We all have a part of us that wants to try an adrenaline-spiking activity but not everyone wants to jump off a plane or ride a bike in a desert, to feel our blood pump. In our quest to get better, more comfortable lives we have increasingly moved away from all things natural. These days, going to a village is termed as ‘nature tour’, because… I’m sure villages have a couple of more trees than the city (?) While quite a few of us have been to natural habitats, most of us haven’t. Amazon is the perfect place to get closer to nature, feel your heartbeat in your ears and return a different person, one who is closer to himself and to nature.
5 Basics To Amazon Better
The Amazon is a 4,400-mile river with thousands of tributaries. It is basically a 2,600,000-square mile basin, draining rivers and streams in eight countries (Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname), as well as French Guiana.
The forest is combined of Savannah, floodplains and rivers, sheltering more than 30,000 plant species, 1,800 fish, 1,300 bird species, 311 mammals and 165 types of amphibian.
The main Amazon river flows through Brazil, Colombia and Peru although it changes its name in Brazil where the upper section is called the Solimões and after it passes the tributary of Uy acali in Peru, it is known as the Marañón.
The rainy season in the Amazon is from November or December to June when the river rises and floods the low-lying forests that lie along the banks. While the dry season, runs from July to December where with the rise in temperature, mosquitos go down.
Traveling to Amazon is a complicated affair. You can fly into Belém and book onto a local boat and then arrange flights or take bus journeys on from Manaus, or head directly for Iquitos or Leticia with only flights. Either ways, organizing a trip is no simple task.
6 Things To Brazilian Amazon It Better
The Jungle Diaries– One of the most common reasons for visiting the Amazon is the rainforest. Having a certified tour operator is essential because like modern kids stuck in their own dens, animals are quite the same, only Amazon is too big a house. A night hike to spot nocturnal creatures such as tree frogs, giant crickets and potoo birds is an option that can be availed. On a budget trip, you’ll sleep in a hammock in local style dwellings, and eat simple meals such as beans or fish, rice and manioc.
River on a cruise What’s a trip to Amazon without a cruise on the majestic river? Literally hundreds of boats, from budget to luxury, offer a range of cruise options for passengers. Smaller, tourist-standard boats can navigate narrow tributaries of the Rio Negro and Amazon River to take you deep into the forest. These quieter tributaries are home to abundant aquatic life such as river dolphins, giant otters, piranha and catfish while you’ll spot multiple sloths, primates and birds by the amongst the trees. Thumbs up for this one.
Meeting of waters– This is literally my favorite part of the Amazon, apart from the river in itself. This is practically my coffee preferences in one river. The Rio Negro – with waters the colour of black coffee – flows south into the main stream of the Amazon, which is like coffee with cream. At the Meeting of Waters, the two rivers merge in swirls of curlicues, spirals and whirlpools. The waters don’t blend completely for another 6 kms downstream. The phenomenon is caused by differences in the speed of the currents and water properties. I heart this.
Anavilanas Archipelago– Just look at the maze-like formation of the archipelago. You will encounter abundant birdlife, including parrots, hummingbirds and owls. Keen bird-watchers would find the specialities of white-winged potoo, pompadour cotinga and a variety of antbirds. Wildlife fans will enjoy encounters with caiman and pink dolphins and, if you are lucky, manatees. But mostly, if you are like me, we would just keep ogling at the formation of this fascinating archipelago.
INPA Science Center– It is said that the next best thing after a jungle tour is a visit to the Brazilian National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA) centre in Manaus. the grounds cover 13 hectares, including a botanical garden and park with labelled trees and plants, such as ceiba (kapok) trees, ficus and various medicinal shrubs and vines. Glass-walled tanks house manatees, otters, turtles, caiman, and a variety of fish such as armoured catfish. This is like a jungle tour in itself, only safer and less muddier.
Beach Please!– Amazon has its own set of exquisite beaches that are filled with scenic beauty and well, rather empty. Good thing is, this is your shot at owning, an almost, private beach for hours. But if you want a little more cosmopolitan experience, there is always the Ponte Negro beach. The Ponte Negra area is where Manaus locals come to socialise, listen to live music and watch the boi bumba folk dancing.
Beach vendors sell take-away snacks, such as tacacá (manioc juice soup with shrimp), pamonha (mashed boiled corn wrapped in corn leaves, or tapiocas (manioc flour tortillas stuffed with nuts). For dessert, try an ice-cream made of fruit such as cupuaçú, açai or camu-camu, or rala-rala (flavoured shaved ice) as you watch the sun go down.
My nature-lover-adventure-seeking friend asked me to write this article. I think I’m more inclined towards visiting Amazon now. Hope you feel the same, until then,