Amazon River, or embark on 1-2 day-trips to the outskirts of the Amazonian city limits.
Ecuador being such a compact country, makes it quite easy to explore the Amazon on the front or tail end of your Galapagos adventure and pass through Quito on the way. The Ecuadorian Amazon city of Coca lines the Napo Riverport, the Yasuní National Park, and the Amazon basin. A blip of a flight from Quito in the heart of the Andes (30 minutes), Coca is the entry point to fabulous Amazon Lodges such as the Napo Wildlife Center.
Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado, Peru
The Peruvian Amazon jungle is unique because it spans both Peru’s northern and southern regions, divided by the Andes Mountains range. Iquitos city lies to the north and Puerto Maldonado to the south. We recommend choosing one or the other during your trip if you are traveling to Peru, because the jungle experience in both cities offers many similarities in flora and fauna, with one significant difference in geography: The Amazon River flows through Iquitos, whereas only its main tributaries flow through Puerto Maldonado.
If you are looking for an Amazon cruise experience, then Iquitos is your best option; here, you can also catch a glimpse of the mythical pink river dolphins. On the other hand, Puerto Maldonado and the Tambopata Amazon Jungle houses the most isolated jungle lodge: The Tambopata Research Center (TRC). At TRC, you can get up close and personal with the brilliant Macaws and, if you’re fortunate, spy one of the big cats roaming this vast forest.
This brings us to the southern-most edge of the Amazon region in Bolivia, and Rurrenabaque or “Rurre” for short. This town champions ecotourism in the Bolivian Amazon and the Madidi National Park. The flora and fauna biodiversity and overall landscapes are equally breathtaking here as in any other part of the Amazon, however quite a bit lighter on your wallet.
Given the myriad of exciting ways to experience the Amazon Rainforest, you can be a part of the global effort to protect it from agricultural expansion and widespread deforestation by merely visiting. Your presence and interest not only make an essential difference in the existence of the richest life-source on earth but will also surely grant you an experience you will never forget in your lifetime! Contact us to learn more about how to incorporate the Amazon Rainforest into your South American adventure.