The Amazon is located in South America and it is a vast region spanning eight countries including Brazil. It consists of 1.4 billion dense forest, 4100 million of wide rivers, 4000 plant spices, 3000 fresh water fish spices and more than 370 types of reptiles. It is one of the last refuge for jaguars, harpy eagle, pink dolphins and home of thousands of birds /butterflies. More than 30 million of population lives in Amazon and depends on nature for their basic needs. All these figures and facts demonstrate the extraordinary size, biodiversity and importance of the Amazon rainforest. We present six ways to explore the Amazon.
Traverse the waterways
Near the Brazilian port city of Manaus, the most famous part of the river is a four mile stretch where the light silty waters of the Rio Solimões run along with the dark waters of the Rio Negro. This is called the ‘Meeting of the Waters’ and is considered one of the great natural phenomenon’s of the continent. It is only from this point that Brazilians actually call it the Rio Amazonas .It is also a favorite spot of the pink river dolphin, which can be seen easily, from your boat. What’s more, the sunset here is amazing. Traversing the waterways in canoes and kayaks could help get you closer to some of the more wary wildlife of the rivers and naturally occurring oxbow lakes are also excellent places to see animals in a more confined space. One other popular activity is to venture out into the rainforest under the cover of darkness to spot nocturnal creatures, including caiman, frogs, insects and night monkeys.
Wildlife of the jungle
The world’s biggest rainforest is home to number of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects. Specialist guides are trained to found the presence of the wildlife and help you look them, this is often a difficult undertaking as you follow trails and enjoy rides in motorized canoes or traditional riverboats. This is due in large part to the overwhelming scale and size of the Amazon, as well as the towering height of the trees and the density of the canopy.
As mentioned, there are a number of ways that you can get closer to the wildlife here, without disturbing it. In Peru and Ecuador in particular are the clay licks which are frequented by innumerable flocks of colorful macaws, parrots and parakeets, as well as some small mammals in some cases. Canopy observation towers give you access to both the canopy and the understory, where you will stand a greater chance of observing exotic birds and monkeys and perhaps sloths and (if you are very lucky) even the elusive jaguar, which are known to occasionally rest on branches of tree.
Giant trees and extraordinary plant life
When we speak about the incredible biodiversity of the Amazon, we are not only referring to the abundance of wildlife found here, but equally the plant life and flowers found in the jungle and the immense size of the trees that grow here. Some of the most notable trees found in the Tambopata Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon for example include the 40 meter high Brazil nut tree, the 50 meter high Ceiba tree and the 500 year old ironwood trees.
Specialist guides lead you along established trails which showcase the plant life that exists way below the canopy at ground level. Here you will encounter verdant ferns, tropical twisted vines and tangled lianas, as well as delicate orchids and lush bromeliads.
The annual rising water levels create floating meadows, which along with oxbow lakes, create natural habitats for a number of water plants. Perhaps the most famous example of these are the giant Amazon water lilies, which exist in the nutrient-rich waters of várzea swamps and flooded forests. These photogenic pads can sometimes grow up to 6 feet wide. These plants are used in for essential medicine, food and clothing by locals.
Camping in rainforest
Camping in rainforest is a pleasant and unforgettable experience .You will need a tent that zips dangerous mosquitoes .The tent should have mesh ventilation openings to help you deal with humidity and heat of Amazon. Temperature decreases during night so bring light jacket and warm sleeping bag with you. Gloves, rain coat, mini LED light, Sparker for fire, folding knife and mini backup UPS are essential for camping.
Ponte Negra beach
This is the point where Manaus locals come to socialize, listen to live music and watch the boi bumba folk dancing. Beach vendors sell take-away snacks, suchas pamonha (mashed boiled corn wrapped in corn leaves, tacacá (manioc juice soup with shrimp), or tapiocas (manioc flour tortillas stuffed with nuts). For dessert, try an ice-cream made by local fruits. The water is a little muddy and not ideal for swimming, but it’s fun to paddle in for a while, and piranhas are nowhere to be found. The beach is best when the river level is low, usually from July to December.
Meeting with local communities
For learning about the life in the jungle, meeting the local communities is an important part of your Amazon visit. These visits tend to be based around different cultural activities, including tours of their villages and homes, learning the art of face painting, the sharing of stories and perhaps some fishing. There will also be the chance to taste some local cuisine, purchase some handicrafts and learn about how the communities survive in the rainforest.