Amazon River Cruises and Travel
in the Amazon Rainforest

Cruises in the Amazon region of South America are offered on the Amazon River or one or more of its many tributaries. The river itself runs through Brazil, Peru and Columbia.

In Brazil and Peru you’ll travel along the Amazon River. And in Ecuador and Bolivia, you’ll cruise on one or more rivers that are linked to it.

Amazon Rainforest Near Manaus, Brazil

Amazon Rainforest Near Manaus, Brazil

By Neil Palmer/CIAT (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Not surprisingly, this area receives quite a bit of rain throughout the year. About 60% of the rainfall occurs from December to June, which is why these months are considered the “rainy season”. Although, the Amazon has some rain fall about 200 days each year. So, you can expect some rain even during the dry season from July to November.

The climate is hot and humid year-round. Temperatures are generally between 85 and 98 degrees (F). During the dry season, temperatures tend to be higher. 

Water levels vary between to two seasons, which means that some of the creeks and lakes might not be accessible in the low-water season. Your boat won’t be able to travel as deep into some of these areas; however, you’ll be able hike along trails that are not accessible during the high-water season. 

Amazon River Facts

The Amazon River begins in the Andes Mountains in Peru. It flows for about 4,000 miles through Peru, Columbia and Brazil before reaching its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean. Along its course the river is connected to 1,100 different tributaries!

Some geographers classify the Amazon as the longest river in the world, while others consider it to be the second longest after the Nile River. 

Aerial View of the Amazon Rainforest

An Aerial View of the Amazon Rainforest

By Jorge.kike.medina (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Amazon Rainforest spans about 2.1 million square miles! It is located in 9 different countries in South America including Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. 

An interesting note: The Hamza River is the longest underground river in the world. It flows underneath the Amazon River for 3,700 miles and is 13,000 feet below the earth’s surface.

Amazon River Cruise Destinations

There are four different areas you can cruise in the Amazon. Each area will take you into the Amazon Rainforest. Only two of these areas actually cruise on the Amazon River – Peru and Brazil. You’ll cruise along other tributaries of the Amazon in Bolivia and Ecuador.


Most of the Amazon River cruises take place in Peru. Cruises travel to and from Iquitos into the Amazon Rainforest. You’ll travel along a few different waterways on your journey, including the Amazon, Marañón, Ucayali and Nanay Rivers.

During your Amazon cruise, you’ll visit the Pacaya-Samiria and the Allpahuaya-Mishana National Reserves. Both of these are large protected rainforest areas in Peru.


Brazil is the second most common destination for Amazon River cruises is in Brazil. You’ll travel to and from Manaus. Did you know that nearly 60% of the Amazon Rainforest in located in Brazil? 

In addition to the Amazon River, you’ll also spend some time cruising on the Rio Negro and Solimoes Rivers.


In Ecuador you’ll cruise through the Amazon on the Napo River System, which includes the Napo River as well as a few others. The Napo River is a major tributary of the Amazon and is the largest river in Ecuador.

During your cruise, you’ll visit the Yasuni National Park and Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve.


River cruises in Bolivia begin in Trinidad. Your cruise will be on Mamoré River and the Rio Ibare. The Mamoré River is indirectly connected to the Amazon River through the Madeira River.

This is the least travelled region in the Amazon, which is why you’ll find fewer cruises being offered. River cruise fares are generally lower, because the cost of living in Bolivia is lower.

Amazon River cruises are offered by Rainforest Cruises,  Avalon Waterways, Aqua Expeditions, Lindblad Expeditions, National Geographic Expeditions, and Princess Cruises.

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Lauri Wakefield is a travel writer who specializes in  river cruises in Europe and the U.S. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.

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