This was one of our definition questions, but also one that interests me personally: How can I find a guide that will take me safely through the Amazon jungle? I'd love to explore the Amazon but would not attempt it without a guide, at least not the first time. I'd prefer a guide that wasn't going to ambush me or anything.

I don't want to go anywhere "touristy". Start and end points are open, but the trip should take me places where I am not likely to see other travelers/tourists and where I will definitely require a good guide in order to be safe.

  • you want to start from where? i mean the start point to the jungje :p – bungdito Jun 22 '11 at 4:15
  • I can recommend Jill of the Jungle! – RoflcoptrException Oct 21 '11 at 17:15
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    I think safe and not touristy is difficult; what do you mean by safe? Not being ambushed? Ok, that's easy, I can give you contacts of native guides that live near Manaus, but they are going to take you to fish piranhas (cook and eat!), get little alligators with bare hands and things like that, without any protection, by canoe. Unforgettable experience! :) – Roberto Sep 3 '12 at 16:17
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    @Roberto why don't you write an answer with more details? i think it will be great answer.. – Nean Der Thal Sep 5 '12 at 6:44

You can go to French Guyane or Suriname. Both countries are for 80% covered by the Amazon rain forest and they are not touristic hotspots. Being part of the EU, French guyana would provides a safety net, comparable to EU standards. My favorite being a bauxite-covered road with the road sign "Bienvenue sur l'autoroute de France" and the accompanying orange roadphones.

From both capitals it only takes less then an hour to drive directly into the Amazon. Another option is to get a bush flight. Both capitals provide enough companies that provide personal guidance into the forest.

I googled a bit for handles to get into the forrest in both countries. I found a really good blog on the issue: http://matadornetwork.com/trips/budget-travel-guide-to-french-guiana/. There is quite some information, but french only. Since this is a english-language forum, I will refrain from pasting those links. If you speak french or you trust google translate you could use the following terms in google: "guyane française foret"

In Suriname I expect more support of the English language. This youtube film gives a good impression of what to expect. You could contact either Blue wing airlines or Gumair for direction. They are the main airlines providing connections with the forrest. Both will be able to provide directions to companies, but also get you in contact with locals who could act as personal guides.

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I recommend you to go with a local guide instead of an international one. You may find some very different options depending on the city you plan to start. You can start in Belem, near the ocean and go through the river to the deep continent or you can start directly in Manaus. Both are big cities and you will find good places to stay there.

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One way would be to go through an Adventure travel company that offers trips in the region. They'll have their own trained guides that have extensive knowledge of the area and will generally have lots of reviews so you can get an idea of whether or not the trip is good.


http://www.gapadventures.com/ - Great trips through the amazon



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    I would consider tours with any of these operators "safe" and "well-trafficked", which I don't think is what the questioner is really after - he want's something that's just him and a guide. My suggestion would be to go to Iquitos, Peru, and ask to talk to a local guide to come up with an interesting trek together. – John Lyon Jun 22 '11 at 22:48
  • contiki is only for 18-35 years old. – Rudy Gunawan Sep 3 '12 at 3:38

I am an American expat. operating a small adventure tourism company out of Puerto Maldonado, Peru called WildPERU. Our operation is geared more towards adventure-style travel in the S.W. Amazon Basin in Peru including boat travel up-river, camping and trail walking in the forest and Pampas. We call it more of a "dirt-under-your-fingernails" kind of experience, and an opportunity to get off the tourist track in safety and comfort.

We purposely keep our groups small to provide the best experience. For instance, we are planning now for a boat trip up a remote river near to the Brazilian border in Peru next June, 2013. The intent of my clients for this expedition is to survey the rivers fish fauna and research the area for any fish species that may be new to science. We will spend five nights traveling to the rivers headwaters and search the small side streams in order to document any new species that might be found there. This will involve return travel to the area by boat, and camping on the river bank beaches directly in deep forest. Our chances for seeing the regions wildlife are in this way optimized.

Our trips are customizable to the extent that if you have a particular interest or vocation, we can accommodate this by focusing on your particular passion; whether this is Orchids, fish fauna, or Photography. We also have opportunities for volunteering on conservation projects in the region.

I am happy to answer your questions regarding our programs, at your convenience.

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    Heya, and welcome to Travel-SE! You don't need to include salutations in your answer, and your contact details would find a better place on your profile page. – mindcorrosive Sep 3 '12 at 16:35
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    OK, thanks. I'm a newbie here and appreciate all input! – Brian Perkins Sep 3 '12 at 16:40
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    Thanks for the answer Brian, but I've remove the contact info from it - but as @mindcorrosive says, feel free to put that in your profile, or to turn any of the text into links, since you've declared that it's your site. Look forward to more specialist answers on Peru from you :) – Mark Mayo Sep 14 '12 at 5:09

I've only been to Amazon jungle near Manaus, Brazil. If you're imagining yourself and a guide whacking your way though the jungle I think you're going to be disappointed. There are many developments on both sides of the river and lots of boat traffic. Most tourists stay at a "jungle lodge" which is typically just a simple hotel set on the riverbank. Activities include piranha fishing, looking for alligators at night and perhaps a short trek into the jungle.

There may be some guides that can take you further into the "deep" jungle, but this is not what most tourists do. I've heard that the Amazon jungle in Peru may be more rewarding for wildlife and perhaps more remote, but I have no personal experience.

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  • Yeah, I definitely would not be interested in anything "touristy". Hacking through the bush isn't necessary, but seclusion and pristine nature are. – Matthew Read Jun 21 '11 at 21:18
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    Iquitos in Peru is the other place to start. I would definitely say your more likely to get some hardcore jungle-bashing hiking from here than in Manaus. – John Lyon Jun 21 '11 at 22:48

here is a company who does jungle training, so you can go alone next time and you probably learn much more and have more fun than by just following your guide. :)

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I have never been there, but one traveler and author, Beata Pawlikowska wrote several books about the jungle. She would go to Iquitos and hire local Indian guide there. And I believe, good communication in Spanish will be necessary, as few people there would be able to speak English.

Unfortunately, only a few of the books have been translated into English or German.

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I went to Amazonia Expeditions in Iquitos and they assigned a local guide Manuel who is born in a village near their Tahuayo lodge.

He took me to the upper white river by a boat, which native locals use, into the jungle camping for 3 days. He only brought a water with us (he and his boat driver drink the water from the river but not for me) and all the foods we had were by fishing or digging plants.

enter image description here

His grand father lead a group of people in search for rubber trees and settled there and opened up the village (Pueblo Chino because there was a Chinese family from Ecuador among them) and his father was also a guide helping the researchers in the jungle.

He told that the navigation he uses was remembering the shapes of trees or paths and their locations, like a photographic memory creating mental maps. Without compass or GPS, the native locals can walk around in the jungle without getting lost. He said not everyone had such navigation skills which made them good guides.

Some tips from him.

  • Use long rubber boots instead of trekking shoes to protect legs from snakes trying to bite
  • Light colour clothes as black/dark colour attracts mosquitoes
  • Do not touch trees as it can be toxic, spiky, or fire ants walking
  • Do not pick up things from the ground without first checking snakes or other harms
  • Do not set out on your own just for a walk or a toilet as it gets easily disoriented. Talk to the guide first.

He showed was how to find a water vine to get a fresh water in the jungle, how to make a boat paddle, etc. Stayed at his place with his family and kids to experience the local life.

enter image description here enter image description here

Amazonia Expedition can find a guide like Manuel.

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