When people think of the Amazon there are some inevitable stereotypes that come to mind and so many of these are completely wrong. Most people don’t realize that the Amazon is bigger than Europe with many diverse ecosystems, climates and regions. To think of the Amazon as one uniform green ‘blob’ on the map is as naïve as thinking that Lisbon and Moscow must be similar in landscape, weather and culture since both are in Europe…
Therefore choosing what to do and where to visit in the Amazon is no easy task and will depend a lot on what your interests are, level of comfort you require and how adventurous you want to be. In general however there are a couple of myths which have to be debunked:
(1) you will be bitten to death by mosquitoes – WRONG! In fact, only in some ecosystems (yellow water rivers) are there mosquitoes and in the black water rivers you will find less mosquitoes than in most tropical beaches.
(2) you will see abundance of wild animals. – WRONG! In most places, the wildlife hides away deep in the jungle and so the Amazon cannot really be considered a good wildlife destination (although there are some exceptions – talk to us about these)
(3) Piranhas and other aggressive animals are constant threat. WRONG! Whereas obviously travelling through the bush requires precautions, the truth is that the forest environment is much less menacing than what most people’s imagination leads them to believe. In fact the rivers are so delicious to swim in, that most travellers, who on the first day of their trip merely wet their feet on the water, will, once their fear is dispelled, swim as much as they can!
(4) – You will see very primitive indigenous communities. Well, this depends. Although it is possible to arrange a visit to remote villages and primitive societies, most people don’t have the time, budget or spirit of adventure necessary to access the really remote areas. Nevertheless you get to see some real primitive communities that lead subsistence lifestyles that live on the shores of the rivers. However, if you want to access real unspoilt Indian territory, every year we take one or two groups of travellers to really far out places…
How best to explore the Amazon then? There is no easy answer since this will depend on your time, budget and interests – but in general if you can afford to charter a small boat to sail through its rivers and pick a perfect river beach to stop for the night, you will have that rare and beautiful feeling of being completely alone in a beautiful and peaceful place which to me defines the very essence of post modern luxury travel.