Visiting the Amazon is a dream for many travelers. But is it safe? While it is when with a tour guide, there are still dangers you should know.
Visiting the Amazon is a dream journey for many the adventurer. It boasts 2.1 million miles of tropical terrain and eight of the world’s top 20 longest rivers.
The Amazon is stunningly beautiful, offers a wide variety of biodiversity, and produces 20% of the world’s oxygen. But there are also dangers lurking.
If you’re going to visit the Amazon, you should know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Knowing the Amazon rainforest dangers can help you prepare in advance so your trip is filled with only positive memories.
To help keep you safe, keep reading to learn the benefits and dangers of traveling to the Amazon.
How to Stay Healthy While Visiting the Amazon
Is the Amazon dangerous? Yes, because there is no place on earth where bad things or accidents can’t happen.
But in a place where the biodiversity is so vast, you increase your chances of something bad happening. One of the biggest concerns you should have when visiting the Amazon should be for the tiniest of creatures.
Bugs, bacteria, and microorganisms can all wreak havoc on your body. Mosquitoes are rampant in the Amazon and they carry malaria and yellow fever. These are both serious illnesses so make sure you’re properly vaccinated before you head there.
And while the food and water are both relatively clean, it’s still not the food or water you’re used to. It’s not uncommon for different strains of bacteria, parasites, amoebas, and microorganisms that are foreign to you to wreak havoc on your immune system.
Protect yourself by sticking to bottled water. Make sure to only eat fresh food that’s been properly washed to decrease your chances of getting sick. Pack long-sleeved shirts, long pants, good hiking boots, a wide-brimmed hat, and a waterproof jacket to keep you safe from these creatures and the demanding sun.
Bring along your own first aid kit and DEET strength bug repellent. Make sure to stock up on medications to help reduce fevers, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Beware of the Wildlife
How dangerous is the Amazon? Extremely dangerous if you encounter the wrong wild animal.
And it’s a good possibility you will since the Amazon is home to over 427 species of mammals, 378 types of reptiles, 427 types of amphibians, 1,294 species of birds, and 3,000 species of fish.
The world’s largest snake, the anaconda lives here as does the world’s largest alligator, the caiman. And while you may see the most beautifully colored frogs living here, they’re also poisonous enough to kill you.
However, most animals aren’t going to attack you unless they feel threatened. These animals are wild and aren’t used to humans. Do NOT try to feed, pet, or care for any wild animals you find.
Make sure you travel with a guide who knows the area well. Do not stray from your group. Watch where you step and pay attention to your surroundings.
Carry a long stick to clear your path. Avoid spider webs and touching anything unless you know what it is and that it’s safe. Even the plants can poison you here.
While storms in the United States are getting more extreme, the weather has always been unpredictable in the Amazon. Make sure you travel during the safer seasons.
The wet season lasts between October and May and can leave up to nine feet of water behind. The heaviest rains are in March and April. Those rains can easily wash out roads and cause flooding to the rivers and tributaries.
And don’t forget about the powerful river currents that have sunk boats. While you’ll see more wildlife during the rainy months, it’s not worth the dangers.
Instead, consider visiting the Amazon during the drier months between June and September. The weather is much more favorable then.
There are many Amazon rainforest dangerous. And the locals are one of them.
There are many indigenous tribes who live in the Amazon. Some of them are familiar with outsiders but other tribes have limited or no contact with the outside world. You can learn more here about the various indigenous communities who reside in the Amazon.
Then there are the drug runners. Unfortunately, the Amazon is a great place to secretly run drugs. There are also robbers who patrol these waterways who are known as “water rats”.
It’s particularly dangerous in the upper Amazon near Iquitos and around the border between Peru, Colombia, and Brazil. It’s also dangerous at the mouth of the Amazon where the waterways connect.
While there is a police presence out there, they can’t be everywhere. However, there are tons of ways to visit the Amazon which likely won’t put you in the path of harm.
With local riverboats to luxury cruisers and lodges, there are tons of ways for you to safely visit the Amazon without encountering the wrong people.
Tips to Have a Safe Visit to the Amazon
If are going to travel to the Amazon, do your research first so you can stay safe. Listen to your guides and make sure you’re always in view of others.
If something does happen, do not panic. Your body will be further taxed. Instead, move slowly and cautiously.
If you are out of water, you can find it by either searching for animal tracks that meet near water. Hordes of insects are also often a sign that water is nearby. Bring purification tablets or boil any water before drinking it.
Bring plenty of socks. If yours become wet, change them. Wet socks can lead to fungal infections.
If you do get lost, start making a trail using bright objects you find or with torn clothing so people can find you. However, do not head in a straight line. Instead, weave your way through the rainforest.
Search for shelter or see if you can build one. If you can’t, at least try to build a fire. The fire will keep predators away while attracting the attention of other travelers.
Only consume fruits, nuts, and vegetables you recognize. There are plenty of peanuts, citrus fruits, and starchy vegetables native to the Amazon for you to eat, especially if you’re a vegetarian. You can also catch your own fresh fish. Eat the fish immediately to avoid rotting.
Visiting the Amazon will be a journey you’ll never forget, as long as you take measures to stay safe. But there are plenty of other amazing places to visit in South America.
Click here to figure out where your next South American vacation should be.