The Amazon boasts plant and animal biodiversity that can’t be found anywhere else, and a dazzling array of man-made attractions that have fascinated tourists for many years. If you are interested in a trip filled with adventure and wildlife, embark on a tour of the Amazon Rainforest and experience all the natural beauty that the mighty jungle has to offer. To get the most out of your trip, choose from a wide range of tested itineraries and build a customized Amazon tour at SouthAmerica.travel. If you’re still in the process of planning, take a look at 7 things you can see along the Amazon River that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Teatro Amazonas (Manaus)
You can see a performance at the beautiful Teatro Amazonas (Amazon Theatre) in Manaus. The theatre is a Renaissance-style opera house located in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. The theatre was built in an extravagant fashion to show off the city’s prosperity during the highpoint of the rubber industry, and also transformed Manaus into a prominent center of culture. It was designed and built by the best of Europe’s craftsmen, using only top quality building materials from different parts of the world. The glass was from France, the marble from Italy, roofing tiles from Germany and the steel from Scotland. The Theatre which is now the home of the Amazonas Philharmonic Orchestra is still the central structure of the city. You can enjoy different performances throughout the year, including the annual Amazonas Opera Festival between March and May.
Rubber Plantation Cities and Museums
Did you know that rubber comes from trees? It’s true! Natural rubber happens to be derived from rubber trees in tropical regions such as the Amazon Rainforest. From 1879 to 1912, cities in the Amazon grew in prosperity due to the rubber boom caused by a high demand for rubber for bicycles and automobiles. The rubber barons used the newly generated revenue from the rubber industry to build elaborate mansions in Iquitos, Peru and Manaus, Brazil. You can visit these cities to see some fantastic architecture and get a glimpse of the development that took place at that time. You can also visit the Museu do Seringal Vila Paraíso, a museum that was restored from an original rubber plantation. It showcases the conditions endured by rubber tappers, furniture and utensils that testify to the richness of the rubber plantations and information on how theft and illegal exportation of rubber trees to Asia ultimately ended their monopoly.
Meeting of the Waters (Manaus, Brazil)
You can take a boat tour from Manaus to a special place in the Amazon called Encontro das Aguas (Meeting of the Waters). This is the meeting point of two of the world’s greatest rivers; the Rio Negro with its dark waters (the color of black coffee) and the Solimões stream with its light muddy water. This creates a spectacular visual effect because the waters don’t blend completely. Instead, they flow side by side for another 6 km downstream before finally merging to form the Amazon River. This unique phenomenon is caused by differences in the speed of the currents and water temperature and density of the two different rivers.
Pink Dolphins in the Amazon River
One exotic animal you can expect to see along the Amazon is the Pink dolphin. Tourists come from around the world to see the smiling faces of the Pink dolphins, splashing in the Amazon’s fresh waters. Pink dolphins are very curious and will frequently approach tourists that are swimming or canoeing, which offers guests a chance to see the magnificent mammal up-close. The Amazon pink river dolphin or “Bolivian Bufeo” can mostly be found in the Bolivian Amazon and has been declared Bolivia’s Natural Heritage.
The World’s Smallest Monkeys ( Pygmy marmosets)
Pygmy marmosets are another much-loved animal for tourists to see along the Amazon River. These cute, squirrel-sized monkeys are so small that they can actually fit on your palm or cling to your finger! Pygmy Marmosets enjoy exploring the forest canopy along the Amazon River because their population relies on the available tree and food resources. They stick to the river’s shoreline in order to use the trees as a source of food, protection, and shelter. They can be found throughout the western Amazon Basin, including Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
Black Caiman in Lakes and Waterways
Another popular activity in the Amazon is discovering the nocturnal black caimans on a night time safari. You can join groups of people cruising the riverbanks in the evening, in search of these huge nocturnal lizards that resemble crocodiles. The black caiman is an intimidating looking animal and one of the top predators in the Amazon. Until recently, these fascinating reptiles were under threat of extinction because they were being hunted for their skin.
Giant Water Lilies
You can take a boat to the 688-hectare Janauari Ecological Park where you can see an entire lake covered with giant water-lilies. These vibrant lilies can only be found in the Amazon region and have leaves that extend about 10 feet wide, with a stalk that can stretch 26 feet down to the bottom of the river. They are one of the most extraordinary plants you can find in the Amazonia. Their leaves are so big they are able to support the weight of a small child!
There are many other incredible experiences awaiting you in the Amazon. Make sure to book a tour from a certified tour operator because most activities are best done with a professionally trained guide.