Top Tropical Rainforest Adventures

  • Laurel Angrist
  • 7 May 2012

This article was first published by our friends at Much Better Adventures, who have agreed to its republication here. View the original article on their Grapevine blog.

Visiting a rainforest is a unique nature experience. During the day, these unique biomes burst with a busy buzz and bright flashes of colour. At night, the air comes alive with the shrieks and calls of the forest’s many nocturnal creatures. Cicadas drone, bats flap beneath the canopy, a monkey howls in the distance.

Amidst all this natural beauty, it’s important to tread lightly. Remember that rainforests today cover just six percent of the earth, yet they are home to an estimated 40 to 75 percent of all the world’s plants and animals, including many still just being discovered. Sadly, despite efforts to protect them, many habitats are continue to be endangered by logging and overdevelopment.

Tropical rainforest

The tropical rainforest habitat is home to between 40 to 75 percent of the world’s plants and animals. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Tatters

Well-planned ecotourism is one key to rainforests’ continued survival. It places value on preservation of nature as a commercial resource. Reputable tour outfits offer employment opportunities for locals as leaders and wildlife guides, enabling them to earn their money through sustainable and environmentally responsible forms of income. Travellers’ passion for traditional culture encourages locals to continue ancient forest-friendly practices.

Before your next escape to the rainforest, do some research in advance. The right tour operator and a great local guide can help you spot wildlife and make the most of any adventure.

Get Up Close to the Real Rainforest in Corcovado, Costa Rica

Away from the crowds of much-visited Monteverde, another sort of park awaits visitors in Costa Rica. National Geographic once labelled Corcovado National Park as “the most biologically intense place on earth,” and you’d be hard pressed to prove them wrong. Accessible via Puerto Jimenez along the Osa Penninsula, the  425-square-kilometre park is one of the last places to spot jaguars in Central America. It is also home to endangered species such as the Baird’s tapir, Harpy eagle, ocelots and more. Staying overnight in the park is strongly recommended, possible in a basic, budget and rustic eco-lodge or one of several ranger stations.

Bolaven Plateau, Champasak, Southern Laos

The Bolaven Plateau in the Champasak Province of southern Laos is known for its many scenic waterfalls. Photo courtesy of Miranda Siu

Climb High in the Champasak Province of Laos

Well known for its collection of ancient Khmer ruins, Champasak Province of southern Laos contains a wealth of natural thrills in the form of beautiful jungles and raging waterfalls. Wildlife enthusiasts can try to spot rare and endangered species like yellow-cheeked gibbons, Asian elephants and Irrawaddy dolphins, while other adventures await thrill seekers who head high above the treetops. Two– and three-day zip line treks allow travellers to unleash their inner Tarzan in the canopy of this semi-evergreen forest.

Become Better Acquainted with the Jungle in Borneo

The tropical island of Borneo is home to some of the world’s oldest rainforest. As a nature lover’s paradise, it is also one of the last natural habitats for endangered animals such as the Bornean orangutan, Clouded leopard and several native bat species. Guided trips can be booked from cities such as Kota Kinabalu or Sandakan on the Malaysian side, or Banjarmasin on the Indonesia side.  In addition to being thrilling, night-time jungle treks are probably the best way to spot nocturnal wildlife.

Encounter a City Lost in the Jungles of Colombia

The dense jungles that constitute Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains are the historic domain of the early Tayrona civilisation. Among the ancient chiefdom’s best known archaeological sites is Ciudad Perdida (the “Lost City”), accessible via a six-day guided trek through a dense tropical forest. Hikers depart from Santa Marta, the city along Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The trek includes lots of opportunities to learn about the area’s indigenous people – descendants of the Tayrona – and plenty of time for spotting wildlife such as tapirs, deer and endemic hummingbirds.

Observe Life in the Amazing Amazon of Brazil

Capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, the city of Manaus is a popular point of departure for ecotourists visiting the Amazon region.  From this gateway city, visitors can easily arrange regional cruises that visit remote communities along the Amazon River or schedule boat transfers to jungle lodges and resorts with river-view bungalows. The Brazilian Amazon famously encompasses 33 percent of all the world’s surviving tropical rainforests and its biodiversity is unparalleled. One in five of the world’s fish species is found in its waters, while the jungle itself boasts 2.5 million recorded insect species and is home to a wide collection of endangered animals like spider monkeys, jaguars and poison dart frogs. Enjoy the best of the river and the surrounding rainforest.

Manaus, Brazil, is a gateway to the Amazon region

The port city of Manaus, Brazil, is a gateway to the incredible Amazon region. Photo by Rodolpho Emanuel

Revel in the Natural Beauty of Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest

Extending for over 1,000 kilometres, Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park is the largest protected area of high-altitude montane rainforest in Africa. Nestled in the heart of one of the continent’s most biodiverse regions – the Albertine Rift – Nyungwe boasts an exotic collection of rare orchids and endemic birds, as well as a large concentration of primates. Anyone looking to track chimps, however, will need to spend some time here. For the best chance at sighting mankind’s closest relative, consider booking a guided trip in the forests of Nyungwe.

To learn more about about jungle adventures on The Travel Word, read about travellers’ hiking and trekking experiences in some of the planet’s most exciting jungles.


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Laurel Angrist

A native New Yorker, Laurel Angrist is a well-practiced escape artist whose passion for travel and the outdoors has led her to some truly offbeat and interesting places. Outside her work as media consultant for the WHL Group and wordster-in-chief of The Travel Word, Laurel is a writer specialising in stories about tourism, culture and the environment, and is also pursuing a masters in Library Studies at the City University of New York. Visit her website: www.laurelangrist.com.
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adventure travel, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, ecotours, forests & jungles, Laos, Malaysia, RTFeat, Rwanda, top five, waterfalls, whl.travel,

3 Responses to “Top Tropical Rainforest Adventures”

  1. Thanks for posting these awesome pictures, that waterfall blows me away!

  2. Lee Sheridan says:

    Those waterfalls in southern Laos are amazing – great photo!

  3. Jessica says:

    Wonderful piece, seeing and feeling the green energy from the rainforest pictures is equally exhilarating! Thanks Laurel 🙂

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