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Preparing for Your Amazon Jungle Adventure: What to Expect and How to Prepare

Danger lurks everywhere. Level 3 travel advisories say to reconsider your trip. There are warnings of kidnapping, pickpocketing, and robbery…. and that’s just Bogota. In the rainforest, the hazards are not as bad, just your typical poisonous snakes and spiders, sickening bacteria, and drug traffickers. This trip will be a great Amazon jungle adventure!

Three books about the Amazon jungle adventure.
Uncontacted tribes. Lonely Planet writes a trusted guidebook. The Unconquered and Fresh Banana Leaves explain the indigenous.

The first three days in Bogata, the capital, will be spent visiting museums and markets, going on bike and ghost tours, and consuming local food and drink. These will be the days to be mindful of location, avoid protesting crowds, and stay off the streets at night. Don’t wear fancy clothes or jewelry, limit phone or camera use, and keep a small decoy roll of cash ready to hand over if assaulted.

Medications for the Amazon.
Sorry to be so negative. Anti-bacteria, anti-maleria, anti-yellow fever, anti-diarrhea, anti-itch.

Leaving the city by taking a flight to Leticia, a staffer from the Reserva Natural Palmari will be the guide for an eight-day quest, starting with a five-hour boat ride about 10 miles down the Amazon River and 45 miles up Javary River, through Brazilian customs and into the depths of the Amazonian ecosystem. Here will be the home to pink river dolphins, monkeys galore, and your basic wildlife extravaganza! There are three indigenous tribes to visit, a 3-night backpacking/kayaking trip, and swimming with piranhas. The reserve provides a local guide, plenty of homemade bug spray, and, hopefully, an English translator.

Map of rivers in the Amazon.
The 5-hour route. From Leticia in Colombia, down the Amazon, up the Javary, to Natural Reserva Palmari.

After surviving all of this, the last four days will be in complete contrast by staying in Cartagena at a safe all-inclusive resort on the Caribbean coast. Sunny and luxurious, with plenty of time to write blog posts!

Gear for the trip laid out.
Traveling light. Taking only what fits in a carry-on size backpack and leaving room for souvenirs.

Here is a vaccine list and packing list for the trip. It will be packing like a backpacker for only carry-on luggage.

Vaccine List

Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Yellow fever , Typhoid, Malaria (carrying pills), Measles , Shingles, Influenza, COVID booster

Packing List


Waterproof light jacket

Long sleeve shirts (2)

Short sleeve shirts (4)

Quick dry long pant

Quick dry short pants (3)

Swim suit

Wool socks (2 pairs)

Lightweight hiking shoes

Hiking sandals



Neck pillow


Headlight, Flashlight



Eye covers/earplugs

Waterproof day pack w/Whistle

Water bottle

Sunglass gaiters


Reef safe sunscreen



Nail clippers


First Aid

Insect repellent – 30% DEET wipes (Ben’s)

Spray bottles

Water purification tablets 

Anti-diarrhea Immodium

Laxative Metamucil

Acetaminophen & Ibuprofen

After Bite

Waterproof bandaids


Eye drops








Camera, spare battery, sd card, card reader

Battery backup

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Hi. We are Paul and Cindy, two biologists, fit and over 50, who enjoy exploring, photographing, and blogging about our outdoor travel. Our journey is to find outdoor activities that are away from crowds, kind to nature, and authentic. We carry backpacks, stay in clean accommodations, and feel that good food is as important as good friends.

The African savanna with three acacia trees.
Amazon Jungle
Costa Rica

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