Fly into: Quito is less than a five-hour flight from Houston; take an additional 30-minute flight on Ecuador's AeroGal (modern Airbus jets) to Coca, the jumping-off point for most Ecuador Amazon adventures.
Main tourist areas : Ecolodges along the Napo River, east of Coca. The Napo is a main tributary of the mighty Amazon River.
Could combine with visits to: Quito and the Galapagos Islands.
Popularity : Ecuador had 227,000 tourist arrivals from the U.S. last year, according to Euromonitor International.
For more: Ecuador Ministry of Tourism, http://ecuador.travel/; Latin Destinations (www.latindestinations.com, 866-645-2846).
Where the Amazon River proper begins; lots of choices for Amazon cruises or ecolodges.
Fly into: Lima, then Iquitos or Cusco to start your trip.
Main tourist areas : Ecolodges or cruises near Iquitos or Tambopata Reserve (southern Peru).
Could combine with visits to: Machu Picchu, Lima.
Popularity : Peru had 423,000 tourist arrivals from the U.S. last year, according to Euromonitor International.
For more: Peru Tourism Bureau, http://www.visitperu.com; Adventure Life (www.adventure-life.com, 800-344-6118); REI (www.rei.com/adventures, 800-622-2236), or Greentracks (www.greentracks.com, 970-884-6107).
Brazil covers 60 percent of the Amazon region, so it offers many cruises and lodges, and it has a big tourism industry.
Fly into: Manaus, a city of 1.7 million. There are nonstops from Miami. Unfortunately, a lot of flights from the U.S. stop first in Rio or Sao Paulo — 1,600 miles south — then backtrack north. You also need a $140 visa to get into Brazil.
Can combine with visits to: Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Bel em