One of the first things you should consider when packing for your next vacation is the climate you will be visiting. In an ideal world, you could pick and choose the kind of weather you’ll experience. But in the real world, it’s best to do your research beforehand so that you will be prepared for whatever each day may bring. Here is some sage advice to help you enjoy every minute of your holiday!
There are two main seasons in the Amazon Rainforest: the dry and consistently hot season and the rainy season which is a little cooler. The duration of each season can vary just as it does in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Depending on the year, the dry season usually starts around the month of June and lasts until November. The rainy season is the rest of the year, generally lasting from December to May. However, it’s important to remember that the Rainforest is true to its name year-round!
So now that you have determined which season you will be experiencing during your stay, it’s time to start thinking about one word in particular… layers! No matter which season your trip falls under, layers will stand you in good stead because you can take off and put on articles of clothing to suit your needs. It is essential to pack a week’s worth of lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, long cotton socks, and t-shirts. Rain gear like water-resistant shoes or hiking boots and a jacket or poncho are advisable for both seasons. You may also want to take into consideration the fact that bright colours may scare wildlife. Remember that natural colours like greens and browns will help you blend into the surroundings.
Aside from the other basics like your passport, plane tickets, credit cards, and cash, it is important to remember any medications and personal toiletries you cannot do without. Other sensible items that will serve you well are a small backpack to take on excursions, a hat, high SPF sunscreen, sunglasses, insect repellent, and a good flashlight or headlamp to use if you want to venture out for an evening stroll. In an ecosystem so rich in biodiversity, you can’t miss out on seeing some of the creatures who only stir in the safety of the cover of night.
A good pair of binoculars with 8x 35 mm magnification should be exactly what you need for excellent wildlife viewing. If you prefer the ability to capture and view the sights you see more than once, however, you’ll need to invest in a good quality camera with various lenses for different views. For example, a telephoto lens will allow you to zoom in on creatures like one of the many different species of monkeys who call the canopy home. If you’re atop one of the observation towers nestled into the landscape, zoom functions are a powerful tool to make the most of those impressive views. Despite long distances, you’ll be able to snap high-quality images of all the action happening in the treetops! And If you’re intrigued by the microcosms at your feet on the forest floor, a macro lens will help you focus on more up-close and personal encounters with cute reptiles like turtles and lizards, or colourful amphibians like frogs and salamanders. Just be sure to pack extra batteries and ziplock type bags or other plastic coverings to protect your electronic gear from the elements.
If you follow these tidbits of advice, chances are very good that you will only experience positive surprises on your trip because you will be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way. The Amazon is beckoning… will you answer its call? Be adventurous, be inquisitive, and be prepared!
Miguel Andy is General Manager of Napo Wildlife Center. Napo Wildlife Center is an eco-lodge offering unforgettable experiences in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador, inside Yasuni Biosphere Reserve, which is managed by the Añangu kichwa aboriginal community.