The Amazon rainforest is a dripping, squawking, seething mass of biodiversity dominating South America. Here's your guide to planning the ultimate jungle adventure
The Amazon is vast. Covering 5,500,000 sq km, the Amazon spreads into nine countries: predominantly Brazil, but also Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
The Amazon is the world’s wildest place, home to incredible biodiversity. Within this abundant rainforest you’ll find sharp-toothed piranhas, snapping caiman, bright birds, buzzing insects, howling monkeys and – if you’re lucky – prowling jaguar.
There are also people living in this jungly domain. Many indigenous tribes still live traditional lives in the forest. Some, such as the Emberá of Brazil, are fighting to hang on to their land in the face of deforestation; others, such as the Huaorani in Ecuador, have set up acclaimed eco-lodges to provide funds for their community.
So, where to start?
Giant rainforest tree, Ecuador (Shutterstock.com)
It should come as no surprise that one of the best ways to get around the Amazon is by boat. Simply buy a hammock, hook it up and you can kick back and watch the world go by. Lars and Liane have 10 tips to make an Amazon boat trip even more amazing.
Once you get to the jungle you'll want somewhere comfortable and environmentally friendly to stay. Sarah Gilbert has road-tested the best of Ecuador's Amazonian eco-lodges. Down in the Bolivian Amazon Alex Robinson learned how to track jaguar, while Jessie Grimmond signed up as a volunteer on a scientific trip that measured the impact of hunting and the timber trade on pink river dolphins, otters, capybaras and manatees. Both explain how you can too.
Finally, there is no shortage of mosquitoes in the Amazon, many of them bearing malaria. Hazel Plush reveals 5 simple ways to avoid getting the disease.
Ten top tips for an amazing Amazonian boat adventure – Lars and Liane
Ecuador’s Amazon eco-lodges – Sarah Gilbert
Track jaguar in the Bolivian Amazon – Alex Robinson
Volunteering afloat in the Peruvian Amazon – Jessie Grimmond
5 ways to avoid malaria – Hazel Plush
Red-striped Poison Dart Frog (Shutterstock.com)
Tropical forests are wonderful places, both to photograph and just to experience, but they can eat you and your equipment. Luckily Steve Davey is on hand with advice on the planning – and protection – it takes to get a great shot in the jungle.
If it’s inspiration you’re after, check out the photos our readers have captured on their Amazonian adventures.
Shooting photographs in the jungle – Steve Davey
Indigenous tribe, Brazil (Shutterstock.com)
Ready to start planning your trip? Our Amazon Travel Guide is the place to start. Make sure you drop by our Amazon recommendations and Amazon travel tips pages as well. We've rounded up the latest travel news from the Amazon too.
If you have a particular question about the Amazon, pop over to the myWanderlust Forum where our knowledgeable community are ready to spring into action and share all they know. Or check out the questions that have already been asked about the Amazon. The answer to yours might already be there.
Amazon travel guide – Wanderlust Team
Amazon recommendations – Wanderlust Team
Amazon travel tips – Wanderlust Team
Canoe heading up the Amazon River (Shutterstock.com)
Here's a selection of fantastic tours offered by our partners. From overland adventures that will take you from one side of South America to the other to conservation experiences in the Manu UNESCO Biosphere, there is something to suit every taste and budget.
Main image: Sunset over the Amazon in Peru (Shutterstock.com)