The Amazon Rainforest is located in 9 different countries but the majority of it (around 60%) is located in Brazil. The rest of it can be found in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana (which is technically an overseas territory). While in theory, you have 9 different places to experience the Amazon, realistically those who want to explore the rainforest will want to base themselves in one of the following countries: Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, or Bolivia.
These countries have an excellent infrastructure for visitors to the Amazon, so you won’t need to worry about trying to navigate through on your own and getting lost. In fact, in many places travelers aren’t allowed into the rainforest unless they are accompanied by a guide as the chances of getting lost are pretty high and the risk of encountering a dangerous animal is certainly not non-existent.
Being the largest rainforest on the planet (and home to one of the largest river systems in the work), it should come as no surprise that the Amazon covers a hefty chunk of South America. This gigantic patch of natural beauty stretches itself over a staggering 2.1 million square miles and has earned its place on many a bucket list. From trekking through the thick swathes of lush greenery to cruising along the powerful Amazon River, a trip to the Amazon rainforest is a fully immersive natural experience that you won’t forget in a hurry.
So how do these various destinations differ and which locations make the best jumping-off points for getting a taste of the Amazon Rainforest? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and more.
With 60% of the Amazon Rainforest spreading itself over the western and central parts of the country, Brazil is what comes to mind first when planning a trip to the Amazon. Generally, Brazil Amazon tours into the rainforest will kick off in Manaus, the most populous city in the Brazilian Amazon region. From here, you will be able to hop on a Brazillian cruise along the mighty Amazon River in search of some of the forest’s wonderful wildlife. From Manaus, you will be able to check out other amazing places such as the Lago Janauari Ecological Park, Jaú National Park, and the Anavilhanas Archipelago. You will also get the chance to witness the unique spectacle of the Meeting of the Waters. This is where the black water of the Rio Negro meets the sandy colored water of the Rio Solimões.
The land of llamas, Peru boasts a large part of the Amazon and is a great country to use as your base as you can often combine your rainforest adventure with a trip to the mystical ruins of Machu Picchu. Most Amazonian tours in Peru will start in the city of Iquitos, a thriving metropolis that can only be reached by air or water – making it the largest city in the world that has no road access. Here, you will be surrounded by untamed rainforest, charming wooden canoes, and a distinctly ‘jungle’ vibe. You can also spend a few hours exploring the floating markets of Belén whilst you’re there. Other places worth visiting for a taste of the Peruvian Amazon are Nauta, Puerto Maldonado, and the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.
Exceptionally diverse and staggeringly beautiful, Ecuador is yet another fantastic place to start your journey into the heart of the Amazon. While this destination is less popular than Brazil and Peru, it still has a lot to offer and the reduced number of tourists can be a real blessing – especially when it comes to enjoying the serenity of the inner jungle. There is certainly no shortage of wildlife in Ecuador, despite it being one of the smaller countries on the continent.
Amazon cruises in Ecuador will stop off at the Yasuni National Park and the Cuyabeno Reserve, allowing its passengers to get a good look at the hundreds of different animal and bird species that call this region home. Coca is the gateway to Ecuador’s portion of the Amazon and it is located at the confluence of the Coca and Napo Rivers. This is where most tours will start. You can also combine your Amazon cruise with a Machu Picchu and Galapagos tour, for the ultimate dream vacation.
Of the four countries that are mentioned in detail in this article, Bolivia is the least developed and therefore sees the least number of visitors. However, those who do venture here for their Amazonian adventure the Bolivia tour will usually start in Trinidad and then travel along the Río Ibare and the Río Mamoré in order to get a better look at the rainforest. Trinidad itself is a very laidback jungle city where the sloths that hang around in the central plaza barely move any faster than the people who are happy to soak up the sun while they slurp an ice cream with friends.
When it comes to the location of the Amazon Rainforest, there is no simple answer as to where it is. Its reach is phenomenal and each city, town, and village that lies within its leafy grasp is completely unique. This part of the world is one of the planet’s last vestiges of pure, unadulterated natural beauty but every day it is falling victim to rampant deforestation so go and experience it now, because it might not be here forever.
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