Get ready to see pristine jungles and hear noises that you’ve never heard before. You’ll interact with people whose traditions come directly from their long relationship with the jungle, and who eat fruit that seems to originate from another planet. You’ll experience the beauty and heat of the jungle during the day, and the sounds of the jungle at night, when the bugs and Amazon singers come out. Going to the Amazon will be the trip of your life and unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, but you’ll need to come prepared. Here’s our guide on how best to prepare for the jungle.
If you plan on doing some trekking, you’re going to need to be in good shape, especially if you’re carrying a heavy pack, so start running and doing some pushups now. The jungle heat and humidity are no joke and will wear you out when hiking during the heat of the day. It’s best to hike early in the morning and in the evening to avoid the oppressive midday jungle heat.
Most retreats and tour operators will offer day trips in the jungle that are less stressful than doing it solo, as they assist with equipment and handle water and lunch for you. These day trips are more than doable, even in the jungle heat. The more difficult treks are multiple day hikes, but even then, your guide will assist with carrying gear and water.
It can’t be stressed enough: the jungle is hot! This means that when you come to the Amazon, you’ll want lightweight clothing that breathes well. Breathability is a big deal because otherwise you really feel suffocated by your clothing. Tank tops are nice; bring plenty of T-shirts, too, because you’ll be going through a lot – you’ll sweat more than you thought possible.
At night, especially during rainstorms, it can get cool. While you don’t want to bring heavy jackets with you – you won’t use them and they’ll be a waste of space – it is a good idea to bring a light jacket, preferably a waterproof one.
It rains a lot in the Amazon, no matter what season you visit in. Because of the constant rain, trails and treks will be very muddy. Don’t bring your favorite shoes, unless you want them covered in mud. It’s best to bring hiking boots of some sort, or you can purchase rain boots in most Amazon cities for only 20 or 30 soles (US$6–9).
We’ll say it again: the Amazon is hot! And you’ll constantly be sweating. Before you arrive, make sure that you’ve been drinking plenty of fluids and are well hydrated. The first couple of days will be difficult while you get acclimatized to the heat, but after that you’ll be fine, just as long as you are constantly drinking water.
If you’re headed to the Amazon to drink ayahuasca with a shaman, you need to prepare weeks in advance by eating la dieta. If you’re going to the jungle and are unsure whether you’ll be drinking ayahuasca, it is important to still follow the diet, just in case mother ayahuasca comes calling to you. At least two weeks before you drink the brew, you should avoid pork, salt, fermented foods such as yogurt and soy sauce, spicy foods, refined sugar and caffeine – also, no sex for those two weeks. It is very important to follow this diet in order to get the most out of your experience.