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Mammals to be found in the Amazon basin include the world’s largest rodent - the capybara - plus tapir, jaguar, monkeys, deer and otter. The 1,300 or so bird species include many migrants, while macaws gather in flocks more than a thousand-strong.

The largest of its 380 reptiles is the anaconda, while the best known of the 3,000 or so fish species is the piranha. There are different ways to explore the Amazon; jungle lodges provide various levels of comfort and offer two, three or four day programmes, complete with local naturalist and native guides.

As a general rule, the more remote the lodge and the longer you stay, the more wildlife you are likely to see. However, in the busy area around Manaus, the Amazon is several kilometres wide, and much of the forest is secondary growth, so it is only by getting into narrow creeks and channels that you have a realistic chance of seeing wildlife. By taking a voyage on a riverboat, particularly on the northern tributary of the Rio Negro, you can get much deeper into the rainforest, and have greater opportunity to experience it in a more intimate way, and understand it with a naturalist guide. Why not consider our Voyage to the Heart of the Amazon?

The Amazon basin covers a vast area, but you can avoid the expense and time of flying to Manaus by visiting the southern fringe of Amazon rainforest – which offers similar biodiversity. Staying at Cristalino Lodge, near the town of Alta Floresta in Mato Grosso state and a short flight from the state capital Cuiabà, makes an excellent combination with the Pantanal – enabling you to see two different and contrasting ecosystems in relative proximity.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: capybara, giant otter, red and blue macaw, tapir, yellow anaconda
  • Where: Amazonas, Brazil

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Brazil’s Natural Highlights

Enjoy a complete Brazilian wildlife experience, visiting three contrasting ecosystems. This trip offers an affordable option to explore the diverse Amazon rainforest, the rarely visited savannah of Chapada dos Guimarães, and the Pantanal wetland, home to some of Brazil’s rarest wildlife, such as jaguar and giant otter.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 11 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,275 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Voyage to the Heart of the Amazon

Voyage into a rarely visited area of the Amazon rainforest far up the Rio Negro where the flora and fauna is largely undisturbed. Staying on board a converted traditional Amazon riverboat, you will take motorised canoes up the smaller creeks to watch and photograph birds and animals.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,725 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Cristalino Jungle Lodge

Voted one of the best hotels in Brazil by National Geographic Traveller, Cristalino Jungle Lodge is an environmental award-winning lodge, located in a private reserve beside Cristalino State Park, accessible only by boat. It is a good option for birdwatchers due to its 50-metre high observation tower.

Uakari Lodge

This unique accommodation is located in a remote setting in Mamirauá Reserve, and consists of seven floating wooden structures connected by a floating walkway. Designed to minimise its environmental impact, the lodge is staffed by the local community and offers a variety of river and rainforest activities.

Recommended cruise vessel:


The motor yacht Tucano is a traditional Amazon riverboat with nine comfortable cabins, each fitted with en suite bathrooms, panoramic windows and air conditioning. With a large observation deck and promenade balcony, you can look for pink river dolphins, squirrel monkeys and macaws as you sail.