The Amazon rainforest is huge, and you can enter from several different countries. The easiest countries to enter from are Ecuador and Brazil. To enter from Ecuador , take an international airline to Quito . From Quito travel to the Amazon rainforest, by bus, small plane or private guide. Quito is a unique city, rich in history which should be explored if time permits. To enter from Brazil , you can easily find flights from all over the world to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro . If you have time spend a few days in those cities if you want, especially Rio which is famous for its carnival parade in February. From Sao Paulo or Rio you can get another flight to the Amazon cities, you can choose among many state capital cities like Manaus , Belem , Macapa, Boa Vista , Porto Velho or Rio Branco . Manuas and Belem have the most infrastructures for tourists.
In the Amazon rainforest you can travel in small airplanes (very nice to get an aerial view) between the smaller cities. But on the ground level there is just one way to travel in the Amazon rainforest, which is by boat. The Amazon rainforest is full of rivers, from the smallest one to the biggest one on the planet. The Amazon River is responsible for 25% of the fresh water that goes into the oceans. The Amazon River is so big that in some places you can’t see the other side of the river. Certain areas seem just like an ocean since you have white sand beaches and waves! In some places the rivers edges are 30 miles from each other.
The size of the boats depends on how far you are going. For smaller day-trip travel the usual boat is called “Voadeira” (the best translation it would be “Flyer Boat”) which are small aluminum boats for just a dozen people with stern nautical engines, they are very common, fast and you can go in most places in a voadeira boat.
If you are going to make a longer trip you will use wooden boats that vary in size but sometimes can carry hundreds of passengers. In these boats you can pay for a cabin (on some of the better boats air conditioning is offered, this will make your trip more pleasant through the Amazon rainforest). If you can’t or don’t want to pay for the cabin, you will travel the way the local do, with nets! Yes, for the common Amazon man and woman when they travel for long distances they sleep in nets, they are very used to it since a net is one of the most common things in the region. If you are adventurous enough and like to travel like the local population, this is your way and it’s much cheaper (although the cabin is not expensive).
Longer trips are a very nice way to get to know the region. You can go from Manaus to Santarem (a medium size city) or from Belem to Santarem by boat. These boats have regular schedules and it’s safe. You can also go from Belem to Manaus (and vice-versa ) but then you would spend a week in a boat, to Santarem it will be only a few days and there you have an airport with direct flights to the Amazon region capitals or other cities in Brazil like Brasilia ( capital of the country) or even Rio de Janeiro . On the largest boats you can eat and take small foot tours in the small villages they stop by on the way up the river.
Along with the big boats and the voadeiras, canoes are very common and are the local population’s most important way of transport. Canoes can be used for small trips or to go deep in small rivers. These canoes are hand made by Indians, or local individuals that learn from Indians, using Amazon rainforest wood and although they were originally conceived to be propelled by paddles, nowadays people use small engine propellers. Going deep in a small river branch in a paddle canoe is an incredible experience. You are almost completely covered with the rain forest canopy and you can feel and hear the Amazon rainforest in all its greatness.