The Amazon is a stunning rainforest full of amazing areas to explore. From the unique wildlife and charming rivers to the plethora of plants, local communities, and hiking trails, there’s something for everyone.
However, trying to decide when to visit may be a challenge, especially if you aren’t sure about the type of activities you can engage in during specific seasons. Then, there’s the weather, or more specifically, the dry season and the wet season.
No worries, though — we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ll tell you the best time to visit the Amazon, alongside things to consider before you go there. Let’s dive in!
Why You Should Visit the Amazon
If you’re an avid traveler, chances are you’ve thought about visiting the Amazon at least once. Going to the Amazon rainforest will surely be the trip of a lifetime, but what should you expect, and what is there to see?
For starters, you’ll get to explore pristine nature, interact with tribes whose traditions are closely linked to the jungle, eat fruit that you can’t find elsewhere, and encounter exotic wildlife.
So here are 10 reasons why you need to stop browsing the Internet, buy some insect repellent, grab the most comfortable shoes you own, and book your ticket to the Amazon right now:
- The forest. It’s massive and ready to be explored. Its colors are indescribable — you have to see them for yourself. Only then will you understand what people think when they say “Amazon green.”
- The animals. Boars, sloths, monkeys, and pink dolphins – they’re all different yet exciting in their own way. Witnessing how they blend with the rainforest is like being invited to their homes.
- The piercing sounds. Observing the wildlife is one thing, but being exposed to its loud sounds is another. The constant buzz of thousands of insects, the shrieks of howler monkeys, the singing of the birds, and the hums and trills from a yellow-banded poison dart frog produce the most genuine symphony you’ve ever heard.
- The locals. People there live differently from westerners. It’s a completely different lifestyle and way of organizing one’s time and priorities. No matter how open-minded you believe you are, chances are you’ll be surprised at how these people lead their daily lives. Just set your opinions aside and allow yourself to fully enjoy fascinating cultural interactions with the indigenous people.
- The villages. The villages you’ll see are untouched by contemporary times — they reflect old traditions, heritage, and authenticity. Even though the most traditional villages do not open their homes to outsiders, you may just come across healers and shamans willing to show you their way of life.
- The transport. Getting around the vast rainforest means taking little speed boats, canoes, or cruises. Whichever you opt for, chances are you’re in for a wild ride.
- The food. No matter how big of a foodie you are, you haven’t tried all there is to try till you’ve eaten fruits in the Amazon. You may not like all of them, but you’ll find them unique and delicious in their own way.
- The activities. Spy on the frogs at night, climb rocks, wander the jungle (with a guide), flirt with the plants, and relax on hammocks. The Amazon will force you to stop being a tourist and put you at the helm of your very own wild adventure.
Overall Best Time to Visit the Amazon
We believe the best time to visit the Amazon is during its low-water season, which lasts from June through November.
As the water begins receding, fish, rare pink dolphins, and most forest animals tend to be concentrated in a single area. This is also a great time to see the caiman crocodiles or go fishing. More adventurous visitors can opt for piranha fishing alongside a local guide instead.
Forest walks are also quite popular, as the hiking trails are much clearer, allowing visitors to go deeper and deeper into the rainforest.
In general, most land-based activities such as trekking, hiking, canopy climbing, bird-watching, and wildlife spotting are much more enjoyable.
Feel free to join a guided hike tour and learn a thing or two about the ecosystem surrounding you, find an iconic birding spot, and observe a plethora of endemic and exotic birds.
In this period, there’s less precipitation (although heavy showers are still common), fewer mosquitos, and the average temperature is between 78°F and 104°F.
Note that July tends to be a busier month with Brazilians traveling, as July is a school-holiday month. However, August marks a quieter time with fewer visitors.
There’s limited access to some rivers in this period (some aren’t navigable at all), which is why exploring the jungle on foot isn’t only recommended but also strongly encouraged.
Cheapest Time to Visit the Amazon
The cheapest time to plan your Amazon Rainforest trip is during the two shoulder seasons — in April or May and in September or October.
These four months are perfect for visitors who’d like to avoid higher prices and crowds.
In April, the highest temperature is 90°F, and the lowest 71.8°F. In May, the highest temperature is 89.1°F, and the lowest is 71.4°F. The September and October period don’t see a noticeable difference in temperatures either.
Namely, if you go in September, expect temperatures between 91.4°F and 70.7°F. In October, the temperatures range between 91.6°F and 71.6°F.
The periods allow for greater flexibility, as they’re outside the busiest months, but they still provide great weather conditions. For example, in April, once the Brazil carnival is wrapped up, prices dip, crowds dissipate, and Amazon’s intense heat is more under control.
Also, If you decide to go in April or May, you get to experience the flooded forests by getting closer to the canopies and the exciting animals residing in the treetops. There are many ways to embark on this exploration — we suggest a canoe for a more adventurous approach.
The flip side is that water-based animals are more dispersed, so spotting them is somewhat challenging. Visiting in September or October means it’s the tree animals that are harder to see.
Least Busy Time to Visit the Amazon
The least busy time to visit the Amazon is during the November–April period, as there’s a greater chance for heavy rainfall and warmer temperatures.
For many, this isn’t an attractive period to visit the Amazon, so you’ll definitely observe fewer crowds if you decide to go. Whether you go in November or April, you get to enjoy temperatures fluctuating between 91.4°F and 71.8°F.
Worst Time to Visit the Amazon
There’s never a bad time to visit the Amazon, but for the sake of helping you navigate all the seasons better, we’ll classify the high-water season as the worst time to travel to the Amazon.
The high-water season (the December–May period) is when the rivers rise up to 7 m in certain parts of the Amazon Basin.
During all these months, the Amazon river is regarded as being at its highest. This makes all lakes, rivers, and creeks navigable and easily accessible but, unfortunately, results in the flooding of many jungle trails.
On the bright side, boat trips become an exciting adventure, visitors swim in the blackwater creeks, and travelers can engage in all sorts of water-based activities such as canoeing, kayaking, taking an Amazon cruise, or observing aquatic life.
If you decide to go on a cruise adventure, we suggest picking a cruise from places like Iquitos in Peru, Manaus in Brazil, or Coca in Ecuador.
Many believe that this period is also great for fishing, however, don’t set your expectations too high, as this activity is actually quite limited in the high-water months; the low-water season is a way better option for those looking forward to fishing.
Amazon’s weather in the high-water season is slightly colder and wetter. However, when we say cold, we mean cooler than the other months. The Amazon is warm any time of the year, so there are no drastic differences in temperatures.
They typically range between 73°F and 86°F, and there are many more mosquitoes. Also, expect pretty heavy showers and high humidity levels. That said, it’s worth mentioning that heavy rainfall contributes to the growth of fruit.
In turn, this draws the animals out and symbolizes the beginning of their mating season. Hence, going to the Amazon in this period is great if you hope to see birds, monkeys, and other exotic species.
However, what makes this the worst time to visit the Amazon, apart from the wet season, is that December also marks the beginning of Brazil’s festive period, which goes on all the way through February.
This translates into a sharp rise in prices and crowds for visitors (especially in January and February when the celebration vibes are in full swing). Advance planning is crucial in this period, but note that no matter how much you plan and book in advance, prices may be over the roof.
Things to Consider
Your visit to the Amazon rainforest will be unlike any other trip you’ve taken so far in your life, but you do need to come prepared.
Here are some things to consider before your Amazon adventure:
- Insect repellent is a must, regardless of when you go to the Amazon. Mosquitos thrive in this humid and warm rainforest, even in the low-water season.
- Rain will fall irrespective of when you plan your trip. This is the Amazon Rainforest we’re talking about.
- You’ll see splendid wildlife, plants, and birds in all seasons, so don’t worry about coming at the “wrong” time of the year, yes, this includes the amazing pink dolphins).
- The Amazon is known for its forest fires, especially in the dry season, so make sure to monitor the situation closely and gather all the necessary information right before you go.
- Make sure you’re in good shape. You don’t need to do everything in terms of activities when in the Amazon, but even doing the bare minimum requires you to move around a lot. Plus, you’ll probably carry a heavy backpack on you at all times, so endurance is key.
- Dress in layers. Yes, the Amazon is warm throughout the whole year, but the highest elevations can be chilly, and other areas can be boiling hot, so make sure you bring a piece of clothing for each situation. Also, pack light colors to avoid attracting insects.
- Always have a bottle of water with you. Stay hydrated because you’ll sweat a lot — it may take you a few days to get used to the intense jungle heat.
- Pack the necessary equipment — a hat, SPF cream, waterproof shoes, and the like. In addition, if you’re planning on doing some bird watching, bring binoculars. If you want to take splendid photos of the Amazon wildlife, take a high-quality camera. A head torch can be useful for night walks in the jungle. Pick your equipment based on the activities you want to engage in once you’re in the Amazon.
- Listen to your guide(s) and keep a sensible distance from the local wildlife. Stay with your group while doing activities such as hiking or canoeing. Yes, we know exploring things on your own is fun and tempting, but in the Amazon rainforest, things can easily go wrong if everyone suddenly does as they please.
- Bring an electrical adapter. Note that in the Amazon, the focus is on conservation, so electricity may not be available throughout the whole day. That’s why bringing a portable charger for your phone or camera is a good idea.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the Amazon have endangered species?
Yes, it does. Here are some Amazon species in need of saving:
- The Golden Lion Tamarin
- The Amazon River Dolphin
- Giant Otters
- Uakari Monkey
- Hyacinth Macaw
- The South American Tapir
- Poison Dart Frogs
- White-Cheeked Spider Monkey
- Lazy Bear
- Pink Amazon Dolphin
What languages do they speak in the Amazon?
Most tribes in the Amazon speak Portuguese or Spanish alongside their tribe’s specific language. Sometimes tribes speak their neighboring tribes’ languages too. Some of the largest language families in the Amazon are Cariban, Tupian, Arawakan, Macro-Je, Tunoan, and Panoan.
In many Amazon locales, some indigenous Amazonian languages are spoken as well. Travelers will be relieved to learn English is spoken in most tourist destinations and hotels.
That said, learning a thing or two in Portuguese or Spanish can come in handy. This can help you communicate with the locals when your guide isn’t around – or if you’re all by yourself.
Can tourists visit the Amazon?
Yes, tourists can go to the Amazon, but it’s important to truly experience the rainforest. This means joining a tour and having a knowledgeable local guide help you navigate the rainforest so that you don’t end up getting lost.
A well-trained guide knows all there is to know about the fauna and wildlife and can help instill safety during your stay in the Amazon.
Also, they can take you to see some indigenous tribes they have a good rapport with and are generally welcoming to tourists. Visiting the Amazon as a tourist with a guide ensures you make the most of your exotic rainforest experience.
What is the biggest animal in the Amazon rainforest?
The South American Tapir is regarded as the largest land mammal in the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Amazon. It can grow up to 6.5 feet long. They move fairly quickly and are great swimmers, although they weigh up to 550 pounds.
Tapirs enjoy swimming and like to stay close to water to get rid of parasites easily and cool down during the hot Amazonian season. When they need to hide from predators underwater, tapirs use their snouts as snorkels.
They’re highly nocturnal creatures, so if you wish to come across this Amazonian animal, go for a night walk (hint: you can spot them in the Tapir Valley). The main threats to the tapir’s survival are hunting and deforestation.
Why is the Amazon important to the world?
Being one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, the Amazon is of utmost importance not only for the local communities but also globally. The Amazon rainforest is home to some of the world’s most authentic animals and plants.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, you can find 10% of the entire world’s species in the Amazon. There are 1300 bird species, 3000 fish species, around 430 mammals, 40,000 plant species, and 2.5. Million distinct insects.
The Amazon plants play a significant role in regulating the ecosystem. Many of them have notable medicinal uses or are part of the foods we consume on a daily basis. Vanilla, pepper, coffee, cinnamon, and chocolate — they all grow in the rainforest.
The Amazon rainforest is also key to regulating the world’s carbon and oxygen cycles. However, recent research suggests that the Amazon trees may be emitting more carbon dioxide than they’re absorbing.
How many tribes live in the Amazon rainforest?
It is believed there are around 400 tribes in the Amazon, and the rainforest is the home of one million Indians. Each tribe has its own culture, territory, and language.
Many tribes have managed to establish communication lines with outsiders and have maintained them; others, referred to as “uncontacted” tribes or “indigenous peoples in isolation,” haven’t had any contact whatsoever. The former live by the rivers in villages, while the latter are usually nomads deep in the forest.
Those living by the rivers use the fertile soil for agriculture and are very skilled. The tribes living in the forest move a lot to maintain this “disconnectedness” and usually engage only with neighboring tribes.
So, What Is the Best Time to Visit the Amazon?
The overall best time to visit the Amazon is during the low-water months or anytime from June through November. This is when you can engage in a wide range of land activities, such as canopy climbing, trekking, and hiking.
The jungle is perfect for wanderers, as these months allow for exploration on foot. That said, do stick with your group and follow your guides.
If you’re on a budget, yet you don’t want an adventure such as going to the Amazon to slip you by, consider going during these two shoulder seasons — in April or May and in September or October.
These four “limbo” months are in-between peak seasons, so if you want to avoid high season prices, consider visiting during this period. The least busy time to visit the Amazon is during the November-April period.
These months are all about rainfall — not that the rainforest is ever fully free of rain, but these months are the heaviest. Finally, we believe the worst time to visit the Amazon is during the high-water season, or the December-May period.
Most trails are flooded, the Amazon river is at its highest, and humidity and rain rule the jungle. That said, visitors can enjoy activities on the water, like kayaking, canoeing, or simply cruising.
All in all, the Amazon is always rainy and hot, so whenever you go, you might have some challenges with the weather and the precipitation.
But once you arrive and see the rainforest, the aquatic life, and what this beautiful nature hides, the weather will be the last thing on your mind, and chances are you’ll wonder why you waited so long for this adventure. Happy travels!