The Amazon: The Holy Grail of Kayakers

Unless you’re from Brazil or Peru, you probably have—like I until recently had—the idea that the Amazon is a vast wilderness, free of humans and filled with tropical rainforest with toucans, monkeys, jaguars, and the river itself is dangerous to swim in because of the caymans, anacondas and of course the piranhas.
Or you may have a more bleak idea of a vast rainforest that is being destroyed day by day via illegal logging and environmentally disastrous practises such as slash-and-burn agriculture to feed the multi-national fast food giants like MacDonald’s and Burger King.
Well, while neither of those images is entirely wrong they are also not entirely right. The region of the Amazon is roughly the size of Europe and, not unlike Europe, there are dramatically different regional differences. It’s easily possible to find both remote wildernesses and urban sprawl destroyed the rainforest.
The former is what makes the region so special, the latter is why you’ll need to take extreme care in not leaving any footprints when you visit. And visiting is exactly what you’ll need to do in order to have the ultimate kayaking experience!
The Amazon—both the river and the region—are such famous places that there’s little that really needs to be said about them that people don’t know, seemingly from birth. The region is the world’s largest rainforest and the river is the world’s largest (the longest is the Nile, but by volume of water the it’s the Amazon in first place). Much of the region is protected—and much more still needs to be!—so for most people who are going on a kayaking holiday it will probably have to be organised by local guides. For more independent-minded travellers this can sound like a drawback, but considering the delicate ecosystem and the occasionally dangerous wildlife, it’s absolutely necessary and the experience is so incredible you’re hardly likely to mind.
Although the river is also accessible via Peru, the most common and certainly easiest option is to fly in to Brazil. The country itself is massive but from any of the major costal cities you can find flights to the Amazon and there be put in touch with local outfitters.
It’s not the easiest place to go kayaking but it’s absolutely one that you will never forget and that will stay with you for the rest of your life.