The Amazon River is huge. While there is an ongoing debate as to whether or not it is the largest river in the world, it is the confirmed largest river in the world by volume. It runs for over 4,000 miles through South America, originating in the Andes Mountains and flowing out into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil.
Flanking either side of the Amazon River is the Amazon Rainforest, the largest rainforest in the world with an area of nearly 2.2 million square miles. The Amazon River provides an important source of hydration for the rainforest and is part of why the vegetation here is so lush and verdant. On top of that, the river is home to thousands of fish and mammal species, which help keep the rainforest region’s biodiversity well balanced.
But, the Amazon River is not just one river. It consists of over 1,100 tributaries that feed into it and contribute to its breath-taking power. You could say that the Amazon River is really a team effort, drawing in sources from all over the continent of South America. It is a wonder to behold and is a vacation destination in and of itself.
In addition to being a natural beauty queen, the Amazon River is essential to sustaining life in the Amazon Rainforest, and South America on a larger scale. We have already mentioned the impact the river has on the plants and animals in the region, but its role in human life is just as important, if not more so.
For the people who make their home in the rainforest, the Amazon River is a vital source of water. This is used for cooking, washing, agriculture and dozens of other purposes and the fish that live in the river provide essential nourishment for these communities. It is the beating heart of Amazon civilization and is largely responsible for sustaining life in the area.
Key Players in the Amazon River
Of the thousands of species that call the river home, there are three creatures that live in the Amazon River that you should know about. The first is the elusive pink river dolphin. Completely unique in appearance, these pink dolphins are as beautiful as they are mysterious. They are steeped in mysticism from local legends and can usually be found in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.
The second animal is the infamous piranha, which can grow up to two feet in length in the Amazon River. Fishing trips dedicated to catching these fearsome fish are regularly organized and even form part of the itineraries for the Delfin’s Amazon Cruises. That being said, the piranhas are completely harmless and guests often enjoy a catch and release excursion to learn more about the species.
Finally, the paiche deserves your attention, if only because it is the largest freshwater fish in the world and is found right there in the Amazon River. These giants can reach a length of four metres and can weigh up to 200kg. Seeing one in the flesh is truly incredible and might just be one of the highlights of your trip to the Amazon River.
Key Places to Visit Along the Amazon River
In order to access the Amazon River you have to head to Iquitos. But, this city is more than just a springboard into the Amazon. It has its very own Amazon culture, complete with local delicacies and a jungle vibe. If you have the time to spend a day or two in this fascinating city, we wholly recommend it before hopping on a river cruise and exploring the river in more depth.
The second place you cannot miss is the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, an enormous nature reserve in the Peruvian section of the Amazon Rainforest. The river courses through this park allowing those floating along it to see thousands of bird, fish, and animal species. The scenery here is world class so make sure you have your camera at the ready – you won’t want to forget this place.
The best way to enjoy the Amazon River is by cruising it. Delfin Amazon Cruises allows you to get up close and personal with the river from the comfort of your luxurious vessel. The itineraries are carefully crafted to enable you to see the very best bits of the Peruvian Amazon and offer a delicate balance of activity and downtime to create the ultimate getaway.
For more information about booking an Amazon Rainforest Tour, please contact us.