A lowland gorilla in the Congo rainforest (Shutterstock)
List Words : Team Wanderlust | 29 July 2019

The 7 best tours of the world’s greatest rainforests

Lush, green and teeming with wildlife, the world’s rainforests are the lungs of the earth. They are havens of biodiversity, and offer some of the last great adventures on the planet...

1. Discover untouched nature in Odzala-Kokoua National Park

A Bonobo in the Congo (Shutterstock)

A Bonobo in the Congo (Shutterstock)

Travel deep into one of the planet’s largest expanses of tropical rainforest and discover an extraordinary world of untouched nature on this tour through Congo’s Odzala-Kokoua National Park with Rainbow Tours.

The Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Republic of Congo is garden of eden for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. You’ll spend seven nights in the national park and stay at three different lodges, each built from locally-sourced materials and creatively designed to blend with the surroundings. In the park, you’ll encounter three habituated groups of western lowland gorilla reside.

While coming across these great apes during a rainforest hike is an undoubted highlight, there will be plenty of others, too. The national park has another 11 species of primate, as well as forest elephant, forest buffalo, and bongo antelope.

Expect a myriad of beautiful birds - 430 species to be exact - including special birds such as the white-crested tiger heron, Congo serpent eagle, vermiculated fishing owl, forest swallow and black-and-white-casqued hornbill.

Trip: Congo Explorer & Gorillas

Who: Rainbow Tours

Type: Tailor-made

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 11 days

How much: From £7,770 (inc. flights)

2. Go wild in Borneo’s largest rainforest

Sunrise over the Danum Valley (Shutterstock)

Sunrise over the Danum Valley (Shutterstock)

Explore the largest protected area of lowland rainforest in Sabah and get up close and personal with Borneo's fabulous wildlife, on this extraordinary nature tour through the Danum Valley with Rainbow Tours.

After visiting the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, you’ll head up the Kinabatangan River to Danum Valley. Here, you’ll enjoy a night drive in an open-top vehicle in search of nocturnal animals, stroll along a canopy treetop walkway, and take a morning jungle trek or tube down the Danum River, discovering every aspect of life in the rainforest.

Your base is the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, an incredible eco-lodge nestled within the rainforest beside the Lipad River. Just walking to breakfast reveals many of the hundreds of species of birds that live in the Tabin area. A true insight into one of the world’s great rainforests.

Trip: The Really Wild Tour: Sukau And Danum Valley

Who: Rainbow Tours

Type: Tailor-made

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: Eight days

How much: From £2,895 (exc. flights)

Discover more Borneo rainforest trips to book

3. Cruise into the heart of the Amazon

A rare pink dolphin on the Rio Negro (Shutterstock)

A rare pink dolphin on the Rio Negro (Shutterstock)

Experience areas of the Amazon that few people visit on this extraordinary expedition cruise along the Rio Negro with KE Adventure Travels. 

Designed to take you deep into the world’s greatest rainforest, this one-week cruise includes daily excursions in search of wildlife in this cathedral of green, via canoe, kayak and on foot. Led by expert guides, you’ll spot sloths, river dolphins and howler monkeys and come away with a deeper understanding of the rainforest environment as a whole.

Back on board, you’ll enjoy large viewing decks and en-suite rooms. Don't worry, it's still extremely eco-friendly. Your expedition is one of the most sustainable cruises in the Amazon.

Trip: Expedition Into The Heart Of The Amazon

Who: KE Adventure Travels

Type: Small group

When: Departures Jul to Dec

How long: Eight days

How much: From £2,825 (exc. flights)

4. Get eco-friendly with Costa Rica’s diverse forests

Eco lodge in the rainforest in Costa Rica (Shutterstock)

Eco lodge in the rainforest in Costa Rica (Shutterstock)

There is no better way to experience Costa Rica’s incredibly biodiverse forests than on this two-week tour of the country staying in world renowned, award winning eco-lodges.

Offering the perfect combination of nature, seclusion and adventure, these wonderful lodges are luxurious, environmentally-friendly and set in some of the most breathtaking locations on earth.

From the Lirio Lodge in Tortuguero National Park to the Almonds and Corals Lodge in Manzanillo, you’ll be stay in the heart of the forest. Want deeper? You’ll have to raft along the Pacuare River to get to the Rios Tropicales Lodge.

Nature is never far away. You’ll witness sea turtles nesting, hike up the Arenal Volcano, and round things off with some whale watching. You’ll definitely feel pura vida – life in its purest form.

Trip: Costa Rica: Eco Itinerary

Who: Evaneos

Type: Tailor-made

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 14 days

How much: £1,770 (exc. flights)

5. Discover where reef meets rainforest

Cape Tribulation in the Daintree (Shutterstock)

Cape Tribulation in the Daintree (Shutterstock)

Explore the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest in Australia and discover the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef on this 'Reef and Rainforest' tour of northern Queensland with Wexas Travel.

The Daintree Rainforest is unique in that it is fringed by white sand beaches and coral reefs. This itinerary combines it all: beach relaxation on Palm Cove, a luxury retreat in the heart of the Daintree forest and five unforgettable days on Lizard Island – the northernmost resort in the Great Barrier Reef.

Throughout, you'll stay in some of Australia's most enticing accommodation, from private island getaways to luxury treehouses and beachside boutique hotels. Whether you're a keen scuba diver, a sun worshipper, a wildlife enthusiast or a culinary connoisseur, this unique region has something special to offer.

Trip: The Great Barrier Reef: Palm Cove, Daintree And Lizard Island

Who: Wexas Travel

Type: Tailor-made

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 14 days

How much: From £5,080 (inc. flights)

6. Help save the Amazon in Peru

Family of Capybara in Manu National Park, Peru (Shutterstock)

Family of Capybara in Manu National Park, Peru (Shutterstock)

Don’t just visit one of the most vital rainforests on the planet, do your bit to help preserve it, on this Amazon conservation experience with The Great Project.

Situated on the fringe of the UNESCO-recognised Manu National Park, this project offers volunteers the opportunity to witness some of the most spectacular and vital biodiversity in the world. Not only is Manu home to 14 different species of monkeys, but a myriad of other exciting species such as jaguars, sloths and anteaters make their homes here, too. 

It’s for this reason that the area’s protection remains so important – and that's where you come in. As a volunteer, you will monitor the health of certain indicator species such as butterflies, reptiles and birds, and work with local communities to improve their livelihoods and living standards.

It’s a great way to get involved in a meaningful conservation experience on the doorstep of the most iconic rainforest on earth.

Trip: Amazon Conservation Experience In Peru

Who: The Great Projects

Type: Small group

When: Set departures throughout the year

How long: 15 days

How much: From £1,395 (exc. flights)

7. Conquer the world’s toughest rainforest in PNG

Family watching from their hut in PNG (Shutterstock)

Family watching from their hut in PNG (Shutterstock)

The rainforest of Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s last great wilderness. It is mostly impenetrable, always uncomfortably hot and humid, and not for the fainthearted – especially on this hard core trek along the famous Kokoda Track with Intrepid.

Surrounded by dense greenery, glistening rivers and incredible views, the trail was the site of one of the bloodiest battles in World War II. Even today, it is no easy undertaking. Hiking up the arid spines of mountains and through valleys of lush rainforest, this challenging adventure invites you to confront your own physical and mental boundaries in the middle of the jungle.

Thankfully, you’ll have your own personal porter, who will look out for you every step of the way. You'll also meet friendly locals who will help where they can and let your stay in their remote villages.

This is arguably one of the toughest rainforest adventures out there, but also one of the most rewarding. 

Trip: The Kokoda Track

Who: Intrepid

Type: Small group

When: Departures Apr to Oct

How long: 11 days

How much: From £2,465 (exc. flights)

This article was written in July 2019. Always check the Foreign Office's travel advice before booking your trip

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