Imagine yourself standing on the base of a dense, lush forest covered in greenery. Now imagine awakening your sense of smell with an indescribable freshness and aroma of lush vegetation and vibrant colours from wildlife. If you love the thought of stepping foot onto absolute serenity and wonder, then a daring holiday to the Amazon Rain Forrest is just what you need. This marvel of our planet shelters more than 30,000 species of plants 1,300 bird species, 1,800 fish, over 300 mammals and finally over 160 different types of amphibian.
The Amazon is one of the marvels of the world, with its Tropical Rainforest situated in South America. The majority is contained within Brazil, But it does overlap into 9 other nations. It boasts a wonderful warm, and moist tropical climate all year round, so you can visit at any time. The landscape contains a vast amount of winding rivers including the famous Amazon river that is an astonishing 4000 miles / 6400km long, the Amazon Basin is the largest tropical
forest in the world, with luxuriant vegetation, remarkable plant life and extraordinary age old giant trees. This creates the perfect backdrop to the myriad of colourful and exotic animals that call the Amazon their home.
I didn’t know that
- The Amazon river is twice the size of India and has more water than the 8 largest rivers in the world combined.
- The rain forest is so big that it is estimated that over 390 billion trees are living in there
- Two Thirds of the rain forest is in Brazil
- There are approximately 2.5 million different types of bugs and insects living in the Amazon, with most of them in the canopy above.
- If the Amazon were a country it would be ranked the 9th largest in size
- 10% of all of the known species on the planet come from the Amazon rainforest.
Places to see
This mythical and remarkable holiday destination offers many activities and places to explore along with memorable interactions that are guaranteed to keep you occupied and leave you in utter amazement. Travelling the waterways brings you magnificent views, and the most famous part of the river is near the Brazilian port city of Manaus,. Manaus is where the light silty waters of the Amazon River run side-by-side with the dark waters of Rio Negro without mixing, this creates an unusual and striking landscape and is considered to be one of the greatest natural phenomenon’s of the continent. It is widely and commonly known as
“Meeting of the Waters” and is also a favorite and customary spot to catch a glimpse of the graceful pink river dolphin, which can be frequently seen swimming and fooling around in the crisp flowing waters around your boat.
The majority of the rain forest is made up of higher ground and so it does not flood in the rainy season; here is where we often find towering evergreen trees with dense closed canopies, and at ground level an abundance of colourful flowers, insects and plant life. When the rainy season starts in the Andes and the snow starts to melt, some of the excess mass of water reaches these forests, the major benefit of this for the visitor is that boat trips can now take you deeper in and through these bizarre landscapes. These boat trips bring you closer to the tree canopies where you’ll find much of the wildlife as they move up higher to seek shelter from the ever rising waters.
Unsurprisingly the world’s biggest rainforest is home to a mind-boggling number of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects to name a few, you will be lucky to spot the sluggish Sloth, or the prowling Jaguar or even perhaps the considered “critically endangered” Black-headed Spider Monkey, with the help of many local specialised guides trained to sense their presence and point out the known habitat of these brilliant animals.
For wildlife enthusiasts there are a number of ways to get closer to the huge amount of wildlife without disturbing the natural habitat. A good suggestion is to combine the Amazon with the Pantanal area of the rain forrest in Brazil. This is home to the Hyacinth Macaw and a vast array of birdlife. Or If you’re feeling really adventurous a boat trip to the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, where the Giant Tortoise or the curios Blue-footed booby can easily be spotted.
Meeting the local community of the Amazon to learn about life in the jungle is a much needed experience. These visits tend to be based around Amazonian life, including tours of their villages and homes, and perhaps even the opportunity to partake in the build of an authentic Amazon home. The tribes that live in the forest partake in the sharing of brave and wonderful stories, tales of myths and local legends and possibly some local fishing. At some far flung town you can also take part in a healing tea ceremony or learn the art of face painting and its meaning.
There will also typically be a chance to sample some local cuisine such as the festive dish Manicoba, traditionally made with pieces of meat, sausage, manioc (roots) and leaves. Or taste Patarashca, this is a highly renowned dish consisting of grilled fish with a variety of locally farmed onions, tomatoes, chilies and coriander all wrapped and cooked to perfection in a large bijao leaf. Finally why not support the local community by purchasing some handicrafts to take back home and learn about how the people survive and trade in the immense and isolated areas of the rainforest, passing their knowledge down from generation to generation.
Where to stay in and around the Amazon
The Amazon is widely accessible from Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador with the most popular destination being Manaus in the state of Amazonas, Brazil. The city of Manaus hugely favorable and is the main transport hub to the surrounding Amazon rain forest largely because of its location in the Amazon Basin and its diverse culture. Once in Manaus you can easily arrange plenty of insightful trips through your hotel and local agencies, Accommodation varies from luxury to relaxed all according to your budget needs.
Local accommodation such as the Tropical Executive Hotel and Boutique Hotel Casa Teatro offer a more modern and sophisticate stay with Air-conditioned rooms, Internet and Wi-Fi, mini bar, Saunas, Gyms, Buffet Breakfast as well as an on location Restaurant and bar, that is sure to make you feel right at
The tropical Exclusive Hotel
The Boutique Hotel Casa Teatro
For those who wish to feel a bit more secluded and dive a bit deeper into a
jungle adventure the Amazon Ecopark Jungle lodge is ideal.
This place boasting a private beach, natural pools, full board (all meals), ecological hikes and guided night trips for wildlife observation, The Cabanas are also well spread throughout for more privacy.
The Amazon Ecopark is a short 32 minute boat ride away from the main
city of Manaus, whilst some others might require longer journeys in motorised canoes and ferry’s.
Another exploratory option would be one of the many boat cruises that vary from 4 days to 7 days and start and finish in Manaus,
The Tucano Motor Yacht is a fun and different option, with its stylish finishes, and comfortable spaces where travellers get to enjoy picturesque views such as the UNESCO Natural World Heritage site, hikes and options to explore deep into the forest while enjoying wonderful local cuisine.
You also get to watch the sun disappear behind the Amazon foliage while relishing on a local cocktail. Bliss!
For those seeking a more reserved one day experience there any many local options. For a full-day guided tour, you can choose from either a private or small groups tour that highlights the Amazon’s Rainforest, and offers options to swim with the graceful pink river dolphins, discover the winding rivers, view magnificent waterfalls and explore the Judea caves. Some tours even include the convenience of a pick-up and drop-off service at your hotel or Lodge for ease of travelling arrangements
Getting to the Amazon
If you are coming from overseas the quickest way to get to the Amazon is to fly,
there are limited direct flights into Manaus but are usually via Miami, Panama City, Rio De Janeiro or Sao Paulo, the probability of taking more than one flight is likely.
The Manaus Eduardo Gomes International Airport is located only 15 kilometres from the City Centre, Busses and taxis are available from the airport to efficiently take you to your final destination.
If you are in Brazil already and would appreciate the scenery there is a more lengthly options to travel to Manaus by Bus, and they come
in all different classes that vary in quality and price, but can take days or even weeks to get to your destination.
The condition of the roads are directly related to the regions prosperity and it is
worth spending more for a bigger more comfortable seat, the most popular class for backpackers is Semi-Cama or Convectional Class. They typically include soft recline able seats, air conditioning, bathrooms and sometimes even the odd snack.
Once in Manaus a very popular and cost effective form of travelling between places are by boat or ferry, some trips taking as long as 5 days were you are offered a bed or hammock,
(although make sure to bring your own hammock).and plenty of fresh bottled water for your elongated trip.
The Amazon is an exquisite outdoor adventure with absolute magnificent views as well as a providing you with a relaxed and tranquil feeling. You will also get an experience that offers a great cultural exploration. If you are planning your trip be sure to visit May early June, during these months the river levels are still high enough for exploration by boat, the rainfall is frequent enough to draw out some wildlife you might not spot otherwise.
Main Airports and direct flights give you ease of access with many other
forms and options of transport to travel in and around the city. Remember to plan ahead and ensure that you get the recommend vaccinations such as Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Yellow Fever and Malaria prevention that’s recommended at many of the more remote lodges.