5 Things You MUST Know Before Hiking In The Amazon

Traveler April 11, 2014 0 Safety

Image Source: Daveness_98 via Flickr

The Amazon rain forest encompasses over a billion acres, including some parts of Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela. The enormity and density of the jungle, its huge amount of rainfall (over nine feet every year), and its wide range of dangerous animals (boa constrictors, piranhas, poisonous arrow frogs and jaguars) can make surviving while hiking in the Amazon very difficult. 

Even when you have a partner, you need to know certain things to make sure you’re safe and enjoy hiking in this region. Although there are many hiking trails which are easy to follow and survive, you still need to focus on specific aspects. Some of these have been discussed below.

Never Panic

Whatever you come across while hiking in the Amazon, you don’t need to panic. You should keep your nerves steady. In case you’re separated from other hikers, your basic instinct might be to panic. This can exhaust your body and even increase its need for food and water.

Whether you come across an animal or get tired, you need to get hold of yourself. It is also important to take care of your supplies. In case you’re out of water, food, waterproof materials, knives, blankets, first aid supplies or other such things, you should keep looking for water and food sources.

Shoes & Clothing

While hiking in the Amazon, you need to keep your skin covered. You should cover your face and roll down your sleeves to avoid insect bites and scratches. It is better to wear pants instead of shorts. Moreover, you should treat your wounds immediately. Similarly, you should wear proper hiking and waterproof boots.

If your shoes are not waterproof or started wearing out, you should wrap your feet in proper-size plastic bags You should never wear wet socks. Moisture can lead to tissue breakdown, and even leave your feet vulnerable to fungus or other such infections.

Authorities advise applying duct tape or moleskin to hot spots. It is also better to use foot powders or creams to treat bacterial and fungal infections. You should completely cover any blisters, and drain them with a sterilized needle if necessary.

Obtain Water

When you’re hiking in the Amazon, it is very important to obtain water. You need to look for sources of water in the jungle. Dense masses of insects may indicate a nearby water source. It is also worth mentioning that bees build their hives within a couple miles from a body of water. Similarly, flies always stay within 300 feet of water. If it’s possible, you should boil the water you find. You should also carry some water purification tablets with you.

Leave a Trail

If you’re separated from your fellow travelers, it can be a major problem. Therefore, you should always leave a trail. When you’re hiking through the Amazon, you should create some markers from torn clothing, reflective objects or brightly colored objects you can find. You should not use anything edible for creating a trail. Edible things may be consumed by animals.

You should never head in a straight line. It is important to look for gaps in the rain forest, and try to conserve your energy by making steady and slow progress. Find a long stick and carry it with you to clear foliage from the path. You should never grab plants or vines while walking up any slopes. Many plants in the rainforest emit irritants, and may have thorns.

Food & Shelter

If you’re planning to stay overnight or camp, building a shelter will be your most important consideration. You should use some materials you can find to protect yourself from flooding, heavy rains, poisonous spiders, snakes and insects. It is always better to take shelter on the highest possible ground, and build fires to scare away predators. It will also help you send signals for help.

In order to avoid any risk of accidental poisoning, you should eat fruits, berries, nuts and vegetables with which you’re completely familiar. You should also look for squash, coconuts, peanuts, cucumber, citrus fruits and cashews. You can easily find them in the Amazon. If you catch fish from a river or fruit from nearby trees, you should not hoard them, as they can attract animals or spoil quickly because of the tropical humidity and heat.

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