Introduction to the Amazon
The real stuff of adventure and somewhere that truly stirs the imagination, the very mention of the Amazon brings to the mind’s eye images of the exotic; a sleek jaguar padding through dense undergrowth, a giant black caiman slipping silently through the still waters of a tranquil lagoon, troops of monkeys leaping through the emerald canopy and all to the accompaniment of the dramatic sounds of the rainforest.
A chance to experience the spirit of the Amazon, however fleetingly, is an opportunity not to be missed. There is something very special about being in the depths of the rainforest: it affords a time to reconnect with the natural world in a way that simply isn’t possible in the ‘tamed’ environments that we more commonly have access to.
To the inhabitants of the forest, time has no meaning — life is measured by an entirely different rhythm, one to which you will find yourself willingly adapting as everyday worries and woes fall away.
Although the Amazon basin is the most biodiverse region on earth, accounting as it does for more than one in ten known species and constituting the largest collection of living plants and animals in the world, it is under great pressure. The indigenous communities to whom the forest is home are increasingly at odds with those that would take it away from them: logging, oil exploration and mining are constant threats to the lungs of the planet.
And so your visit matters — as the outside world closes in on an ancient way of life, ecotourism offers local indigenous communities a sound economic alternative to more detrimental development while at the same time allowing them to continue with their all-important stewardship of the forest.
Ishpingo Tours and the Amazon
The Amazon is not a zoo and spotting the highly varied wildlife is, therefore, an art. This is why we hold the quality of your guide to be so important.
A good guide will be able to show you things that you could easily miss on your own — a poor guide could well spoil your trip. Our lodge partners only use licenced and qualified bilingual naturalist guides alongside trained local guides.
All of our partner lodges are considered to be high-end with excellent facilities and are situated in areas of the rainforest renowned for their pristine location and biodiversity. We avoid working with operators that may cut corners with practices that are not ecologically sound.
In order to help protect the Ecuadorian Amazon and alleviate pressure on this fragile ecosystem, Ishpingo Tours partners only with those operators who run on genuine ecotourism lines. We look at such things as links with local communities, size of groups, operational practices and environmental impacts.
When to Come
Being the rainforest, one thing that you can be sure of is rain — quite a lot of it. April to July is generally considered the wettest months while August and then December to March the driest. Rain in the afternoon and evenings is, however, a year-round experience. The temperature, although a generally warm and humid 25° C/77° F, can drop surprisingly on a damp, jungle night and so a sweater or light jacket is necessary. If whitewater rafting is your thing, then come in the wetter season as river levels can sometimes drop too low to be navigable in the dry season.
What to Bring
The best footware to explore the jungle are, in fact, rubber boots. All of our lodges have a supply of rubber boots in the most common sizes — those with larger feet or special foot needs are encouraged to bring their favourite rubber boots.
Rain ponchos are also provided. As mentioned above, evening temperatures can sometimes drop and feel surprisingly chilly so, again, a sweater or light jacket should be included in your packing list.