The Amazon: Pampas tour or jungle tour?

One’s more flora and fauna, and one’s more hunting for deadly shit and laxing on a boat…

Pampas vs. Jungle tour – how to decide

Michelle, as usual, making new friends

It’s generally the first question you’ll be asked when organising a trip into the Amazon; do you want to do the pampas – the large, grassy plains and swampy areas – or the jungle? The main differences are that the pampas is a lot more of a waterborne activity, and the jungle involves more bushwhacking and trekking through thick rainforest. Here’s how to consider each:

– Pampas: You’ll head along the Yacuma River (no, not the Amazon River), which is the wetlands before you reach the actual rainforest. You’ll spend two or three days around the wetlands, and do most of your wildlife spotting from the boat. There’s also a bunch more activities that most of the tour companies do – piranha fishing, anaconda hunting, swimming with pink dolphins etc – but I’ll go into them in more detail below. This is generally the better option if seeing wildlife is what you’re here for.

Cost? About $80 all up, not including park entrance fees – and IF you’re good at haggling. Depending what time of year you arrive, you can haggle a bit.

Exploring the Pampas

– Jungle tour: Most of the times, these are a bit longer, and can take up to five days. The main activity of these excursions is walking. Walking in the morning, walking at night, and walking through the thickets: all the while looking out for different wildlife. You’ll see different animals here than you would do in the pampas – mostly the armadillos, tapirs, night monkeys and night birds (during the nocturnal walk), and some will even tease you with the allure of a jungle cat. Because the forest is thicker in these tours, though, you’re likely to see less wildlife – but the focus is more on the flora and fauna.

Cost: In general, the jungle tours are slightly more expensive than the pampas tours, but the price increase is marginal.

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