[well]Amazon Quick Facts:
The Amazon Rainforest or Amazon Jungle is a tropical forest that covers the majority of the Amazon Basin. The majority, 1.4 billion acres (500,000 sq km), of the 1.7 billion acres (7 million sq km) basin is covered by the Amazon forests. The Amazon Rainforest is so large that it accounts for over half of the world’s remaining rainforest.
The Amazon Jungle is housed primarily in Brazil which accounts for approximately 60% of the forest. Peru has the second greatest representation with 13% with the following countries combining to make up the rest of the forest: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela.
The Amazon River is the largest river in the world based on discharge with an average of 7,381,000 cubic feet per second (209,000 cu m/s). The river accounts for 1/5 of the world’s total river flow. It is also the largest river basin in the world.
The Amazon Rainforest has the greatest collection of plant and animal life; 1 in 10 species from around the world are found in the Amazon. The Amazon Jungle is home to approximately 427 mammals, 378 reptiles, 428 amphibians, 1,294 birds, 3,000 fish, 40,000 plants and 2.5 million insect species. One in five of all birds are found in the Amazon.
The Amazon Jungle also provides the greatest collection of wildlife that poses risk of harm to mankind. The collection of wildlife includes the jaguar, Black Caiman, anaconda, electric eels, piranha and various poisonous frogs and parasites. However, the rainforest also accounts for 438,000 difference species of plants that have economical, pharmaceutical, or social value. It is a place that both kills and heals.
One of the most popular ways to explore or experience the Amazon is through the use of a river cruise. The majority of cruises start in the city of Manaus and travel up-river. Private smaller or luxury tours allow for more in-depth exploration of the river.
A river tour allows you to experience both the Amazon River and the Amazon Forests from the deck of the boat. However, another adventurous opportunity to explore the Amazon is by trekking or hiking through the forests.
The rainy season occurs during the months of February through April. It would be wise to avoid this timeframe as well as the hottest months of September through November. The months of May through June are ideal for exploring the river because water is at its highest.
December and January are part of the dry season and create the opportunity for longer hikes and more exploration of the forest itself. The best way to take advantage of the dry season is with stays in one of the jungle lodges.
Other activities include fishing, canoeing, tree-climbing
Manaus is the largest city in the area and the gateway to the Amazon River. Most cruises depart out of the city and major airlines provide service directly into Manaus. Make sure you check what activities are included with any lodge or river cruise experience before booking and confirming.