If you have the opportunity to take an Amazon tour in Peru, Ecuador or Brazil you will marvel at this unique collection of eco-systems. The Amazon Rainforest, also known as the Amazon jungle, is the world´s largest area of jungle on the planet an although large parts of it have been destroyed by industry and logging it still covers an amazing five and a half million square kilometers across the mighty Amazon basin. The Amazon Rainforest represents more than half of the planet’s remaining jungles and it is the most diverse, species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world.
The region covers territory belonging to nine south-American nations. Brazil has the majority with 60% of the forest, followed by Peru with 13%, and with smaller areas in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. The name “Rain” forest describes the humidity that you find in tropical and equatorial forests, but it doesn’t rain all the time. Always located near the equator tropical rainforests are very hot. The heat, combined with large amounts of water, result in a lot of moisture evaporating into the air. The trees and vegetation of the forest also help to retain water in their branches, roots and soil. This all makes the forests very humid generally in addition to the well defined rainy season when the heavens open every so often. All this heat, rain and humidity make these forests a very rich ecosystem and habitat for many organisms, birds and mammals. The Amazon was short-listed as a candidate for one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature by the New Seven Wonders of the World Foundation. As of February 2009 the Amazon was ranking first in the category for forests, national parks and nature reserves (Group E).
Visits to the Amazon normally involve staying in jungle lodges but in certain locations cruises can be taken also, spending nights in a cabin on board a boat or ship. The easiest visits logistically are those from Peru and Ecuador where commercial flights carry you quickly to an access town from where you take your excursion. Brazil is also an easy access country but requires a much longer flight from the main points of entry to the jungle. Bolivia and Colombia are less accessible and the remaining countries even less so. Many people choose to take an Amazon tour from Peru as it literally a 30 minute flight from Cusco.
There is a large range of often simple lodges across the Amazon countries but there are a number of high-end luxury options also, all make for excellent bases for taking Amazon tours and exploring your unique surroundings and are often several hours from the entry town by boat. Activities vary from lodge to lodge and cruise to cruise but almost always involve walks in the jungle to discover the flora and fauna and motorized canoe trips along the many of the small tributary rivers. You may also get to visit villages inhabited by local tribes and some lodges even have canopy towers or walkways high up in the trees giving you yet another perspective. Taking a cruise from towns such as Iquitos in Peru or Manaus in Brazil allows to sail overnight waking up in a new location each day and doing tours from those places.
Whatever style you choose, in whichever country, the experience is amazing and probably completely the reverse to your regular living environment. Something you will never forget.