The Amazon Rainforest – The Greatest Wilderness on Earth>
The Amazon is the world’s largest jungle surrounding the world’s most extensive river system, the lungs of the planet! An estimated 60% of the Amazon Rainforest lies in the territory of Brazil. There are 5.5 million square kilometres of Amazon Jungle, making it the most species-rich rainforest on earth, with unparalleled biodiversity. Just one square kilometre is estimated to contain around 1,000 different types of tree and thousands of higher plant species. 2.5 million insect species, around 1,400 bird (20% of all known species), 425 mammal and similar numbers of amphibian species, and almost 400 reptile species are known to make their home in the Amazon Jungle. The Amazon River system is home to 2,200 fish species, 20% of all known species. The Amazon is the most fertile breeding ground we have.
Species previously unknown to science are discovered every day, and not just insects and plant life. In 2011 a WWF expedition discovered a titi monkey with a ginger beard and red tail, never previously classified by humans. They may have been known to the indigenous Amazon people though. An estimated 40 indigenous tribes are still living in the Amazon Jungle, having never had contact with the outside world.
The Amazon Jungle is a special place to visit for many reasons. The wildlife of both river and rainforest is abundant, colourful and often noisy. Toucans, macaws and parrots add splashes of colour to the verdant jungle, along with huge Amazon butterflies. Amazon treks and boat journeys are often accompanied by humming-birds or egrets.
The Amazon is the perfect place to escape the Real World, with comfortable stays at Amazon Lodges, cruises on Amazon River Boats or longer expeditions that take you deeper in the the Amazon Jungle. Whichever you prefer, every morning you will awaken to the Amazon Dawn Chorus, with a a sgaggering amount of bird, insect and even monkey calls. Every evening is decorated with the song of amphibians and cicadas, as well as the spectacular colours of an Amazon sunset.
During the hot and humid days, the Amazon Jungle canopy provides a steamy shelter from the equatorial sun. Jungle treks and canoes take you in amongst the primary rainforest, with creepers and vines covering trees up to 90m/300ft tall. The annual wet season of December to April leaves the rainforest flooded, with the tree-trunks half-submerged and reflecting perfectly in the still waters of the creeks and channels. The immediate post-wet season months of May to July are the most photogenic because of this chance to pass between the trunks in smaller craft.
The Amazon River has plenty of wildlife too of course, with the pink dolphins and their grey friends being some of the friendliest creatures in the Amazon, while Peacock Bass and Dourado bring sports fishermen to the waters.
The aquatic, avian and simian life are easier to find, although other larger creatures are more elusive. Manatees in the water and tapirs on land are endearing but shy creatures, while ant-eaters and armadillos are occasionally seen. Sightings of predators such as the jaguar, anacondas and boa constrictors are rare, which can be fortunate or unfortunate depending on your point of view. One predator almost guaranteed to make part of your visit is the caiman alligator, which can be seen day or night. Capybara and the giant river otters are creatures you may also come across at close quarters, while the wonderful sloth moves far too slowly to avoid contact.
Most Amazon lodges have regular visits from exotic wildlife, many tame enough for a more personal experience with visitors! Such interaction with the creatures that make their home in the Amazon Jungle is guaranteed to provide memories, photos and videos to treasure. You may also value visits to local communities who make their lives on the edge of the Amazon River. You can learn some of the skills that have enabled them to survive and adapt to life in the Amazon Jungle.
This includes the noble hammock of course, and amongst all the activities and wildlife, you should always find time to climb into a hammock and swing gently with nothing but the sounds of the Amazon Jungle for company. It is a very special place and any and every Bucket List should contain a trip to the Amazon Rainforest.
Suitable Destination For: Anybody and everybody who wants to experience the greatest wilderness on earth.
Best Time to Visit: The Amazon wet season of December to April is not the best time to visit, although rain is almost guaranteed every day in the rainforest.
Essential Sights & Activities: The Amazon Jungle; The Amazon River; The Rainforest Ecosystem in action; Jungle Hikes; Piranha Fishing; Caiman Catching; Canoe Trips; The Amazon Dawn Chorus; Wildlife Galore! Including Amazon River Dolphins, Monkeys, Macaws, Toucans, Sloth and much more...