Highlights of travel in the Amazon include visiting exotic national parks teeming with wildlife, including the Yasuni National Park in Ecuador, the Manu Wildlife Center in Peru, and the Madidi National Park Bolivia. The Amazon River Basin covers almost 3 million square miles and is one of Earth’s most biodiverse regions.
Yasuni National Park
Yasuni National Park on the Napo River in Ecuador has a staggering number of plants within its borders. It is home to indigenous tribes that still live in isolation, and almost 600 species of birds have been recorded to date there. Trips into the park take you to remote regions only reached by canoe, visit indigenous villages to learn about the people of the Amazon, and find you a stone throw away from pink river dolphins, a myriad of monkeys, and sloths.
Manu National Park
Manu National Park stretches 6000 square miles deep in the Peruvian Amazon and is home to over 800 species of birds, 70 mammals, and various habitats, including high Andean mountain regions and lowland rainforests. Visiting the park is an excursion that explores long stretches of river and some of the many lakes within the borders and can include spotting usually elusive tapirs from an observation tower over clay licks.
Tambopata National Reserve
More than 13 endangered species of animals live in the Tambopata National Reserve. One of the largest clay licks in the country is located within its borders-bringing thousands of colorful birds each day. The area is the largest uninhabited forest globally, and exploring here is an immersion in nature with discoveries coming out of the blue at each site visited.
Panacocha Biological Corridor
The Panacocha Biological Corridor bridges a gap in Ecuador’s jungle between two protected areas. It makes a crucial biological corridor that protects the species that live here from the intrusions of logging and drilling for oil. Nine kinds of monkeys, 2500 species of butterflies, and endangered creatures, including the giant otter and the pink river dolphin, live within the reserve and are often spotted on Amazon Cruises in the area.
Pacaya Samiria Reserve
One of the most expansive protected areas in Peru, the Pacaya Samiria Reserve is home to indigenous groups that live along the black water rivers and lagoons that harbor many different jungle creatures, including sloths, two kinds of river turtles, herons and storks, and pumas and jaguars.
The largest freshwater island chain, globally Brazil’s Anavilhanas Archipelago is home to dolphins, crocodiles, and manatees. Amazon River cruises in Brazil traverse
the islands-gradually leaving human settlement behind instead of untamed wilderness.
Madidi National Park
Bolivia’s Madidi National Park is still a place where the indigenous people who live there are the best guides for the 4.5 million reserve. The Chalalan Eco-lodge, inside the park, is owned and run by a local Quechua community that take guests deep into the jungle in search of jungle creature while pointing out the different medicinal plants used for centuries by the people there.
For more information about Amazon river cruises and lodges that take you into the heart of one of South America’s, contact one of our travel experts.