WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL TO THE AMAZON?
The Amazon essentially has two seasons: the wet season and the dry season. Both offer rich rewards, fabulous sites, and amazing opportunities to view plant and animal life. The Amazon Basin is as rich, lush, and green as it is because it gets an abundance of rain (3.6m a year on average). In a typical year, that totals 200 rainy days, which means that there will be days of heavy rain even in the dry season. Also, it is hot in the Amazon any time of year. Two key points to remember as you choose between the Amazon in the wet season or dry season: there will be some rain whichever season you choose, and you will see spectacular wildlife and plant life whether you go in the wet or dry season. All the rest is in the details.
ABOUT THE WET SEASON:
The wet season runs from November through May, which is summer and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. It is the cooler and wetter season, but keep in mind that the jungle gets only a little more than half (60%) of its total rainfall during the wet season. During this time the average temperature is 30˚C, 12 degrees cooler than in the dry season. There are great benefits to traveling at this time of year. Perhaps most important is that the rivers and streams are about 7m higher, meaning that every river, creek, and lake is navigable. You will get to explore more of the waterways of Amazonia and will have access to plant life and wildlife areas that you might miss during the dry season. Also, those extra 7m put travellers much closer to the jungle canopy, where monkeys play and beautiful Amazon birds like to roost. However, you are very likely to see many more mammals during the dry season. The increased navigability by water has a flip side though. Areas to walk and hike on are limited during the wet season, and if you do find usable hiking trails, there will be more mosquitoes than in the dry season. Fishing is more limited during these months too, but you still have close to a 50% chance to get out your rod and reel and make a catch.
ABOUT THE DRY SEASON:
The dry season in Amazonia coincides with winter in the Southern Hemisphere (from June to October). This is the warmer season, with temperatures averaging about 37˚C. Despite its name, the dry season still gets some heavy rains. A key difference is that trails and jungle paths that are flooded from November to May are now easily accessible, allowing groups to explore deep into the jungle (accompanied by fewer mosquitoes than during the wet season). The flip side of that, however, is that water levels are about 7m lower from June to October, which means that many of the creeks and lakes that we visit during the wet season are inaccessible. Lower water levels, however, can be a bonus in another way. During these months, if you go fishing you are 100 percent guaranteed to catch a piranha. And while the lower river levels mean that you are farther from the birds that enjoy the jungle canopy, you will have the chance to see dozens of species of migratory birds in flight, something you would completely miss during the wet season.
If seeing the glorious flooded forest and getting close-up looks at lots of birds and mammals (and enjoying a slightly cooler temperature) sounds attractive, then the wet season might be the best choice. (Remember: despite its name it only gets about 10% more rain than the dry season). If jungle hikes, seeing exotic migratory birds perch on trees as they pass through Amazonia, seeing monkeys and other mammals, and going on great fishing expeditions top your list, you might be happier choosing the hotter, less rainy dry season. Perhaps the best solution of all: choose one, and we hope that you will like it so much that you may want to return to experience the other season in the Amazon as well.
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