When most people think about the jungle, famous places like the Amazon and Costa Rica and Borneo come to mind. Thanks to the media and the proliferation of information these spots have become household names and are destinations for those looking to experience the “best of the best” jungle landscapes. Beyond these names and eco-tourism hotspots though are quieter, less-developed rainforests that beat out the Amazon and Costa Rica in variety. Check out Cover-More’s list of the best Jungle Excursions and skip the tourist-destinations for a unique and personalized experience.

Dominica (Lesser Antilles)

 

Located in the Lesser Antilles and surrounded by tourist-favourite Caribbean islands, Dominica is significantly less developed but perfect for eco-tourists. They flock to this island to bask in the low-key, low-stress, Earth-friendly resorts. These accommodations let visitors explore the jungle’s interior leading to sights like waterfalls, geothermal springs, and island lowlands. The whole island caters to an eco-tourist frame of mind and lets visitors experience the jungle excursions and nature-themed Caribbean without the beach scene.

Darien National Park (Panama)

Darien National Park in Panama is a cultural and environmental destination. You won’t find developed attractions or showy travel guides in this National Park. Instead you’ll be led through the jungle by local jungle guides and tour companies on daylong expeditions to multi-day trips. Rare and unique birds and mammals can be spotted among the dense jungle and low mountain terrain. The jungle is also home to three native tribes who live in small villages that are scattered around the jungle as well: the Kunas, the Embera and the Wounaan. This magnificent example of a jungle ripe for exploration and discovery has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also became a Biosphere Reserve in 1982. Covering an astounding 579,000 hectares, Darien National Park stretches along 90% of the border between Panama and Colombia and is undeniably a very wild place.

Manu Wilderness (Peru)

The Manu Wilderness in Peru is home to thousands of plants, mammals and birds making it one of the most exciting eco-tourism destinations in the world. It is home to more plants and animals than almost any other place on Earth and the forests are as pristine as any other jungle destination. The real reason Manu stands out above the rest is its wildlife. There are jaguars, tapir and primate sightings regularly and other species like macaws and otters make for superb photography for those so inclined to snap shots. Manu has a wildlife centre as well that provides guided tours (a local guide is basically a requirement to navigate this wilderness) to tourists who want an introduction to the Amazon flora and fauna but prefer the remote location to the other busy destinations.

Danum Valley (Malaysia)

Perhaps the most developed of the jungle destinations on this list, the Danum Valley in Malaysia has a number of accommodations that cater to those looking for an upscale experience in between the jungle treks, tours of the rainforest canopy and riverside voyages. The Danum Valley also has quite a few unusual plants and animals that create an almost primeval feeling. Carnivorous pitcher plants rub shoulders with gigantic rafflesia flowers that can weigh up to 6.8kg while flying squirrels, Asian elephants and the rare jungle rhino all run wild within the valley’s conservation area.

While machetes and dense foliage aren’t necessary for a jungle excursion, now you know there are options beyond the most popular destinations. Get away from it all and protect your journey with an adventure travel insurance plan from Cover-More Australia. The jungle is calling so get packed and get going!

Image courtesy of Flickr user Francisco Daum

Disclaimer: Please exercise caution while travelling in Panama and Peru and always be sure to check Smarttraveller’s website for the most up-to-date precautions and travel advice.