Rainforest trip: Guide for first-time visitors
The rainforest is home to half of the world’s plant and animal species and is home to indigenous people who have different customs from those of the western world. In addition, they offer a huge variety of landscapes and opportunities for cultural exchanges, photography, adventure, fishing, excursions, relaxation and observation of wild animals. However, trips to the rainforest are not for everyone, and before traveling to this type of habitat, it is necessary to consider some things.
Generally, tropical rainforests are hot and humid, solar radiation is very intense outside the canopy, annual rainfall is at least 80 inches and there is marked seasonality in some forests. Storms tend to last a short time.
The tropical rainforest species are not necessarily abundant. Many animals are camouflaged and are nocturnal to protect themselves from predators. So carrying a wildlife guide would be quite useful to meet the animals.
Unlike North America, tropical forest plants are more spaced apart and grow in a straight line. The canopy trees practically lack branches before the crown. In the rainforest, it is difficult to observe flowers, although it is possible to find them in the clearings and along the rivers. In the misty forest, it is common to find orchids and bromeliads.
Here are some examples of forests that go from the quiet to the intrepid:
Hawaii and Puerto Rico are countries that are close to the United States and visiting them are fun, although in these places the adventure is less than in other places. Because they are islands, there are fewer wildlife species and a large number of invasive species.
Australia has two small areas of rainforest in the Cape York Peninsula. This small area is very diverse and protects a high percentage of Australian fauna. On the other hand, Costa Rica is an excellent introduction to the rainforest, since it has parks, experienced guides and a friendly atmosphere for tourists. Belize has excellent reserves in the rainforest and the second-largest coral reef in the world.
Bold experiences in the rainforest:
Brazil has the largest and most diverse rainforest in the world. It has all kinds of accommodation and cruises along the Amazon River. Peru also has excellent sites for lodging in the Amazon and has great diversity for a country of its size. 12 percent of Panama is made up of national parks and houses more than 10,000 species of plants. Barro Colorado Island has facilities for research. Thailand has tourist infrastructure around the Khao Sok national park and its fauna includes monkeys, elephants, and langurs. It is believed that the oldest forests on Earth are found on the Malaysian Peninsula. Here it is possible to find pygmy elephants, orangutans, and other primate species.
For people who visit the rainforest for the first time, it is not advisable to travel to Africa, since African ecotourism is mainly based on safaris. However, Gabon and Madagascar have tremendous biological diversity, are relatively safe, politically stable and have an extensive park system.
How to plan a trip
The first time you travel to the rainforest it is not advisable to improvise unless the place is quiet or the traveler is experienced.
In case of any problem, it is useful to contact someone who lives locally. A tour guide offers this possibility, as well as good recommendations of places to visit.
It is advisable to seek green certification. Theoretically, these certification programs use independent auditors to assess the environmental and social impacts of operators and hotels.
Where to stay Hotel vs. camp vs. cruise
Due to the weather and safety, camping on your own in the rainforest is not recommended for first-time visitors. A tour guide could tell you where it is safe and legal to camp. On the other hand, there are all kinds of hotels with excellent guides, which are located in biologically rich sites and with well-planned routes. Traveling by water allows you to cover a large area, meet different sites and visit the interior parts of the rainforest.
General tips for the rainforest
In many countries, it is mandatory to be accompanied by a local guide to access national parks. With a guide, it is easier to observe wild animals and reduce the risk of getting hurt or lost. In addition, this justifies the park economically, since it generates jobs for local people. Before reaching the rainforest, it is advisable to study a bit to familiarize yourself with the environment you will face.
Once you are in the rain forest, relax and enjoy it, but always be alert, be observant to have a greater sighting of animals, be careful with the roots, vines, and thorns, be silent to avoid chasing away the animals and not feed
It is advisable to bring items for excursions, for health and comfort, in addition to a camera.
Safety tips for the rainforest
Listen to the guide.
They are the ones who well understand the rainforest and can recognize the signs of wildlife.
Encounters with animals.
The most dangerous encounters are with ants, wasps, bees, and mosquitoes. The probability of finding snakes during the day is low.
It is sensible to wear comfortable shoes and check them every morning to get the animals out.
Despite the climatic conditions, the greatest protection against insects, spiny plants and vines are long sleeves and pants. It is also advisable to use repellent.
Always ask if it is safe to swim before entering the water, as it is possible to find dangerous animals or unexpected currents.
It is easy to dehydrate in the rainforest, so it is recommended to drink plenty of water.
- A visit to the doctor: Confirm that your health is good for traveling and find out about emerging diseases in the region.
- Vaccines: Make sure your vaccinations are up to date and which ones are necessary to travel. Some countries require specific immunization to enter.
- Health: Due to weather conditions and difficult access to medical care, it is advisable to travel healthy to the rainforest.
- Travel insurance: If your insurance does not cover it abroad, buy travel insurance.
- Pack: Pack the prescription and carry enough medication for the trip and maybe a little more in case of any unforeseen delay. If you take any unusual or illegal medication, a doctor’s note is necessary or it may be better not to travel.
- Medications to take: Take personal medication for pain, dizziness, infections, stomach upset, allergies, and diarrhea.
- Don’t forget to repellent or sunscreen!
- Always have several copies of your passport, preferably in color, and keep them in different places. Acquire your visa on time if required and make sure your passport is valid at least half a year after the date of your return.
General tips during trips to other countries
- During the visit to other countries, it is advisable to respect other cultures, to know the local taboos so as not to offend people, to be patient in case of unexpected delays, not to raise your voice when you get angry, not to show off your wealth, to support hotels, own restaurants, and shops, doing fair and respectful business, being careful with political issues in countries that were recently at war, being aware of thieves and being careful not to be followed, sleeping in safe hotels or securing the door with a chair or rubber wedge, use a carabiner to hold bags together at the airport, do not carry jewelry, and travel light.
Protect your computer
- Making a list with the description of each item, serial number, model, address, and name of the owner is useful for noting to the customs agents that it is not intended to negotiate with the items and so that neither the agents nor the police are treated to appropriate them. The list is also useful for raising a record in case of theft.
- It is advisable to carry a shockproof suitcase and many zip-lock bags to keep items dry. Silica gel packs help protect the chamber from moisture.