8 Ways to Explore the Mighty Amazon River

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6. Wildlife Sanctuary Volunteer Work

Volunteering at one of the many wildlife sanctuaries in the Amazon is an eye-opening, and rewarding experience. Volunteers needn’t have special knowledge of animals but are required to have passion and stamina as well as a team-building attitude. Volunteers help to rehabilitate some of the most exotic wildlife found in the Amazon basin–animals injured by other animals, suffering from unfortunate accidents, rescued from animal trafficking, or situations of mistreatment and/or illegal situations. In Ecuador, there is ample opportunity to participate in wildlife rehabilitation and release programs, many which work together with local indigenous communities. Volunteers work on feeding and care, helping to maintain the sanctuary, and constructing animal enclosures with professionals among other specified duties. These programs are great for anyone in a wildlife field or program though you truly only have to be an animal lover to participate.

baby monkey

5. Jungle Trekking

Wildlife reserves and national parks throughout the Amazon River basin are plentiful and ideal for observing wildlife in natural habitats. Guided hikes (especially through Brazil’s Jaú National Park and Peru’s Manú National Park) are the most popular ways to explore–a professional, well-versed expert treks where you’re almost guaranteed a look at a host of native animals including pink river dolphins, manatees, caimans, massive river turtles, a wealth of primate species and maybe even a jaguar, not to mention some incredible trees and plants. Treks span anywhere from a day to several days to weeks with accommodation in a lodge or camp in the jungle. To reach the deepest parts of the Amazon, treks usually involve a lot of canoeing or kayaking which requires a healthy level of physical fitness. The packages are diverse, including anything from piranha fishing to bird watching and anaconda hunting (just to look at of course).

Amazon jungle trekking
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