5 Must-Have Items To Survive Your First Trip To The Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest intact forest. One in ten known species in the world lives here, which constitutes the largest collection of living plants and animals in the world. The main reason that people visit Amazon is to be a witness to this unmatched biodiversity.
A trip to the Amazon rainforest can be an exciting and eye-opening experience. However, this is not a destination you can visit on your own. Visiting the Amazon Rainforest requires specialized planning and experience. This means you will most likely find yourself traveling with a tour operator of some type. With your tour operator taking charge over essentials things like water, food, and shelter. The list of survival necessities becomes a bit more manageable. Despite what Bear Grylls may say, you will probably want to leave your machete and fire starters at home for this adventure. Over the years we have seen what you will truly need to survive your first trip to the rainforest and what you do not.
Please keep in mind to always choose a reputable, well-vetted, tour operator. Remember when traveling to these remote areas “you get what you pay for” if someone promises you something that seems too good to be true…it probably is. Here at Amazonia Expeditions where we have been delivering spectacular adventures into the rainforest of Peru as the region’s leading ecotourism operator for over 30 years. We offer an authentic experience and have a strict code of conduct that protects our staff, visitors, the environment. This includes an ethical code to not handle or harass wildlife in their natural setting. If you are looking for a selfie with wildlife this is not the place for you!
In the list below we will break it all down for you and tell you why we think these are 5 essential items you just cannot go without on your first visit to the Amazon Rainforest.
Note: we do not recommend bringing only these items on your trip. These are only the items that we think are the most important. Our full packing list is available for prospective clients upon request.
Everyone (even if you are not visiting the rainforest) should own a headlamp. Useful for short camping trips at home, walking your dog at night, and even as a part of your home emergency kit, a good quality headlamp can be indispensable. Here in the Amazon Rainforest headlamps are one of our most useful tools. Headlamps are lightweight, portable, most importantly…allow you to see while having both of your hands available. This is especially important when exploring the jungle during night excursions or just for looking through your bag after a long day of adventure. With seemingly endless choices on the market, it can be a real challenge to figure out what to buy. Over the years we have tested many different brands in the harshest of conditions, so far, only two have made our top list:
The Fenix HM65R 1400 Lumen LED Headlamp is the favorite of our guides, this headlamp is extremely bright, waterproof, and rechargeable via micro-USB, we recommend this for anyone who feels they need the top of the line available
The Black Diamond Storm Headlamp is smaller and less pricey this headlamp offers a good punch and good reliability. Perfect for home use or short night excursions into the jungle.
2. Mosquito Repellant
On your first visit to the Amazon Rainforest, you should certainly be prepared to encounter mosquitos. The good news is that most visitors are generally pleased to find fewer mosquitos than they expected.
Depending on which region you visit, protection against these insects is especially important as they can potentially carry diseases. Thankfully, our region of the Amazon located in the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Regional Conservation Area (ACRCTT) is well known for being free of mosquito-borne diseases like Zika, Dengue, Yellow Fever, and Malaria.
Nonetheless, mosquitos can still make your trip extremely uncomfortable. Therefore, a high-quality mosquito repellant is essential to enjoying your time in the Amazon Rainforest. While the best defense against mosquitos is to wear adequate clothing (read more later), when that is not enough, some sort of spray repellent may be necessary. Traditionally, a chemical-based spray containing DEET was the spray of choice. However, DEET (while it does work) has a nasty habit of melting plastic wristwatches, ponchos, cell phone cases, it is also not the greatest for the environment. Additionally, as you can imagine (with most chemicals that can melt plastic) it can potentially lead to some side effects when you put it on your skin: including irritation, redness, swelling, nausea, headaches, and stomach problems. For this reason, when a repellant spray is necessary, we always recommend natural alternatives.
1. We have found the most success with sprays that use a combination of Lemon & Eucalyptus Oil. This provides a strong defense against mosquitos (and other insects) and will not melt your plastic items in the process. For best all-around protection we recommend: Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent
Packing the right type of clothing is one of the most important tips for surviving your first trip to the Amazon Rainforest. We recommend clothing made of lightweight breathable fabrics, these will help keep you cool and are quick to dry after that unexpected rain shower. Long sleeves are best for keeping off the mosquitos and protection against UV rays. Clothing with a tight or slim fit is not generally recommended since they will not protect you from mosquitos who can bite right through even surprisingly thick fabrics.
Remember, you do not have to break the bank, but purchasing a few pieces of quality clothing to improve your experience is probably not a bad investment! We recommend Colombia shirts as an affordable and trusted brand. Here are some of our favorites from them:
Remember this is the rainforest, which means you are more than likely to run into a few unexpected rainstorms on your trip. Having a way to protect yourself and your gear from the rain is crucial in this environment. For an affordable and practical option, we recommend a lightweight and packable Rain Poncho.
We recommend the FROGG TOGGS Breathable Poncho. This poncho is very affordable, easily packable, and offers good rain protection. While exploring the rainforest, carrying one of these with you in your daypack is very highly recommended.
5. Water Bottle
Hydration is the most important and often overlooked aspect of survival in the rainforest. Especially for the first-time traveler, the rainforest environment can be harsh on the body. A combination of heat and high humidity makes it difficult for your body to cool itself down naturally. Dehydration is a real threat in this type of environment. Fortunately, there is a simple and easy thing you can do to avoid this problem. DRINK WATER. On average, while in the rainforest, you should be drinking double or triple the amount of water you normally drink per day. When you are planning your trip, make sure to work with a tour operator that will provide you with as much water as you need free of charge. At our rainforest lodges, we have clean, purified water available 24/7 for the use of our guests. A reusable water bottle is part of our required packing list for all our guests. Important note: for anyone on a low salt diet, you may want to leave that diet at home. Besides drinking enough water, salt is also a necessary ingredient for hydration.
For water bottles we recommend the Nalgene Tritan BPA-Free Water Bottle. This reusable water bottle from Nalgene is lightweight, long-lasting, and will keep you hydrated at home, on your flights, and while exploring the jungle. Starting as little as $7, it leak-proof, easy to clean, and made from BPA-free Tritan plastic.
Our time in the jungle was an absolute highlight on our trip to Peru! Truly amazing! …Again, we had the most wonderful time. Almost more than words can say. The jungle and the Tahuayo Lodge hold very special places in our hearts and CAN NOT WAIT to return. Thank you again for offering such an amazing trip.
Our trip was INCREDIBLE. The lodge was great, the food was amazing, and the staff were all so friendly. We loved our stays at the B&B, the main lodge, and the ARC.
Tia & Paula
It was incredible and a trip of a lifetime Paul! My sister Paula and I had an amazing time and loved everything — your facilities and staff are top notch and I want to come back with my husband and daughters!!