Tips on surviving in the Amazon Rainforest (in an eco lodge)

Here I am starting up a new blog! 

To begin, I wanted to repost one of my favorites from my previous blog (http://alternateangles.wordpress.com/).

HERE WE GO!

October 24, 2014

As you can tell by my recent posts in my study abroad blog (http://portenashelly.blogspot.com.ar), I hung out in the Amazon rain forest for 4 days during my spring break to Peru! Obviously, when I packed for Buenos Aires I didn’t have the Amazon jungle in mind so unfortunately I didn’t bring many things I needed.

Here are a list of things I wish I had, things I had but didn’t need, and tips about staying in the Amazon.

 

1. MALARIA PILLS AREN’T ALWAYS NECESSARY

I spent AR$150 on malaria pills before I came and apparently the Puerto Maldonado hasn’t had malaria in the area for about 30 years. Also, Sheridan got unbelievably sick because she started them late and had to take many doses at once. She threw up at least 10 times at the hostel, in the airport, on the plane and on the bus to or lodge. She was miserable for the whole day and one of our guides said there had been increasing problems with the side effects of malaria medication and an extreme decrease of actual malaria.

He told her to stop taking the medication and she’d start feeling better and she did! The only reason the rest of us didn’t get sick from them is because we either started them a week ago and only needed one dose or didn’t take them at all.

It’s true, malaria pills are a pharmaceutical scam… Like many medications nowadays.

 

2. BRING A PONCHO/RAIN JACKET

Fun fact about the rain forest: it rains. And even in the dry season (now) it rains hard. Sometimes it’s too hot for a rain jacket so make sure to being a poncho.

 Our bus broke down on the way into the jungle so we decided to eat lunch on the side of the road until help came.

Our bus broke down on the way into the jungle so we decided to eat lunch on the side of the road until help came.

3. BRING A COMFORTABLE HIKING BACKPACK

You need your backpack for your daily excursions to carry food, water, and anything else you might need.

Mine is cool cause it has a chest strap to make it more comfortable and two things on the front straps to which I could hook my camera case and a water bottle for easy access. Having a water bottle in your view at all times really reminds you to drink up.

For my next hiking backpack, though, I definitely one that has a waist belt so less of the weight will be on my shoulders and back. I’d also want bungee straps on the front of my bag to carry anything too big to fit in the bag, like a jacket, or anything wet. 

 

4. WATERPROOF COVER FOR BACKPACK

Even if your backpack says it’s water proof… Most likely it’s water resistant… for a drizzle. It POURS in the Amazon. One day, it rained longer and harder than I’ve ever seen before. It’s a pain to get your things wet because everything takes so long to dry there because of the humidity.

5. BRING EXTRA SHOES THAT AREN’T FLIP FLIPS

Also, when it pours, you will hike straight through puddles. There’s really no choice. Your shoes well be soaked and it’ll take forever for them to dry. Bring extra, comfy shoes. I had my gaucho shoes (Tom’s) and it was nice to walk around in them when I had to.

 

6. BRING WATER BOTTLES

Water is key. I had two plastic water bags with carabiners that were nice because I could attach them to my backpack and when I was done with one I could just fold it up and stuff it in my bag. I got them at the dollar store so they’re super cheap and still strong. It’s better to get one with reinforcements on the hole for the carabiner so nothing rips.

Our lodge provided us with purified water… Even though the girls swear that’s what made them sick.

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7. BRING AN EXTRA TOWEL

Our lodge had a swimming hole but it would have sucked to dry off in the same towel we use for the shower since the water was a bit dirty.

 

8. BRING SOMETHING TO READ

We have a good amount of down time here between our excursions. We either nap or hang out at the main lodge. But when I don’t want to nap or before bed, I read my kindle :)

 

9. CAMERA!!!

BRING A CAMERA. A real camera! Don’t use a stupid smart phone camera. There’s no way you can capture the beauty in this jungle on a phone.

I got a new camera for my birthday mainly for this trip which I love but my friend Sam had an old DSLR and her pictures are phenomenal. I’m so jealous. I may look on Ebay or go to a camera exchange place to look at prices when I go home. I love my camera but I really think a DSLR is worth the price.

10. HAVE A GREAT GROUP OF PEOPLE

I traveled with a group of 5 other girls and I’m so happy I did. They all bring ideas and fun times to the table and really made my experience great.

 Our hiking group consisted of Claus, our tour guide; Bie and Peter, a Belgian couple; and my friends, Carla, Christina, Mindee, Sheridan and Sam.

Our hiking group consisted of Claus, our tour guide; Bie and Peter, a Belgian couple; and my friends, Carla, Christina, Mindee, Sheridan and Sam.

11. BRING LONG, LIGHT PANTS

I had running leggings which was too hot to wear but I also had yoga pants which weren’t bad. Since you can’t wear shorts because of the mosquitoes during the day, long airy hiking pants are the way to go.

 

12. BRING A LONG SLEEVE AIRY SHIRT

Again, because of mosquitoes, long or 3/4 length sleeves are recommended. A breezy, loose (maybe button-up) long sleeve shirt is best for hiking.

13. BRING A GOOD PAIR OF SNEAKERS

I didn’t see the need to buy hiking shoes and I’m glad I didn’t because they really aren’t necessary. All you need is a good pair of sneakers; I had running sneakers.


14. BRING ZIP LOCK BAGS

Again with the rain… You don’t want your valuables getting ruined so bring different size (sandwich to gallon size) zip locks with you hiking.

 Covering your feet in plastic bags don't keep them dry when you're hiking in a downpour.

Covering your feet in plastic bags don't keep them dry when you're hiking in a downpour.


15. HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

If it downpours during your hike or if your van breaks down on the side of the road, don’t worry about it. It’s a great experience and an even better story later on!


16. DON’T EXPECT WIFI

The eco lodges in the Amazon run on generators so expect limited electricity and zero wifi. Make sure you tell your loved ones at home that you can’t be in contact for a few days while you’re in the jungle or else they’ll freak out when they don’t hear from you!


 We had the yummiest meals at the eco lodge. The fresh fruit and plantains were my favorite!

We had the yummiest meals at the eco lodge. The fresh fruit and plantains were my favorite!

17. BRING A BRIMMED HAT

It’s great protection from the sun, bugs and the rain.


18. BRING A BATHING SUIT

It’s an awesome opportunity if you can swim in a swimming hole because it’s so darn hot.

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19. BRING HIGH-DEET BUG REPELLENT SPRAY AND/OR LOTION… AND LOTS OF IT.

Yes, mosquitoes can be vicious. Make sure to bring DEET 35-80. I know DEET is super bad for you but it’s necessary, especially when it’s too hot to wear long sleeves.

 

20. DON’T NEED MUCH SUNTAN LOTION

Most of the time, there are so many trees that the canopy blocks the sun.

21. BRING PLASTIC GROCERY BAGS

They’re great for when your clothes haven’t died yet from the rain and you have to continue in your travels around Peru.

 

22. STAY IN AN ECO LODGE

We stayed in g lodge which has lodges all around the world. Everything is included for your stay which is so helpful. The lodges are really nice and somewhat resort-like. Much better than actually camping in the Amazon if you’re not an extreme outdoorist.

23. DON’T NEED TO MANY SOLES/USD

There’s really nothing to buy in the Amazon lodge except for extra drinks.

 

24. BRING DIARRHEA/UPSET STOMACH MEDICINE

All of the girls I am traveling with had stomach problems. Definitely bring Imodium and other stomach/digestion medicine.

 There was so much fresh fruit to eat!

There was so much fresh fruit to eat!

25. BRING FAST-DRY CLOTHING

Nothing is worse than waiting for days for your clothes to dry cause you have to keep packing them up… That’s what happened with my sneakers and yoga pants.

26. BRING A FLASHLIGHT

There’s only candle light in the bungalows and zero light in the shower and bathroom. Bring a flashlight for having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night/showering at night and also for the night excursions.

 

That’s about all you need to know about surviving a few days in the Amazon (in an eco lodge).

I had the BEST time and I’d suggest going to the Amazon to anyone who wants an adventure.