We recommend that you bring three bags: one large duffle bag, backpack or suitcase that can hold everything; one 30 litre dry bag that can fit all of your rainforest clothes and supplies (can be packed when leaving home empty inside the larger bag); and a light daypack to carry water, rain jacket, bug spray, sunscreen, etc. If you are a light packer, you may be able to omit the largest piece of luggage.
Using this packing list will assure that you have everything that you need and nothing that you don’t need. We recommend that you pack lightly. There is a 25 lb weight limit for the one piece of luggage and your light backpack you can take on the small plane into the rainforest.
The following packing list can be a useful check-off document as you place items into your luggage. Remember to pack lightly and only what you need.
You should carry the following document copies with you. Please note the copies we require in addition to this.
- A photocopy of the photo page of your passport
- Copy of travelers insurance
- Copy of personal health insurance information
- Airline tickets
- A copy of yellow fever immunization card is necessary only if you are entering Ecuador from any country with active yellow fever
- Money-belt or vest pouch for money, documents, etc
Medical and Hygiene Supplies
Also see “Staying Healthy” and “Mosquito Protection Guide”
- Sun protection cream (with insect repellent is also available)
- Mosquito repellent (more info below) purchased in cream and/or spray forms (so protection can be applied to both skin and clothing). While products with the toxic chemical DEET are most effective, some all-natural varieties can also be effective.
- “After Bite” (itch eraser) available at outdoors store and some pharmacies. Frankinsense essential oil is also effective.
- Personal hygiene supplies – biodegradable soap and shampoo please. Dr Brauners is a viable option.
Clothing for the Rainforest
- Three pairs of lightweight, loose fitting, quick dry pants – synthetic work best. (no jeans)
- Five light-weight, long-sleeved synthetic or cotton-blend shirts
- Tank or t-shirts
- Seven pair of socks and underwear (quick dry if possible)
- Two sports bras
- Light sweater or fleece for evening
- Bathing suit
- Strap-on sandals (Tevas, Keens) * (mostly for swimming)
- Sun hat
- Two bandanas, headbands or neck scarves
- Leisure lightweight clothes for downtime (tights or sweat pants)
- Sarong for swimming and bathing (optional)
- Daypack or mini-backpack
- Separate lightweight 20 litre dry sack for laundry
- Two small towels (quick dry is essential)
- Light rain jacket
- Sunglasses (strap may be useful)
- Flashlight and extra batteries – headlamps work best
- Large plastic garbage bag and zip-lock bags to keep things dry and to put wet clothes into, etc.
- Journal and pen/pencil
- Swim wrap
- Personal water bottle
- Handiwipes or small packages of tissues (optional)
- Binoculars (optional)
- Light snacks such as energy bars or trail mix (optional)
- Small pocket knife (optional)
- Ear plugs (essential)
- small thermarest (inflatable)
- seat pad (optional)
In addition, have one complete set of clean clothes for your trip out of the rainforest in a separate plastic bag. We will do laundry in Banos as soon as we get there. Don’t forget clothing for travel other than in the rainforest. You can leave your extra bags securely at the airport.
*Rubber boots will be provided for you in the rainforest and will be worn throughout the time you are there. Mosquito netting and bedding will be provided for sleeping.
*You can also bring an old pair of tennis shoes/runners for camp which gives you a chance to get out of your rubber boots and still keep your feet covered.
While in the rainforest, care must be taken to keep your clothes and belongings as dry as possible. Care is given to keep luggage dry especially when traveling by canoe but we recommend that you pack all your belongings in a dry bag. Books, documents and journals are best packed in zip-lock bags as additional protection.
Keep in mind that the less we introduce into the jungle, the better. Biodegradable and organic is essential. We will be bathing in the river.
We will be carrying in large containers of bottled water from which you can fill your individual water bottles. We will also be taking Steripens to sterilize our water using UV (www.steripen.com). There will be coffee served in the morning. If you want to bring tea to your liking or powdered drink mix (like Emergen C), feel free. That will be your individual responsibility. For the courageous individuals in the group, there is an endless supply of Chi Cha, the local drink, for hydration.
Medical and Health Preparations
In countries like Ecuador, diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and hepatitis can be contracted. However, if the necessary preventative steps are taken, these illnesses can be successfully avoided. This information is provided to keep you safe and healthy during the trip. Please review this guide for detailed healthcare information and consult with your doctor for the approach that is best for you. If you are committed to homeopathic or herbal medicines, information on these alternatives is also included.
Malaria: The rainforest region we will be visiting has very little to no malaria. However, the decision to take preventative medicine is an individual decision. Prescription Malarone has proven most effective for malaria, China is a homeopathic option and Artemisia (Wormwood) is a good herbal option.
Immunizations: No immunizations are required for entry into Ecuador unless you are entering from an endemic area. Yellow fever immunization is required if you are passing through any other South American country on your way to Ecuador (even when you are only in an airport) or if you are entering Ecuador from an endemic area. The Center for Disease Control has an extensive website with travel related information at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm. Your Ecuadorian consulate can also advise you on current requirements.
Please consult your healthcare professional or local travel clinic for more information on these topics and to meet your specific needs. It is generally recommended to have an updated Hep A, Hep B, and Tetanus vaccination. If you choose to get a typhoid vaccination we recommend taking it orally for less side effects.
The first two days and the last two days of the trip are at fairly high altitudes. The rest of the trip is at low altitude levels.
A small percentage of travelers experience strong altitude effects when arriving in Quito (about 9,000 ft). These can include headache, nausea, dizziness and fatigue, although individual reactions are highly variable. Drinking coca tea (mate de coca) can counter the effects of high altitude and renew your energy. It is a natural alternative available in many places in Quito. Coca can be used in a homeopathic preparation as well.
For intestinal protection, two Pepto Bismol tablets can be taken before each meal. Cinnamon bark and peony – take four capsules before each meal throughout the trip – can have the same effect.
To protect against unwanted bacteria and parasites in the intestines, take two capsules daily before eating of Acidophilus and Bifidus and one capsule of Kyolic garlic. Begin this regime 1 week before departure and continue throughout the trip. We recommend Traveler’s Probiotic by New Roots.
Surprisingly, mosquitos where we visit do not swarm in large numbers. Almost all commercial insect repellents contain Deet (N,N – diethylm – toluamide) which is an effective insect repellent yet toxic. It is not necessary to have a repellant with more than 30% Deet. Travelers have successfully used Herbal Armor made by All Terrain, Buzz Away made by Quantum, and Herbal Insect Repellent, made by All Around the World, all containing some combination of citronella, eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, cedar, lavender, and other essential oils.
If you wish, your rainforest clothes (except for Goretex) can be washed before packing with a product that contains Permethrin (synthetic form of chrysanthemums). The affects remain on clothing for several washes and is available on-line or at your local outdoor store or Foxglove on Salt Spring Island.