Wherever you choose to stay, it is likely you will be spending the daytime hours walking along trails looking for wildlife, exploring in a kayak or canoe, climbing canopy towers or waiting patiently in a hide. As to be expected in the largest rainforest on earth, rain is likely year-round and humidity is high both during the day and at night.
To help you plan accordingly, here is our guide on what to take and why;
When travelling in and out of the Amazon, the journey is often a mixed bag of boat journeys, ferry crossings and mini-van or 4×4 sections. Sometimes there may even be a transfer by canoe! For this reason, a bag which is easy to carry and protected against water splashes will make this exciting part much more enjoyable. Duffel bags work particularly well, but remember many lodges do not have a smooth path to their entranceway so wheeled suitcases are useless!
A small rucksack is perfect to stash your daily essentials in when out on tours or activities. Something with rain protection and big enough for a camera, bottle of water, insect repellent and snacks.
Hiking Boots / Shoes
It goes without saying that walking through the Amazon is no walk in the park. Terrain underfoot can be uneven, slippery and covered with objects such as tree roots. In addition, getting in and out of boats or canoes requires a secure foothold! Full boots will also protect from any insects such as mosquitoes or ants which may bite. Remember due to the high rainfall, having waterproof footwear will make everything much more comfortable. Some lodges provide rubber boots, but it’s still a good idea to take your own.
Many of the lodges are built using wooden walkways which link the rooms and dining areas. In the mornings and evenings, give your feet a break from your boots and slip into some sandals.
Fast drying clothes with long sleeves are great for the Amazon, protecting you from both insects and the sun. Even if it doesn’t rain during your visit, the chances are you will get damp just from the heat and humidity. A lightweight, waterproof jacket is essential for if you get caught in a downpour – or even a full poncho. In the evenings it can get significantly cooler, so lots of thin layers work best to keep your temperature level. Be sure to take a couple of sets of comfortable clothes to wear at meal times too, so you don’t have to wear your dirty and damp clothes which you’ve been hiking in all day!
Many lodges have an area of the river which is suitable for swimming, or a traditional swimming pool. After a long day in the elements, taking a dip to escape the head and humidity is bliss, so don’t forget your swim gear!
Aside from taking a supply of sunscreen (the tropical sun is exceptionally strong) include good sunglasses and a hat. Sunglasses will also come in useful for when spotting wildlife and a hat can double up as rain protection.
The amount of biting insects in the Amazon is often exaggerated and, in some parts, where the water is black, mosquitoes are unable to breed due to the acidity of the water, meaning there are very few to content with. Nevertheless, it is important to take precautions including protective clothing (some clothes now have repellent built into the material), a good spray containing DEET and use the mosquito net at night which your lodge will provide. It is likely you may get the odd bite, so a bite cream can be useful too.
The lodge will be able to supply you with drinking water, and some lodges will also give you a reusable bottle for the duration of your stay. Taking water with you on excursions is extremely important due to the high temperatures.
Whether you choose to take simple ziplock plastic bags or buy waterproofed kit bags, these are incredibly useful to protect a variety of items against the humidity and against water (should they be dropped or splashed, particularly on boat trips).
It goes without saying that you will want to record your adventure into the Amazon, so a camera is an essential item. Be sure to take back up memory cards in case one fails, charging equipment and of course a waterproof case.
Binoculars & Nature Field Guide
The guide will have binoculars to spot wildlife on any nature walks or excursions, but this can become frustrating when there is just one pair to share between a number of people. Take you own and the wildlife viewing will be even more enjoyable. If you also take a field guide for the species you may spot, it can be a great reminder of what you saw in years to come.
Limited electric resources means that the walkways and rooms at lodges can be very dull, with poor or no lighting. For this reason, a headtorch is extremely useful for finding your way around, packing your bag or reading. Modern headtorches have an exceptionally long battery life, and some a rechargeable, but take a spare just in case.
Take a rechargeable power bank for your electrical items as electricity is often limited to only a couple of hours per day, and due to the remote locations of many lodges, sometimes power cuts can occur so its best not to rely on it. It is also advisable to make sure all your electric items are fully charged before you venture into the Amazon.
Personal Medications and Toiletries
At some lodges, due to the delicate nature of the environment, it is important to only use the eco-friendly products they supply. Take your own along too, and remember that it is not possible to purchase anything once you have left for the Amazon. Take an extra supply of medication in case any gets misplaced.
Travel Alarm Clock
There will be many early morning excursions on offer when visiting the Amazon, particularly if you want to spot birds or watch the sunrise. Rather than waste precious battery on your mobile phone, take a simple travel alarm to ensure you don’t miss out!
Basic First Aid Kit
All lodges will have a first aid kit and first aider on site, plus all guides are trained in basic first aid, but taking you own mini kit can be useful for bites, scratches, blisters or dehydration.
Unsurprisingly, there are no cash points deep in the Amazon! Take a little cash with you, as occasionally there is the opportunity to buy locally made crafts.