Rainforests are serious places. And the Amazon Rainforest – owing to its scale, climate and inhabitants – is probably the most serious rainforest of them all. That is, it’s seriously awesome but also seriously serious, so entering this most serious place without at least some basic pointers is a very daft idea indeed. Hence why we´ve decided to put together the ultimate Amazon jungle trip guide.
And since we’re taking you into the awesome depths of the Amazon on next year’s Amazon Challenge, we figured we’d take it upon ourselves to share some pointers with you ourselves.
Much like younger siblings, mosquitoes are extremely annoying. Even more annoying than the mosquitoes are the diseases they can sometimes carry and transmit to humans. There’s nothing like a bit of malaria to kill your wanderlust. But fret not: with a bit of preparation (and a lot of common sense), it’s easy to minimise the risk of getting eaten alive.
First up, make sure your travel vaccinations are up to date and ask your travel doctor for advice regarding malaria tablets. Then, go into your local pharmacy and ask for the lowdown on all things mosquito repellant. There are a hell of a lot of different strengths, types and brands of repellant – so use your pharmacist’s knowledge to help get the one best for you. It’s also wise to pack light long-sleeved clothes to help keep your skin covered and, if you fancy it, one of those mosquito net hat things. You won’t look cool with it on. But you won’t look cool with a million mosquitoes eating your face, either.
A walk through the jungle is no walk in the park. And whilst you may think it’s the poisonous critters you need to look out for, falling trees and branches are actually the biggest cause of death in the jungle. Step lightly, keep your wits about you and try and stay tuned in to what’s going on around you at all times. It’s also wise to set up camp in clearings and away from trees, where possible.
The jungle is thick, and occasionally you might need to hack or push through some parts of it to get to where you’re going. This is where a machete comes in handy. Not only is it going to get you through the scrub faster, it’s also going to protect your hands from any ants, snakes, spiders or plants that could cause you harm. If you don’t have a machete to hand, a solid stick will also work: the trick is to just make sure you’re not thrusting your hands into the unknown.
It’ll be hot and it’ll be humid, but walking through the jungle shirtless is a very daft idea indeed. For a start, exposure to direct sunlight can lead to heatstroke. And then there’s the countless jungle critters who may fancy a piece of you and the countless jungle plants who’d love nothing more than to give you a big fat rash. Getting your clothes good and sweaty is a small price to pay for the sake of saving a lot of discomfort.
Trekking through the jungles in jeans and a flannel shirt isn’t the best idea. When it comes to jungle gear, light, quick-drying long-sleeve clothing is your best bet. You can source excellent hiking pants and tops from any decent hiking or outdoors shop. Army surplus stores are also great for finding good-quality gear at low prices. Make sure you buy your hiking boots (mid-high tops are best!) a few months before your trip so you have a chance to wear them in. Blisters on day one does not a happy adventurer make.
There are a lot of places in the world you can just turn up in and be relatively safe. The Amazon, even with the help of Large Minority, isn’t one of them. Even though the Large Minority team will make sure all logistics and medical support are taken care of, you need to have at least a vague idea of what to expect.
The co-founders of Large Minority will be in the Amazon with you. And as the co-founders, it’s their duty – along with the rest of their team – to keep you safe and to make your Amazon Challenge the most kickassingest thing you’ve ever done. In order for that to happen, you’ve got to trust them. Rumour has it you’ll get bonus points if you call them ‘Don Julian’ and ‘Don Juan’.
You’re in the jungle. Things will go wrong and it likely won’t always be a comfortable experience. That’s what adventure’s all about! Something that pushes you over the edge in the moment will more than likely make for an awesome story once it’s all said and done. Being able to stand back and have a bit of a laugh at misfortune will help you not just survive your amazing Amazon adventure, it’ll ensure it becomes one of the best trips you’ve ever embarked on.