Amazon Cruises & Rainforest Lodges


Amazon Rainforest Cruises & Lodges


The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world, spanning an enormous 5.5 million square kilometres. It is one of the great wild places left on earth, home to thousands of species of fauna and flora shared by settlements of indigenous inhabitants. Because of it’s size it can be hard to know where to begin your Amazon adventure. Our team of specialists with their firsthand experience can piece together your personalised, tailor-made itinerary to get the most out of your Amazonian journey.


Here, too, is the mighty Amazon River, the world’s longest, snaking across Peru and Brazil for thousands of kilometres and drawing on many major tributary rivers like the Rio Negro (Colombia), Napo River (Ecuador) and Madeira River (Peru) and from more than 1,500 tributaries in total.


You can choose to experience the Amazon on a luxury river cruise or rainforest lodge in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Venezuela. Whilst the majority of the Amazon Rainforest is in Brazil it’s our opinion that Peru and Ecuador offer not only easier access, but also have a greater range of options (both river cruises and lodges) than Brazil.

Amazon Rainforest



Amazon wildlife is incredibly diverse; giant snails, brightly coloured frogs (some with poisonous skin), hairy spiders (tarantulas – that really look far scarier than the are), riotously colourful birds (like macaws or the paradise tanager), up to thirteen species of monkeys (from the tiny pygmy marmosest thru to larger howler monkey), caimans and pink river dolphins and finally larger ground dwelling animals such as tapirs, anteaters and for the incredibly fortunate the elusive jaguar.


On most Amazon experiences you can see a number of the above species.  If you are particularly interested in seeing a greater variety of species, or particular animal, then please call and we can help you choose the best place to maximise your chance of realising your goal.   In very simple terms the less disturbed the forest the more wildlife you will see.


There are many fabulous eco-lodges from which you are escorted by expert guides who will help you interpret the forest and will undoubtedly help you locate the occasionally elusive rainforest wildlife. Around the lodges there are many walking trails whilst some lodges have canopy walkways or towers – which are a wonderful way of accessing the rainforest canopy where you have the opportunity to view several monkey species and some truly spectacular and colourful bird-life. Excursions are also taken in motorised launches or canoes.
Amongst our client’s favourites:
Reserva Amazonica – Peru, Hacienda Concepcion – Peru, Manu Wildlife Centre – Peru
Napo Wildlife Centre – Ecuador, La Selva Ecolodge Ecuador, Heath River Lodge – Bolivia
Cristalino Lodge – Brazil


In Peru and Ecuador there are several luxury riverboats which cruise long stretches of the Amazon or its larger tributaries. Excursions are made daily (some at night time) in smaller boats with your naturalist guides to search out flora and wildlife, to fish for piranha, or visit native communities. These cruises are wonderful experiences offering excellent cuisine, comfortable, air-conditioned accommodation and an insight into the Amazon. Brazil has a more limited range of vessels, despite having more of the Amazon.
In Peru there are several first class and luxury vessels (including Delfin I, II and III, MV Aria and Aqua Nera) offering 3, 4 and 7 night Amazon river cruises from Iquitos. In Ecuador the MV Anaconda offers similar duration voyages along the Napo River.


Peru and Ecuador have Cloud Forest Reserves which offer yet another option to discover forest flora and fauna.  Cloud forests are more about wonderful flora, in particular orchids, that love the damp atmosphere and spectacular birdlife, than monkeys and other larger animals.


Hummingbirds are prolific, as are many other species of  birds including one of South America’s most colourful birds the cock-of-the-rock.  There are a range of lodges, some quite simple, others offering luxury, like the exquisite Mashpi Lodge in Ecuador (a little over three hours drive from the capital Quito).


Might the Pantanal be the world’s best kept secret? While everyone has heard of the Amazon and it attracts the greatest renown, fewer people know of this fascinating area. A vast area between Cuiaba in Mato Grosso state and Campo Grande in Mato Grosso do Sul, the Pantanal covers 230,000 sq. km and is said to be the largest wetlands on earth. It is richly forested and abounds with wildlife and flora, home to numerous species of mammals, reptiles, plants, and over 600 types of birds.

You can hike, ride horses and make photographic safaris into the region by boat, canoe, on horseback and on foot. If you’re fortunate you might snap photos of tapirs, anteaters and capybaras, see hyacinth macaws, and even maned wolves.


Ecuador’s Amazon has the highest biodiversity of any part of the Amazon. Just as in Peru there are a number of fabulous eco-lodges; La Selva, Sacha and Napo Wildlife Centre are amongst the best.  With Napo likely offering the best wildlife viewing opportunities.  A wonderful alternative to a lodge stay is a voyage on-board the MV Anakonda; a luxury river cruise boat.



Jaguars are hard to see.  It is quite likely that many travellers who visit a rainforest will be watched by a Jaguar but few will catch a glimpse of the beautiful animal.  There are three places that you have an increased chance of seeing this beautiful and elusive cat.

Manu National Park – Peru
Yasuni National Park – Ecuador
Pantanal – Brazil (which is a massive area of tropical wetland – not rainforest)

The Pantanal in Brazil has the highest level of sightings.

Manu National Park & Wildlife Centre - Peru

Manu National Park in Peru offers wonderful opportunities to view a greater range of rainforest wildlife.  The lodges within Manu National Park are simple, the gateway lodge, which is located outside the National Park,  Manu Wildlife Centre is more comfortable.

The surrounding forest is home to 13 species of monkey (marmosets, squirrel, howler & wooly to name a few)and hundreds of species of birds including macaws, aracaris and toucans.  Families of giant otters are also found at ox-bow lakes found in the Park.  For the fortunate Jaguars can be seen. It’s quite a trip to get to Manu – the wildlife viewing opportunities are quite spectacular.  We have first-hand knowledge of the Park.

Maned Wolves & Hyacinth macaws

One of the wildlife highlights of the Pantanal is the possibility of seeing jaguars, hyacinth macaws, and maned wolves.  There are a small number of specialist lodges where you have a very good chance of seeing the rainforest’s most elusive inhabitant – the jaguar. The dry season ( June to October) is the best time for wildlife viewing.
Amongst the best are Cristalino Lodge, Araras Eco Lodge, Southwild Jaguar Flotel and Hyacinth and Maned Wolf camps. Standards vary and the wildlife experiences are excellent.


Aria Exterior

These small expedition ships really are floating wilderness lodges from which you explore the Amazon and several of its major tributaries. Smaller ‘skiffs’ (dinghies) are often used either to go ashore or to explore smaller channels in search of the rich and varied wildlife of the Amazon. Depending on water levels, most operators offer a high water and low water itinerary, you ‘ll not only have excursions by boat you’ll also take walks in the rainforest and visit canopy towers, offering access into the canopy of the rainforest where you’ll often observe monkeys and some of the amazon’s most spectacular birdlife.


Staying at a lodge in the Amazon allows you to be immersed in the rain forest and explore new trails each day. There are a variety of Amazon Lodge options available depending on your interests and the level of accommodation you prefer. Some lodges are located deep in the forest so a few extra days may be needed to enjoy this extremely remote experience. Other lodges are located closer to the port requiring less travel time. Your consultant will discuss the best options for you to create your perfect holiday in the Amazon. Below is a sample of some of the Amazon Lodge options available.

Luxury Lodge

Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica

Reserva Amazonica

Amazon, Peru

Given the rainforest location the accommodation and facilities are of a very high standard.  Allowing for our creature comforts whilst ensuring the other creatures remain in the forest.  Excellent cuisine is created by highly trained chefs, exceptional service is provided by the lodge staff and knowledgeable, well trained local guides show you around the forest helping you discover the flora and fauna and unique eco-systems of this remote part of the world.

Boutique Lodge

Cristalino Lodge Deck

Cristalino Lodge

Mato Grosso, Brazil

Cristalino Lodge was recently included in National Geographic Traveller’s World’s best Eco Lodges. It is a haven for birdwatchers, photographers and anyone with a passion for nature.  The Lodge is located beside the River Cristalino, within a private forest reserve in the southern part of the Brazilian Amazon region. A purpose built eco-lodge with a small number of rooms and highly personalised services.  Excellent food, world-leading guides and daily activities are included.

First Class Lodge

La Selva Amazon Lodge

La Selva Amazon Eco Lodge & Spa

Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, Ecuador

High quality with an excellent room standard, a full range of facilities and first-rate service. Please remember lodges in the rainforest do not have the full range of facilities that properties in a city would have.  Given there locations these properties are very comfortable.

Tourist Superior Lodge

Napo Lodge from river

Napo Wildlife Centre

Napo River, Ecuador

In the rainforests and jungles of Peru & Ecuador choose from a wide range of eco-lodges – from a comparatively luxurious retreat among the forest, to a complex of thatched cabañas in a lakeside location on a private reserve, to remote and rustic cottages offering a truly authentic experience. All lodges are eco-conscious and dedicated to conservation management and preservation of their environment.

Tourist-superior and tourist class accommodation is also available. For more information on the accommodation we offer, call 1300 784 794 or email

Planning Your Trip

The Booking Process

South America Travel Centre can look after all aspects of your holiday, including flights and travel insurance.

We start by asking you what your interests are and where you are interested in, when, for how long, what standard and style of accommodation. Once we have a good understanding of just what you’re looking for, we can begin to create a holiday to meet your time and budget requirements and, most importantly, that will deliver interest and enjoyment in an experience to exceed your expectations.

Please book early.  Many of the hotels, lodges and cruise vessels we recommend are relatively small. For example, the M/V Aria (Peruvian Amazon cruise) accommodates just 32 guests.  This exclusivity combined with high demand means they can be booked out up to 6-8 months in advance.

If you’re thinking of travelling during any major holidays like Christmas, New Year and Easter, or during any festivals, our advice is simply to book as early as you can, even 12 months or more, and we can add flights as soon as they become available.

Visa and Health Information

Australian citizens do not require a visa for Peru, Ecuador or Brazil for stays up to 90 days. You will need to hold a valid passport and have a return ticket when you arrive.

It is strongly recommended that all travellers to  the Amazon (Peru, Ecuador, Guyana or Brazil) be vaccinated for yellow fever before commencing their trip.

Malaria is prevalent in some areas of the Amazon. Your Travel Doctor will be able to advise you whether prophylaxis is required. Vaccinations are advised for common diseases like Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid as well as Influenza. There are no compulsory vaccinations.

We advise you to consult a Travel Doctor specialist prior to departure to assess any health risks in relation to your medical history and travel plans.

Flight Information

We have access to a wide range of airfares and have excellent relationships with our key airline partners. Our two main airline partners in Latin America are LATAM Airlines, QANTAS Airlines and Air New Zealand. We can also arrange internal flights for you within Latin America.

Irrespective of whether you book directly with us or with your preferred travel agent, we’ll request the details of all of your fights to ensure if there are any changes your transfers and other arrangements are adjusted accordingly.

The Best Time to Go

Peru- October to April the Peruvian Amazon has a sub-tropical climate with a lot of rain. Humidity stays high and temperatures can reach up to 32C or higher but nights can be cool. Being rainforest, expect rain year round and humid temperatures.

Ecuador- Weather in the Amazon is considerably hotter and more humid that the rest of Ecuador, and you can expect rain for most of the year. Temperatures stay around high 20’s and 30’s. Between April and September you can expect more rain than normal, which can even offer respite from the hot weather.


  • Twenty years ago the Añangu Kichwa Community in Ecuador collectively gave up subsistence hunting and fishing (their legal right) to allow local wildlife populations to recover, and it appears to be working. ...

  • As with many wildlife destinations, to have the best chance of some incredible encounters you often need to go a little further off the beaten path to reach places less affected by human presence. Manu is no exception to this rule....

Client Reviews

We will tailor the perfect holiday to suit your needs.
We will tailor the perfect holiday to suit your needs.