When most people think of Brazil, the first things to come to mind are jungles, monkeys, and indigenous tribes like those shown on National Geographic. Although there are many modern and large metropolis’ along the coastlines of Brazil, the majority of the interior of the country remains as one with part of the world’s largest tropical rainforest. For those of you with an adventurous spirit and a love of nature, an obvious trip to take while in Brazil would be to this amazing natural setting.
To start any trip into the Amazon Rainforest (on the Brazilian side) you will have to fly into the capitol city of Manaus. Located about 4.5 hours by plane from São Paulo, Manaus serves as Brazil’s “gateway to the Amazon”.
When searching for a tour company to hire (no you cannot just go inside the jungle on your own), please go off of recommendations and do your research as to which companies are reputable so that you can have a fun, unique, and safe experience.
Our top recommendation would be to book your tour with Amazon Backpackers. Recommended by advisors at the local university in São Paulo, Amazon Backpackers provides a customized and hassle-free adventure into the untamed jungle.
Offering many different tour options, you can choose to stay in their comfortable lodges for a more relaxed trip while still getting close to nature, or you can opt for a full on adventure choosing to sleep on hammocks in the middle of the jungle surviving off of the land.
For our tour, we went with a combination of the two. The first night was spent in a hostel in Manaus with the following morning being our set time to head out of the city. For the next two nights we stayed in their one-of-a-kind lodge and enjoyed full, delicious meals while still getting to explore much of the surrounding area by canoe. For the remainder of the trip, we packed up our backpacks and headed deep into the jungle where we slept on hammocks under a handmade shelter while fishing and foraging for food.
One of the best parts of Amazon Backpackers Tours are their wonderful guides. Our guide was Conrado Farias and he was phenomenal! An experienced survivalist, having led nature and survival-training expeditions all over South America, our trip ended up not only being fun, but also educational. By the end of our week with Conrado as a guide, we felt as if we really could survive off of the land in such an extreme environment.
Be prepared to go outside of your comfort zone. The heat and humidity in the rainforest does make it an extreme environment and the experience will be like no other as long as you are up for anything. We ate rice and watermelon with sticks and make shift bowls, made backpacks out of banana leaves, caught caiman with only the light of the stars, went fishing for piranhas, set up nets to catch lunch, used ants and termites as a natural mosquito repellent, and even tried eating some bugs! To make the most of the trip you really have to try and participate in everything. If you go out of your comfort zone for this trip, we promise you that you will feel so accomplished at the end of it all that it will be one of the most rewarding things you could ever do.
Last but not least, just enjoy yourself. On this trip you will meet some awesome people and make some truly amazing friends along the way.
*As an extra word of caution: be very careful when booking tours as there have been reports of fake tour companies advertising at the airport offering to take tourists inside the rainforest. Many of these are kidnapping scams.*