How to Explore a Rainforest

How to Explore a Rainforest

BY Erin De Santiago ON

Rainforest activities range from mild to wild, and can include everything from leisurely strolls to adventurous activities like ziplines and waterfall rappelling. Here are some of the ways you can explore the rainforest on your next adventure.

Wildlife Spotting

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Skip the zoo and head to a rainforest, where you can see a number of the world’s most interesting animals. Depending on the region, your wildlife spotting opportunities might vary. However,  there is no shortage of animals in whichever rainforest region you choose, as rainforests are home to more than half of the world’s animal population. In Belize, you can explore the world’s first jaguar preserve, or visit an ethical orangutan sanctuary in Southeast Asia.

Head to one of Africa’s rainforest regions and venture out on a whole different level of excitement for wildlife spotting opportunities. If you want to see a mountain gorilla in the wild, you’ll want to book a gorilla trekking adventure in the rainforests of somewhere like Uganda or Rwanda. Be advised, you may be climbing through thick forests on steep mountain hillsides, which can be made even more difficult during the rainy season.

Bird Watching

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Because the rainforest is home to a majority of the world’s wildlife, bird watchers can spend their days searching for some of the world’s most rare and exotic birds. You can see a large numbers of macaws at clay licks in Peru or even spot a toucan while eating breakfast on the patio restaurant at your hotel in Belize.

Visit Maya Temples

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In countries like Belize and Guatemala, you’ll find a number of Maya temples hidden within the canopy of the country’s tropical rainforest. Explore legendary sites like Xunantunich or the temple at Caracol, the tallest structure in Belize, and then head to Guatemala to the even more famous Maya site of Tikal.

Get Out on the Water

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In many rainforest destinations, you can rent a kayak or canoe and paddle down a river in the middle of the forest. It’s a peaceful way to explore the rainforest at your leisure. You are likely to hear and see different animals and birds on your journey as well.

In the Amazon, you can explore the rainforest by luxury river cruise for a more laid back option. Ships like the Delfin I have only four suites, two of which even have whirlpools on your veranda.

Waterfall Rappelling

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Waterfall rappelling is an adventure sport available in a number of rainforest destinations, including Costa Rica, Belize and even Hawaii. In some destinations, you may even be able to combine waterfall rappelling with another adventure activity like whitewater rafting or ziplining.

Learn About Medicinal Plants in the Rainforest

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Rainforests are an important source of medicinal plants. It’s said that 70% of the plants with anticancer properties exist only in the Amazon. You can tour some of the areas to learn about what types of plants are found here and what ailments they are used to treat.

Go Camping

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For a more immersive experience, forego the resort lodging and try your hand at camping in the rainforest. In some cases, you don’t even have to sacrifice modern conveniences, as luxury, high-end camping adventures are popping up all over.


Credit: Ksenia Ragozina/Shutterstock

Ziplining is one of the most popular ways to explore the rainforest canopy. This will take you high above the forest floor and let you experience the thrill of zooming through the forest and taking in some incredible views. For the ultimate in adrenaline-pumping ziplines, head to Puerto Rico, where you can zipline high above the mountains on the longest zipline in the Americas.

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