The most common way to visit the Amazon is through a jungle lodge stay. Which usually involves a couple naturalist outings per day and some good R&R. Some of your daily excursions involve physical activity — a nature walk, a climb to a canopy tower. But for those that want a more hands-on adventure, the naturalist tour may not cut it. There are some unique, active adventure tours out there that offer a fun, interactive way to explore the wild beauty of the Amazon.
Ecuador’s Amazon — While, yes, you are going to see wildlife a highlight of the Ecuador’s jungle has to be its people. Many lodges are eco-tourism projects developed as ways for the indigenous to ward off impending oil exploration and maintain their way of life. Many tours include a visit to a nearby community and the chance for unforgettable cultural experiences.
Ecuador Adventure, an Ecuadorian adventure tour operator, has a knack for putting together creative, multi-sport itineraries in all the top destinations of Ecuador. They offer two great adventure tours in Ecuador’s Amazon:
1. Amazon Wildlife Kayak Exploration (5 Day) — Your home base for this extraordinary trip is a Kichwa-owned and operated lakefront lodge. The adventure starts upon arrival with a 2-hour paddle down the Challuayaku River to your lodge. Spend your days exploring the Yasuni National Park (982,000 hectares) and Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve (600,000 hectares) by kayak, foot and interactions with the local people.
2. Hauorani Kayaking Expedition (6 Days) The Huaorani people have inhabited the headwaters of the
Amazon for millennia. They lived as hunters and gatherers untouched by the outside world until the end of the 1950s. To date, there are still a few Huaorani clans that continue to shun all contact with the outside world.
Explore the Yasuni National Park, one of the most bio-diverse ecosystems on earth with the the best of the experts, the Huaorani, and of coarse a bi-lingual naturalist guide. Kayak down rivers camping along the way, hike through primary and secondary forest, even try out a Huaorani dug-out canoe. A great active trip with a fascinating cultural adventure.
Peru’s Amazon The Amazon covers two-thirds of Peru and offers access to amazing wildlife. And while, yes, there are opportunities for cultural exchange the draw tends to be its wildlife.
Rainforest Expeditions operates three award-winning lodges in and around the Tambopata National Reserve. The company offers soft-adventure packages at its Posadas Amazonas and Refugio Amazonas lodges.
Posadas Amazonas is easily accessed and ideal for those short on time. This experience is an economic, introductory nature tour to Amazonia´s richest rain forests and also an excellent extension to visiting the infamous Machu Picchu. Their adventure program includes a medicinal plant walk with local Infierno community members, lake kayaking and kayaking the Tambopata River, and the option to mountain bike — a rarity in the rainforest.
Refugio Amazonas: Located two hours upriver from Posada Amazonas is ideal for stand alone three night experiences and for breaking the expeditions to and from Tambopata Research Center. Being further into the rainforest provides for greater wildlife encounters. Their adventure tour includes climbing a 30-meter tree! Along with kayaking down the Tambopata River, and hikes through the rainforest.
Adventure Tours from Rainforest Expeditions: