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 who 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.

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    you want to start from where? i mean the start point to the jungje :p
    – bungdito
    Jun 22, 2011 at 4:15
  • I can recommend Jill of the Jungle! Oct 21, 2011 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, 2012 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.. Sep 5, 2012 at 6:44

8 Answers 8


You can go to French Guyane or Suriname. Both countries are over 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 either capital, it takes less than 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 forest 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 video 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 forest. Both will be able to provide directions to companies, but also get you in contact with locals who could act as personal guides.


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.


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, 2011 at 22:48
  • contiki is only for 18-35 years old. Sep 3, 2012 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. Sep 3, 2012 at 16:35
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    OK, thanks. I'm a newbie here and appreciate all input! Sep 3, 2012 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, 2012 at 5:09

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. :)


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.

  • Yeah, I definitely would not be interested in anything "touristy". Hacking through the bush isn't necessary, but seclusion and pristine nature are. Jun 21, 2011 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, 2011 at 22:48

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.


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

The owner was a retired researcher from US who married a lady from the jungle area and she run the operation at the lodge. I have to say the owner is the most responsible and considerable person who looks after the guests with the utmost care. You can see it from the reviews.

Manuel took me to the upper white river (one of the origins of the Amazon river) by a boat, which native locals use, into the jungle camping for 3 days. He only brought a water tank (only for me as he and his boat driver drink the water from the river), a pot, a machete, and fishing line and hooks. Brought no food because all the foods we had were by fishing or digging plants.

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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, that is why he is a good guide in the jungle.

Some tips from him.

  • Use long rubber boots instead of trekking shoes to protect legs from snakes trying to bite (they provide for the guests).
  • 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.

Snake is a real threat. During the stay at the lodge, another guide almost step on a toxic snake, and there is no chance to survive if bitten because the nearest hospital is 3 hour away. Exposing lower legs and walking around is putting yourself in the harm's way.

Those techniques he showed during the camping were, how to find a water vine to get a fresh water in the jungle, how to make a boat paddle, etc. I also stayed at his place with his family and kids to experience the local life.

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Amazonia Expedition can find a guide like Manuel.

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