The idea of traveling to a rainforest has always intrigued those who love to mingle with the great outdoors. With dense vegetation, sparse sunlight, all kind of creatures and of course numerous hiking trails, rainforests around the world welcome visitors with open hands.
If you are the more adventurous traveler and love to get in touch with Mother Nature, why not enjoy your next vacation in a rainforest? If you think all rainforests are dangerous, you are wrong. There are a couple of rainforests situated in different parts of the world that are suitable for first time visitors in terms of terrain, climate, safety and wildlife.
The destinations below are classified on the basis of suitability for first time visitors, occasional visitors and the more frequent visitors. They are also marked on the basis of the level of safety they provide to the visitors.
First Time Visitors
If you are planning on visiting a rainforest for the first, try Australia, Belize or Costa Rica. The rainforests in these countries blend in seamlessly with the surroundings, enabling you to enjoy your hike through the forests in addition to visiting other areas nearby.
Cape York Peninsula and Townsville are two areas in Australia where you will likely find rainforests. Situated on dry land, these rainforests are located close to alluring beaches which offer some of the best underwater coral breeding grounds anywhere in the world. Though you may not get to see a lot of wildlife, there’s a fair chance you will see a lot of reptiles, frogs, birds and butterflies.
If many of you do not know where Belize is, here’s some useful information about the place. Belize is located near Mexico in Central America. Occupying a prime position by the Caribbean Coast, the country is a haven for those who love eco friendly rainforests.
Costa Rica is the best place to start off if you are totally inexperienced and could use a guide to help you out. Filled with small parks, experienced guides, and all ranges of accommodation ranging from huts to posh luxurious lodges, the country is frequented by tourists from all over the world who scrounge the rainforests. Apart from spending your day hiking through the forests, you can also indulge in white water river rafting, surfing and visiting volcanoes.
If you have visited a couple of rainforests but still feel you need to wait a little before entering the real thing, why not visit the rainforests in Hawaii or Puerto Rico? The rainforests in these destinations are less perilous with sparse wildlife.
Much of Puerto Rico’s rainforests have been completely cleared to make room for towns and cities; and what remains as the only big rainforest in the country is the one present in the El Yunque National Park. Housing about 500 varieties of trees, the park also offers a number of hiking trails that wind throughout the forest providing occasional glimpses of wildlife.
The rainforests in Hawaii are more frequented for their beaches rather than for wildlife spotting. The forests end at spectacular beaches which course the coastline and the idea of having a refreshing bath after a daylong hike is too tempting to leave out. Be sure to visit the rainforest located in the island of Kauai in the Napali Coast which is famous for its tremendous cliffs, large waterfalls and coastal location.
For the more frequent visitors who have visited countless number of rainforests around the world and are pretty experienced to tackle the more dangerous ones, the forests in South Africa, Brazil, Panama, Peru, Malaysia and Thailand pose a real challenge.
Brazil stands first in this group in terms of size and diversity. Offering the world’s largest rainforest in addition to the world’s largest river, the Amazon, the country has much more to offer visitors than just a visit to the forest.
Cruises are very popular in Brazil and you may find yourself cruising the Amazon River on one of your visits to the forests. Wildlife is at its best here as you can see plenty of animals at the riverbeds, either bathing in the shivering cold water or quenching their thirst.
If you happen to choose South Africa as your destination, you can visit the rainforests located in Gabon and Madagascar. Madagascar is extremely diverse in terms of plant and animal life and boasts of housing the best wildlife on earth. Gabon on the other hand is an eco tourist area and has numerous parks that are comparatively safer.
Though both locations are slightly off beat in terms of locality, tourism and level of quality, they do have their share of visitors. Wildlife safaris are very famous in South Africa and while you are at it, you may arrange to go on a safari through the forests and the surrounding reserves.
Located in Central America, the country of Panama is more than just a giant canal to cruise through. There are a total of 15 national parks scattered all over the country which house over 10000 species of plants in addition to a variety of wildlife.
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, one of the major rainforest research facilities in the world has its base in the Barro Colorado Island in the country. Along with a day full of hiking through the forests, you can also surf along the coast and dive into the alluring waters of the Canal which has some really spectacular diving locations.
Peru has arguably some of the most excellent rainforests in the entire world along with world renowned research facilities that have set up their base here. These include the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER) situated in the Amazon Basin near Iquitos and Manu Lodge, which is situated in the Manu National Park.
With high mountains bordering the forests, Peru is also home to the legendary city of Machu Picchu which is standing witness to the diminished Inca civilization.
Visit some of the oldest rainforests in the peninsular region of Malaysia. Also located in the island of Borneo, these forests are what remain of the rainforests in Malaysia, with logging and clearing of trees becoming a daily activity to make room for more cities. While you are in Borneo, you are likely to spot a healthy number of pygmy elephants, orangutans, monkeys and less interesting of all, leeches.