How to Choose an Ecolodge in the Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon rainforest is teeming with potential dangers: hungry wild animals, poisonous plants and reptiles, and disease-carrying insects. Unless you have the sense of adventure of a Crocodile Dundee, it’s definitely not a place to explore on your own. Better to stay at a ecolodge and experience the Amazon under the tutelage of a knowledgeable guide.
To narrow your choice of a suitable ecolodge, consider these six factors.
1) Convenience. If you only have three or four days to see the Amazon, select an ecolodge that is relatively quick and easy to get to. By quick and easy, I mean it takes roughly a half-day to travel to the ecolodge, including transport by plane, car, and motorized canoe.
2) Accommodations. You’ll need to decide whether luxury or price is more important to you. There are some very luxurious ecolodges in the jungle. There are also ecolodges that offer more basic accommodations.
3) Experience. Consider if you are looking for an introductory experience or if you would prefer a deep jungle adventure. Deep jungle ecolodges usually offer more rudimentary accommodations, but they also offer more opportunities to see animals up close.
4) Activities. Many ecolodges offer similar activities such as a canopy tour, wildlife sightings, and a night walk in the jungle. If you have a special interest, such as bird watching, make sure the ecolodge you choose offers a program that is compatible with your interest.
5) People vs. Animals. Some ecolodges are focused on offering spectacular opportunities to view wildlife. Other ecolodges are focused on offering their guests the unforgettable opportunity to interact with and learn about native tribes. Both are incredibly interesting. Make sure to choose an ecolodge, though, that is in line with your preference.
6) Sustainability. Most ecolodges follow sustainable practices. However, some ecolodges take sustainability a step further. They look for ways not only to sustain the environment, but also to sustain the local culture. For example, we work with an ecolodge in the Peruvian Amazon that is owned by the indigenous Ese-Eja community of Infierno and jointly managed by an organization based in Lima. Operating the ecolodge offers young community members an alternative to moving to Lima to find work. The fact that the younger generation can remain in the Amazon helps the community sustain its traditional way of life.