Weather & Rainforest CrittersLife is abundant in the rainforest, so get to know your new friends!
Weather, Climate, Topography
We are located in the humid tropics which means hot and wet. The Iquitos region’s “coolest” month is February. But the average temp ranges anywhere from 77°F up to 95°F with high humidity most of the time. You’ll also likely experience some impressive rains, so a good waterproof jacket is a must for keeping yourself dry (but a jacket-less dance in a tropical downpour is also a must!). Since it is hot, make sure your waterproof jacket is very breathable, other wise you will have a personal sauna.
In general, you will feel sticky and your clothes will get damp, so be sure to bring clothing that wicks moisture and is made of polyester or other synthetic fabrics. Lightweight wool is another good option if your skin can handle it. Cotton gets smelly quickly and is difficult to dry out, especially if there is no sun and frequent rain.
Long sleeves are highly recommended, as well as long pants. Shorts are great for lounging around in, but if you’ll be hiking outside, you’ll appreciate having less bug bites, vine scrapes, etc.
Good, sturdy shoes are highly recommended. Bring a pair of flip flops or water shoes, but on hikes we recommend quality hiking or trail shoes. If you have rubber boots, all the better. We’ll have some available, but cannot guarantee sizes. We recommend looking on eBay for slightly used boots because you can find some great models with more comfortable features at reasonable prices, or purchase some in Iquitos at the Belen Market. A pair of those ‘sexy Crocs’ are amazing due to the fact that you can kick them off-and-on very easily.
Light clothing can easily get dirty, so plan accordingly and don’t bring your favorite pieces. That being said, mosquitos do gravitate towards darker clothing. Which leads us to…
Rainforest Critters & Plants
Follow this one basic rule and you’ll most likely be AOK… LOOK BUT DON’T TOUCH!
The flora and fauna of the Amazon have co-evolved in a highly competitive space for nutrients and sustenance, so hopefully you’ll get to safely witness some impressive displays of co-evolution. Yes, there are many things that bite, sting, burn, and poke in the Amazon. However, with some mindful presence, a calm demeanor, and thoughtful planning most pests can be easily deflected or altogether avoided.
Sticking to cleared and marked trails, walking with a stick, using a light at night and being present will keep you safe of most potentially harmful encounters.
You can encounter mosquitos at any time of the day, but they are most active at dawn and dusk. Mosquitos will come in waves depending on breeding conditions and life cycles. In deep, dark jungle, you must keep moving so they don’t have enough time to land on and bite you. (But, if you’re not timid, they are gorgeous to look at with their iridescent blue and green highlights, not to mention their size.)
Just like in any humid tropical area malaria is a concern. We personally do not take any of the chloroquine or other pharmaceutical drugs due to their side effects. Please consult your doctor or a travel physician to learn about the risks and threats of tropical diseases.
Some people take neem oil orally as an immune system booster to help reduce the possibility of contracting malaria. You’ll need to take the neem oil for 10-days prior to your travel to the Amazon to build up the active compounds (Azadirachta) in your blood. But, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth more than a pound of cure, and proper application of bug repellent and attire will do wonders in limiting the potential for bites in the first place.
For bug repellent, we recommend Cedarcide or Badger Balm Organic Anti-Bug Balm or Spray, Cedarcide, and Herbal Armor. These smell much better than OFF or similar products and come in a variety of applicators. The balm lasts the longest, but the sprays are less greasy to use.
It smells much better than OFF or similar products and comes in a variety of applicators. The balm lasts the longest, but the spray is less greasy to use.
No-see-ums (aka Mantablanca, Ishango)
These are small, imperceptible bugs called ishango. They don’t carry any viruses, but their bite is highly itchy, which can then lead to scratching and potential for infection. They usually live in grasses and living ground cover (they do not thrive on leaf litter), so rubber boots with pants tucked into them is your safest bet to avoid these insects when out hiking. Following a hike with a good rinse in the shower is helpful as well. Cedarcide oil does wonders on these guys and highly recommend it.
Snakes, jaguars, tapirs, wild boar, monkeys, ocelots, and many other animals call the Amazon home and most have been sighted on the property. We are on their turf, so respect is essential for a happy experience. All animals are more afraid of us than vice versa. While there is potential for harm, absentmindedness is usually the contributing factor. All participants will be taught basic awareness skills and things to be cautious of.
We can provide walking sticks for those that wish to use one. We also encourage everyone to walk in pairs or groups to decrease the chance of an encounter as most animals want nothing to do with us.
Be careful when observing animals in trees like sloths or monkeys. They can cause large, dead branches to fall at a moment’s notice and if you’re under one you better be quick on your feet.
Tropical rainforests contain some of the most aggressive plants in the world. There are carnivorous plants, leaves that ooze toxins upon slightest touch, vines with imperceptible hairs that will destroy your skin with one brush, etc. We recommend staying on all paths unless with an experienced guide, but even then, the best recommendation is Do Not Touch Anything!
While this may seem extreme, we’ve encountered large nests of stinging hornets resting under tropical leaves, hidden spines on trunks, and various spiders and snakes calling crevices their home. Again, respect and presence are your best friends.
Once the jungle sees that you mean her no harm, you will build a relationship with her along with Mother Ayahuasca and they will embrace you. The jungle’s flora and fauna are nurturing and will hold your hand with love.