Exploring the Amazon rainforest might be a bucket list favorite, but with such a wildly changing environment (water levels rise and fall up to 40 feet throughout the year) and extreme weather (250 annual days of rain coupled with stifling humidity), planning the best time to visit can be a challenge. Whether you’re looking to camp out in the jungle or cruise along the river, here are a few tips for when to visit the Amazon.
Wet season (December–May)
Traveling in the wet season means that the river is at its highest, making it the perfect time for boat trips and river cruises. Flooded forests and sprawling wetlands mean you’ll be able to drift deeper into the forest and increase your chances for spotting wildlife. The weather is more temperate at this time of year with temperatures ranging from 73°F and 86°F but they’ll be daily rains, so pack your wet weather gear, hop in a canoe and make the most of the downpours by taking a dip in the black water creeks.
Dry Season (July–November)
As the water recedes and the trees recover their footing, this is the best time for trekking expeditions, with rainforest walkways and beaches exposed. It’s also the best time of year for fishing and spotting river creatures, with piranha, tropical fish and river dolphins now concentrated in a smaller area. Temperatures at this time of year can reach a feverish 104°F with intense humidity, although fewer showers are a worthwhile tradeoff.
Between seasons (June–July)
If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, visiting on the brink of the dry season might be a good option. While the weather is perhaps most unpredictable at this time, there are plenty of advantages. With river levels receding, a number of walking trails and beaches will be exposed, but they’ll be plenty of scope for boat trips as many jungle areas remain flooded. If you’re visiting from Brazil or Peru, June is also time for a number of festivals in the Amazonian cities – Manaus in Brazil celebrates its folklore traditions with the famous Boi Festival, while Iquitos in Peru holds the San Juan Festival, featuring vibrant processions along the Amazon river.