I recently traveled through the Peruvian Amazon on our Great Amazon Voyage, and I was grateful for every single item I had stashed in my daypack. As stuffed to the brim as my pack was, all of these items were essential for the days we spent zooming along the mighty river’s banks in search of leaping monkeys and colorful birds.
Medical kit. Every traveler’s kit is personal; mine included antihistamines, hand sanitizer and handiwipes, throat lozenges, anti-itch cream, lip balm and sunblock and an Epipen, in case I got stung by a bee (I’m allergic).
Brimmed hat. In retrospect, I wish I had brought a hat with an all-around brim, not just a baseball cap. The back of my neck got sunburned the first day, when we cruised up the Amazon River on a cloudless morning.
Water bottle. My trusty aluminum water bottle was easy to refill at the on-ship purified water dispensers.
Prescription sunglasses with a strap. This is the first time I traveled with prescription sunglasses, and boy, are they worth every penny. Just to be able to use binoculars without removing my shades and then struggling to see was a huge benefit. Also, the strap is key; when we were zipping along curvy backwater channels, I thought I would have lost my sunglasses if not for the strap.
Mosquito repellent. The little buggers love me; even with repellent on, I still got my fair share of bites, especially during an outing to look for nocturnal wildlife. I could only imagine, however, how much worse it would have been if I hadn’t worn repellent with DEET anytime I was outdoors.
Money in small denominations. Even in the tiniest and most remote village on a hard-to-reach river, villagers accept U.S. dollars when selling handicrafts. I made sure to bring the least-wrinkled, crispest bills I could find, as torn or shabby looking money isn’t well accepted.
Rain jacket and poncho. You can practically set your clock by when it rains in the Amazon. Like mosquito repellent, you should never go outdoors without a lightweight rain jacket and a poncho. Not just one but both. I was thankful to have them as we departed the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve en route back to the ship during a downpour in which the rain came down so hard, it felt like pellets bouncing off my head and shoulders. (I loved it!)
National park pass. The entrance fee for Pacaya-Samiria is included in the cost of our Amazon voyage. The receipt makes for a nice souvenir.
Waterproof camera. This handy little still and video camera was great fun during our piranha fishing expedition. My expedition leader helped me rig it to a bamboo fishing pole, right above the hook. We got some cool video of the piranha.
Learn more about our Amazon adventures.