How to See the Rainforest on a Budget

This post was originally published on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on March 31, 2016. 

Most people hear the word “rainforest” and immediately picture the Brazilian Amazon or the lush jungles of Costa Rica. Not surprisingly, trips to these rainforest destinations are priced accordingly: Everybody knows about them, so trips are in high demand—and that means they can drive high prices.

If “visit a rainforest” is on your bucket list but you’re operating on a small budget, don’t despair. There are plenty of rainforests to see, and many of them reside outside the confines of the most popular (and pricey) tourist destinations. Here are five great options for anyone looking to visit the rainforest on a budget.

Rainforests around the World on a Budget: Amazon Jungle Brazil
Amazon Jungle in Brazil: Photo on Flickr by Nao Iizuka / CC BY 2.0

Rainforests around the World on a Budget

Bolivia

While Brazil gets much of the attention for its Amazonian rainforests, the Amazon basin actually extends across several South American countries, many of which offer cheaper (and less crowded) rainforest tours. Bolivia falls into this category, and it offers two different types of tours: the pampas tours, which wind through a wetland savannah on the edge of the Amazon jungle and offer ample wildlife sightseeing opportunities, and jungle tours, which are a bit pricier but take travelers deeper into the rainforest. Whenever you’re ready for a shower, head out of the rainforest and into vibrant Santa Cruz.

Rainforests around the World on a Budget: Carpinchos or Capybaras in the Amazon Rainforest, Bolivia
Capybaras in the Amazon Rainforest, Bolivia: Photo on Flickr by Kevin Jones / CC BY 2.0

British Columbia

US citizens can cut down on travel time and fees by taking a quick trip to our neighbor to the north. Canada’s British Columbia is home to the 25,000-square-mile Great Bear Rainforest, which is renowned for its wildlife (including, not surprisingly, its large population of bears) and stunning outdoor recreation opportunities. The rainforest isn’t too far from popular Vancouver and Whistler, BC, so you can balance urban and rainforest exploration in the course of the same trip.

Black Bear in the Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada
Black Bear in the Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia: Photo on Flickr by **604*250** / CC BY-NC 2.0

Peru

Peru is gradually building a reputation for itself as an eco-tourism destination, and for good reason: The country is home to the Manu Wilderness, which boasts a larger population of plants and animals than almost anywhere else on the planet. Jaguar, parrot, and giant otter sightings are common, so do not forget the camera. The rainforest isn’t far from Cusco; if you have the time, it’s also worth making the trek to lively and historic Lima.

Suspension Bridge in the Peruvian Rainforest
Suspension Bridge in the Peruvian Rainforest

Puerto Rico

Travelers from the US can save money on passport application or renewal fees by visiting El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico. You’ll also save vacation time: It takes just under four hours and approximately $200 to fly from NYC to San Juan, which is only 30 miles from the rainforest. Once you arrive, walking tours of the tropical rainforest cost just $3 to $5. When you’ve had your fill of the jungle, soak up some rays on any of San Juan’s white sandy beaches.

Rainforests around the World: Treetops of Rainforest
Rainforest on the El Yunque Trail IV in Puerto Rico: Photo on Flickr by Diego Cupolo / CC BY-NC 2.0

Seattle, Washington

Don’t feel like paying for an international flight? Then head to Seattle, which serves as a great jumping-off point to Olympic National Park. Spanning nearly a million acres, the park features unparalleled ecological diversity in the form of glacier-capped mountains, Pacific coastline, 3,500 miles of rivers and streams, and old-growth temperate rainforest. These ecosystems provide homes for over 70 species of mammals, 300 bird species, and 1,100 native plant species. The park is also distinguished as a World Heritage Site and an International Biosophere Reserve.

Sunset Olympic National Park Seattle usa
Sunset in Olympic National Park, Seattle: Photo on Flickr by Andy Simonds / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

About Deevra Norling

Website: http://deevranorling.com

With a love for exploring new places and trying new foods, Deevra finds the world a fascinating place. She is South African by birth but prefers to see herself as a citizen of the world. Deevra is a freelance writer who has contributed to Career Addict and Huffington Post and currently writes for Hipmunk. For more on her writing services email her at [email protected], or connect on Twitter @DeevraNorling.

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One Response

  1. Avatar for Deevra Norling

    go-indochine

    Nice view and landscape. Very inspired for a travel blogger like me. Tks for making this article.

    Reply

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