The trees are a main attraction in the rainforests, and viewing them from below is no longer enough for adventurous tourists. In the South American rain forest, entrepreneurial innovativeness has led to the creation of a number of travel sites and companies specialized in tropical tree climbing.
Amazon Tree Climbing was founded in 2006. This company has developed techniques from rock climbing further and applied them to tree climbing. It is based in Manaus and operates on the Negro and other nearby rivers. Services are offered to closed groups of up to six people. The company refers to environmental objectives for this choice of operational model, as the proprietors believe that small groups causes less impact on the environment and harmonize better with the culture of the places visited. On all trips the tour leader follows rigid safety protocols according to the Brazilian Adventure Tourism Standards.
The trees used for climbing are previously inspected and the climb sites are carefully chosen. As noted by the company, it opts for primary forest area, which gives a better chance of observing the wildlife in its natural habitat.
Services include multilingual guides with ample international experience and a solid cultural background, and top quality equipment. Their wish is to share the magic and beauty of the Amazon forest with their guests, so that they may understand and respect this fragile ecosystem. Trips varying from one day to customized expeditions on the Amazonian rivers are offered. The company educates visitors on this philosophy. To underline the sustainability issue further, the company is in alliances with Leave No Trace – Center for Outdoor Ethics, Sustainable Travel International and other eco-friendly groups.
The climate in the Amazon is harsh – hot and humid. The environmental degradation is very severe, and debates have been raised as to whether touristic activities such as tree climbing can contribute to ecological loss and increased erosion or whether the activity is beneficial because it raises an awareness of the need for protection.
No further organization is observed to be in place for the integration of the climbing tourism in the region’s more general environmental agenda.