If you’re looking to travel in South America or Central America, chances are you’ll be headed into a part of the continent’s lush rainforest.
From the Brazilian Amazon to the cloud forests of Ecuador the landscapes are not only unbelievably beautiful, but also hold within them a world of wildlife, waterfalls and hidden treasures.
There’s a wealth of ways to explore rainforest terrain – here are some of our favourite activities for everyone from adrenaline junkies to leisurely loungers. (Look out for the second instalment of this – there were too many options to just have five options!)
1. White water rafting and kayaking
For a taste of adventure, head to the water for rafting and kayaking down lush canyons. Engage with fast-flowing rapids, and meet the tropical rainforest from a different angle – and don’t worry if you’re a novice! Waters are graded from 1 to 6 – level 1 requires only minimal manoeuvring and wouldn’t include any particularly rough areas.
Where to do it: Peru (particularly the Tambopata river), Costa Rica, Argentina, Belize.
2. Walking tours
South America in particular is one of the best continents to walk around, with the Andes mountain range running its full length. Every level of exertion from short afternoon/morning strolls to extensive trekking holidays can be accommodated, and canopy walkways will fully immerse you in the rainforest.
Where to do it: Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Belize and Bolivia will offer the best selection of both high altitude and lowland hiking.
3. Horseback trekking
Argentina is famous for its ranches, but horse riding can also be a fantastic way to explore forest regions. Lodges and hotels offering horseback activities will have excellent stables and sure-footed steeds that are comfortable with their terrain, and will cater to all abilities.
Where to do it: Argentina (of course), but also Belize, Ecuador, Brazil and Nicaragua.
4. Uncover ruined cities
Exploring the ancient ruins of Mayan and Incan civilisations is a given in Latin America. The rainforest ruins are particularly mesmerising and will give you a real ‘Lost World Explorer’ feeling as you turn a corner, scale a hill, push past branches or come to sudden clearings to be faced with majestic stone pyramids.
The trail to Machu Picchu requires stamina, but there are many other sites closer to sea level that won’t be quite so punishing.
Where to do it: The city of Tikal in Guatemala, Xunantunich in Belize, Machu Picchu and the Inca trail in Peru.
5. Watch the wildlife
You won’t just see great wildlife when horse riding or walking – in the rainforest you’ll be right next to an incredible abundance of species in your hotel or lodge, so keep your eyes peeled at your bedroom window too.
Animals that you’re likely to see (and hear!) closer to human habitat are frogs, monkeys and a cross-section of birdlife.
Where to do it: Both the Pantanal and Amazon regions of Brazil, Peru (especially the Tambopata Research Centre), Ecuador, Panama, Belize and Bolivia.
Contact us to find out more about a holiday combining these activities!