A single drop of water high in the Andes Mountains ends up in the Atlantic Ocean 4,080 miles away as part of the mighty Amazon River. Over 40% of the Amazon River and its rainforest is contained in Brazil. This unique Amazon Basin is home to 70% of all the known species of animals and plants on this earth. Full of beauty and mystery much of the Amazon has yet to be explored and many plants and animals are yet to be discovered. Traveling through this exotic jungle is sure to be a life changing experience.
Most tours of the Amazon leave from the city of Manaus. A rather large city of over one million people, it sits on the banks of the Rio Negro River, one of the tributaries of the Amazon. This city grew out of the rubber boom of the 19th century. There are quite a few attractions to enjoy here before setting out for the wilds of the rainforest. The Opera House built in the late 1800s is an impressive and opulent structure with guided tours and free performances. The Natural Science Museum was built singlehandedly by a Japanese entomologist and the display of indigenous insects and butterflies is quite impressive. Do your shopping at the lively and very ethnic Mercado Municipal and relax on the beaches of Ponta Negra and Praia da Luca.
Amazon Boat Tours
All the Amazon Boat Tours will bring the traveler face to face with the glory of the rainforest and its waterways. There are over 15,000 types of animals and immeasurable species of insects, plants and birds to be seen on your travels. Brilliant red and yellow macaws, fluorescent pink butterflies and buffy-headed marmosets are just some of the exciting Amazon residents you might come across. These boat tours can last a few hours or several days. All are led by experienced guides who teach their guests the mysteries of the rainforest.
The longer riverboat tours, lasting several days, leave Manaus and move upstream to where the Rio Negro and Rio Solimoes join to form the Amazon. Traveling along this river is very exciting as you never know what you will see next. An array of river dolphins may swim along beside your boat catching a ride in its wake. Spider monkeys shout their greetings from the tops of the rainforest trees while armadillos lumber along the forest floor looking for grubs and insects. Hundreds of brightly colored birds, perched in the trees create a kaleidoscope of color while boa constrictors hang from its branches ready to spring on rodents traveling beneath. If you are lucky you might even catch a glimpse of the elegant jaguar searching the jungle for its afternoon meal. The boats themselves are well equipped with bathrooms, showers and air conditioning. Along the way plan on staying in one of the lodges set upon the Amazon river.
Let’s Go Hiking
There are shorter boat tours that take visitors to local preserves where it is easy to get up close and personal with the natural element of the forest. The Caratinga Biological Station allows trail hiking where visitors can see marmosets, the muriquis and brilliantly colored macaws. Lake Janauari Ecological Park is 9000 acres of forest. This park is known for its brightly colored wild flowers and visitors can step off the boat and enjoy some exciting hiking trails through the forest. Adolpho Botanical Garden covers 100 sq. km. and also has several hiking trails.The Amazon River Basin is like no other place on Earth. Its beauty lies in its wildlife and endless jungle forests. Visitors leave this nature’s miracle with a sense of awe and responsibility toward the survival of its residents and flora. There is no other more beautiful place on Earth and a trip here promises to be the experience of a lifetime.