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Getting the Right Rainforest
You in the Rainforest
Being Prepared: Rainforest Gear

Rainforests are not for everyone, and the experience is enhanced if you are in the right rainforest for you and you are properly prepared.

Here's LADATCO's "guide" for getting the most out of a rainforest visit and still enjoying it.


Getting the right rainforest means exactly what it says:

not all rainforests are equal and not all rainforests are for you.

More than likely the rainforest you want is the one evoked in your mind's eye by the mention of "Amazon jungle", by an old movie or by those glorious pictures that only National Geographic can get because of their special permissions, equipment and expertise.

Getting the right rainforest for you will be based on:

1) Determining what you want to experience during your rainforest visit - i.e., what is the most important aspect for you. Is it being on the famed Amazon river itself or in the Amazon basin in general? Is it indigenous cultures? Is it the wildlife and if so, is it a specific animal or bird or insect? Or is it an all around experience with a bit of this and that? Do you want to be Tarzan or Jane for a few days or are you the King and Queen types?

2) Where else are you going on your trip? If you want to bask on the beach in Rio, then the cost feasible way for the rainforest is the area of Manaus, which has direct flights from the states and to Rio. Or if you also want to visit the Galapagos, then the rainforest in Ecuador is cost and time feasible. If you want the Lost City of the Incas, the rainforests in Peru will be the appropriate choice.

3) Your travel desires need to be adequately conveyed to your travel agent or your rainforest supplier so that they can be interpreted correctly and joined with the right experience in the most cost feasible routing.

Please remember each rainforest that you are able to visit will have its strengths and not all rainforests can be all things at one time.


Rainforest is a catch-all name, generally used in describing areas where an abundance of rain gives proliferation to life - both flora and fauna.

Most of us use "jungle" and "rainforest" synonymously though technically "forest" refers to first (or virgin) growth while "jungle" to secondary growth.

For the majority of us it is a bunch of green things, tall and short, simply teeming with life that will not only thrill us, but probably also intimidate and humble us before the very diversity and power of nature.

Except for the scientist or researcher, most of us will fit within one of three types of rainforest experiences:

  1. Mainstream adventure - anybody in reasonably good health and with a desire to experience the rainforest can accomplish and enjoy all available activities
  2. Soft adventure - a more active experience, with longer walks and more challenges; with desire and determination, all activities can be accomplished and enjoyed
  3. Adventure - a challenging experience for the majority of us, even if we are physically fit and have a strong desire to experience all of nature's mysteries, but "do-able" with a bit of persistence, patience and determination


Because most rainforests encompass travel by motorized boats, and may use small aircraft to-from airstrips cut out of the jungle growth, the amount of luggage you can take will probably be restricted - either by the aircraft company or by simple logistics of lifting and moving luggage up and down slick trails, in and out of boats and lodges, etc.

Therefore you will want to leave large luggage behind in your nearest rainforest gateway city if at all possible and take only your rainforest gear.

A small carry-on-size soft-sided lightweight duffel-type bag travels well in the rainforest and is generally big enough for all your personal gear. Though you generally will not have to carry this personal gear bag, you may have to, so it needs to be of manageable size and weight.

You will also want either a small back-pack or flexible over-the-shoulder bag with your day gear.

Plan to pack everything in both bags in plastic - plastic zip-locks, plastic garbage bags, etc. Not only will things be somewhat organized (underwear in a plastic bag, pants in a plastic bag, shirts in a plastic bag, etc) they will stay dry in case your bag gets soaked AND you will have plenty of bags to carry around wet, damp or dirty clothes.

Based on the fact that you are in a "rainforest", you will need to be adequately prepared. You will need rain gear, either poncho or jacket-pants - and you need to make sure it is 100% waterproof before you leave home. Your rain gear needs to be accessible at all times, therefore it goes in your day gear pack.

Here is a list of standard gear for the rainforest, divided into "day gear" and "personal gear":
DAY GEAR - carried by you in back-pack or over-the-shoulder bag:
  • Rain gear
  • Sun protection
  • Insect repellent (the more DEET the better)
  • Small flashlight, in case of late arrival; for use around lodge, in room, etc
  • Camera and lens, plenty of film (50, 100, 200 ASA) and extra batteries for your camera
  • Binoculars
  • Snacks, candies, gum
  • Personal medications
  • Zip-lock bags - all sizes
  • Hat with wide brim or bill
  • Bandana (good for sun protection and to wet for cooling down
  • Book or walk-man for entertainment on long boat rides
PERSONAL GEAR - carried in your duffel-style bag
  • Lightweight cotton clothing, including long sleeve shirts and long pants - for day use when traveling and-or making visits and one for use in the evening at the lodge
  • Pajamas or lightweight robe for late night visit to the communal bathroom facilities
  • Extra pair of shoes
  • 1 pair of socks per day with an extra pair
  • Pair of rubber thongs or other bath-style shoes for use at night in room and-or to-from bathroom facilities indoors or out-of-doors
  • Swim suit
  • Large flashlight with strong beam, for night walks
  • Extra batteries for flashlights
  • Personal toiletries