The Amazon rain forest encompasses more than a billion acres, including parts of Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru. The denseness and enormity of the jungle, its massive amount of rainfall (up to 9 feet each year) and its variety of dangerous animals -- piranhas, boa constrictors, jaguars and poisonous arrow frogs -- can make surviving alone or even with a partner challenging. Although making it out of the rain forest alive requires specific skills and knowledge, in any survival situation you must keep five goals in mind: water and food; shelter; fire; signaling; and first aid.

Steady your nerves, according to the tourism website Travel Overseas. If you’re separated from your fellow travelers or you’ve survived a plane crash, your first instinct might be to panic. Panic exhausts the body and exponentially increases its need for water and food. Sit quietly for a while to gather your thoughts and take inventory of your supplies. If you survived a plane crash, search the wreckage for potable water, fresh food, a knife, waterproof materials, blankets, first-aid supplies and any other gear that might help you survive.

Keep your skin covered. Roll down your sleeves and cover your face as much as you can to avoid scratches and insect bites. Wear pants instead of shorts. Treat any wounds immediately and as properly as possible.

Obtain water. Dense masses of insects often indicate a nearby water source, according to Travel Overseas. Bees usually build their hives within a couple of miles of a body of water, and flies typically stay within 300 feet of water. Whenever possible, boil the water you find, filter it or add purification tablets to it.

Wear waterproof shoes or rubber jungle boots. If these aren’t available, wrap your feet in plastic bags before putting on your shoes. Never wear wet socks. Over time, chronic moisture can lead to tissue breakdown and leave feet vulnerable to fungus and other infections. Costa Rica Rainforest Outward Bound advises applying moleskin or duct tape to hot spots and using foot creams or powders to treat fungus or bacteria. Cover any blisters and drain them from the bottom with a sterilized needle, but only if absolutely necessary.

Head downhill. In 1971, 17-year-old Julia Kopecke was the lone survivor of a 92-passenger flight that crashed in the Peruvian rain forest. Although in shock, she recalled her father’s advice: “Heading downhill in the jungle leads to water and water leads to civilization.” After bushwhacking through the forest for 10 days, the teenager stumbled across a hunter’s hut and was eventually reunited with her father.

Leave a trail, according to Travel Overseas. As you're hiking through the jungle, make markers from torn clothing or any brightly colored or reflective objects you can find. Don’t create a trail from anything edible, as animals will consume it. Don’t head in a straight line, either. Constantly look ahead for gaps in the rain forest, and conserve your energy by making slow and steady progress. Use a long branch as a walking stick and to clear foliage from your path. Avoid grabbing vines or plants while making your way up slopes, as many rain forest plants have thorns and emit irritants.

Find or build a shelter. Use whatever materials you have or can find to protect yourself from heavy rains and flooding, insects, and poisonous spiders and snakes. Take shelter on the highest ground possible and build fires to frighten away predators and signal for help.

Eat berries, fruits, vegetables and nuts with which you’re familiar to avoid the risk of accidental poisoning. Look for coconuts, squash, cucumber, cashews, peanuts and citrus fruits, all of which are plentiful in the Amazon. If you’re able to find fruit or catch fish from a lake or river, don’t hoard it, as it will attract wildlife and spoil quickly in the tropical heat and humidity.

Things You Will Need
  • Potable water

  • Protective clothing

  • First-aid kit

  • Walking stick

  • Dry kindling

  • Blankets

  • Waterproof shoes or jungle boots

  • Plastic bags

  • Lighter or matches

  • Water filter or purification tablets


Starting a fire may be difficult given the moisture and humidity of the rainforest, so look for dead branches and plants to use as tinder.