Last updated on December 31st, 2018 at 12:01 pm
The Amazon Rainforest & How to Choose the Best Accommodations
The Amazon rainforest is a massive biome covering over 5.5 million square kilometers! It spans over 9 countries in South America! The Amazon is considered to be one of the worlds most biodiverse tropical rainforests on Earth with an estimated 390 billion individual trees! Or about 16,000 species. As for wildlife, there are an estimated 2.5 million insects, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians, and 378 reptiles.
While visiting the Amazon Rainforest you might want to consider your accommodations. A place to reminisce after the days adventures. Sunsets over the river, or stories around a campfire. A morning cup of coffee can be had at both!
We often ask our travelers what kind of Amazon journey they’d like to embark on. Will it be a lodge or a cruise? Both of these are great options, but have their unique characteristics. Read on to get an understanding of each, and let us know if you’d like more details. We’re passionate about the Amazon!
A cruise can give the experience and comfort of luxury in the Amazon, where lodges in this region often don’t measure up. While there are lodges that are considered “luxurious”, they can’t compete with the amenities a 5★ cruise has. So if you are searching for elegant showers, high thread count sheets, gourmet meals, and spas, plan on taking a cruise.
Our travel experts know the area, they’ve traveled there and seen it for themselves. Our team helps our travelers decide which cruises will have the amenities they desire. Not all Amazon River boats are considered luxurious. The trick is knowing how to experience the Amazon River like a pro! The ships we work with not only have the finer amenities, but are quite small. This means they can meander through small tributaries! We want our travelers to have that exclusivity, but also a chance to meet other travelers on the boats and make new friends.
If you are more interested in the marine life of the Amazon, a cruise will offer more chances for you to see this type of flora and fauna. Otters, fish, snakes, caiman, manatees, frogs, turtles and yes, even dolphins! Yes, that means piranhas and anacondas too, and our guest often return excited about seeing all this wildlife. Our partners and cruise ship captains keep their guest absolutely safe. Don’t worry, Anacondas are actually very cool to see.
While not always the case, excursions from cruises tend to be a bit easier so this is great for older or younger guests! You’ll do more boating excursions which means you can relax and enjoy rather your excursion rather than having to hike somewhere. (Although we can arrange this too if you’re interested).
Almost all cruises will have more hotel like comforts you’re familiar with. Air conditioning, hot water, 24/7 electricity, and more. Yes you can charge your camera on most boats! (Side note: as someone who has visited the Amazon 3 times and definitely does not enjoy being uncomfortable, I have never felt like I had to have any of those things in a lodge or cruise. But if you are someone who desires these amenities, a cruise is a great option.)
You’ve probably heard about bugs in the Amazon! On a cruise, you’ll be less likely to have to deal with them! In truth, and you may be surprised to hear this, bugs are actually not that big of a problem in the Amazon. If you’re a bit squeamish, your cabin in a cruise will be completely closed to the outside and you’ll have less chance of a surprise visitor.
Cruises tend to have a much smaller capacity for guests, so the setting may be a bit more intimate. Your excursion group sizes will most likely be the same (around 8) in lodge or cruise. Bring your friends or family, let us worry about fitting you on the right boat. And let us know if you want something quieter, or a larger boat so you can make new friends on your journey.
Your guides at lodges have the ability to be more flexible with excursions due to weather or particular animal sightings. If they know that a rare animal sighting is nearby, such as a Black Spider Monkey or Sloth, they can move the schedule around and maybe get you out there to see it. Additionally, if the weather’s not perfect, they can move the schedule around for that too and come up with other activities.
You’ll get a much more in-depth experience in the area you are located at a lodge. There will be many hiking trails and you’ll spend your days and nights getting to know the area well.
Typically lodges come at a lower price than a cruise so you have budget flexibility to enjoy on other parts of your South American adventure.
If you are more interested in the wildlife that inhabits the forest of the Amazon, a lodge will offer more chances for you to see this type of flora and fauna. Think pigs, capybara, birds, monkeys, sloths, monkeys, Macaws, and more!
If you want to get the maximum chance of seeing a variety of wildlife, a lodge may be your best bet. Animals prefer to reside further into the forest and away from towns and people. There are some lodges that are 6-7 hours into the jungle and some much closer. Choose one that works for you depending on how ‘jungl-y’ you’d like to get! (That is not to say a cruise is without wildlife).
Because most lodges are eco-friendly, they won’t have generators/electricity running at all times. This means you’ll get to listen to all the amazing sounds of the forest. Give me a call and I’ll tell you about the morning I woke up in an Amazon lodge listening to my first howler monkeys!
If flexibility is your best friend, lodges don’t have set departure dates. This way you can work them into any itinerary easily. This also makes it easier to get availability at the lodges of your choice.
While we recommend at least 3 nights at a lodge to get a full experience, there is the opportunity to just do 2 nights. Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong with an Amazon lodge or cruise. If you enjoy the comforts of a hotel and have 3 to 4 nights to dedicate to this massive rainforest, go with a cruise! If you are traveling with a group, there will be excursions for everyone on a cruise. If you enjoy having an authentic Amazon experience with a few fewer comforts but a better chance of seeing wildlife, go with a lodge! Either way, this is an experience that can’t be missed.