The Amazon Travel Guide
Why? The Amazon is home to millions of species of plants, animals, and insects that can't be found anywhere else in the world. The largest rainforest on earth, it's a one-of-a-kind experience that's increasingly in danger of being wiped out. You can hike through trees teeming with life, sleep in a hammock on a boat floating down the river, come face to face with a three-toed sloth, and investigate the growing cities dotted around the jungle.
When? The dry season runs from July to November, though the best time to go is in October, which is the driest month, but doesn't suffer the intense heat that comes in the height of summer.
Who for? The Amazon is for travellers on the hunt for a true adventure. There is very little in the way of luxury infrastructure, so visitors should be prepared to rough it.
More info. Our Amazon travel guide contains a wealth of information to help you plan your Amazon vacation. Note that you can print out our Amazon travel guide to take with you, or email it to a friend.
Amazon rainforest © Ivan Mlinaric
The Amazon is a vast rainforest, the largest on the planet, comprising an expansive system of rivers that covers more than half of Brazil, and invades large tracts of its neighbouring countries. The Amazon River and its tributaries together create approximately 30,888 square miles (80,000 sq km) of navigable river systems. Large areas of the Amazon forest still remain unexplored, however, and tens of thousands of rare and unknown species of animals, birds, insects, fish and plants are sheltered in and beneath the thick tree canopies.
The Rio Solimoes is a powerful navigable stretch of river that enters Brazil from Peru, just above the city of Manaus. Close to the city, the light brown muddy river meets the Rio Negro with its darker waters and the two converge to form the mighty Rio Amazonas, which flows through Brazil to the city of Belem.
Manaus is the gateway for excursions into the jungle and river system, situated as it is in the middle of the forest. From the city, scores of operators run day trips and longer boat tours for visitors wishing to experience Amazonian flora and fauna and meet the 'caboclos' (residents of the river towns). The city itself does not have many attractions, apart from some interesting buildings like its opulent and famous opera house, which dates from the height of the rubber boom in 1896. As the commercial hub of the state of Amazonas, it is very busy, with a noisy and crowded port and several bustling markets.
Belem is the other major starting point for Amazon exploration with its busy port, small airport, and bus station. Located on the coast, it has a large number of indentations, estuaries, and islands that can be worthwhile to explore. It has a few scenic buildings as well, but more interesting are the markets near the quay.
The Amazon lacks a good tourism infrastructure in the form of good hotels and reliable transportation, but ecotourism is gaining in popularity there, and contributing to the enrichment of the local peoples.
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