What is the Amazon famous for?
In South America, in states such as Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela and others, there is a vast natural region called the Amazon. The region is located in the valley of one of the greatest rivers on Earth – the Amazon, whose waters literally cut through the entire South American continent. The area, on which the dense and in some places still unexplored tropical forests are located, is equal to 5 million km².
The climate of Amazonia, also known as the “lungs of the planet”, can be described as tropical humid. The average temperature index here is located at 28 degrees Celsius, with a relative amount of precipitation from one and a half to three thousand millimeters a year.
History of the Amazon region
The settlement of the territory of the Amazon forests began about 11 thousand years ago, as evidenced by the findings of archaeological expeditions. The first large Indian settlements began to appear on the border areas of the jungle not earlier than the 13th century AD. Europeans set foot on the Amazon land only in the middle of the 16th century. The pioneer is considered to be Francisco Orellana, the conquistador, to whom the area owes its name.
According to legend, the Europeans were inspired to name this vast area of Latin America because during the expedition the Spaniards came across a tribe of women who fought as fiercely as the heroines of Greek myths, the “Amazons”.
The Harsh Hospitality of the Amazon
Do not be fooled: the charming inhabitants of the Amazon jungle look only in photos
Amazonia has never been considered a hospitable place for explorers, too many scientists have killed a lot of minds in this land. Some died at the hands of the local tribesmen, some fell victim to tropical diseases and insects, and some, lost in the virgin jungle of “Amazonia Rain Forest”, could not get food or water suitable for drinking, and so remained here forever, not being able to find a way out.
Legends of the Amazonia
There are many legends associated with the Amazon jungle. They say that this place is inhabited by unknown to science semi-mythical creatures in every way avoiding humans.
There are also rumors about the hidden deep in the jungle Indian city of Eldorado, where the leader of the tribe fled from the Spaniards had hidden untold wealth.
Amazon region: a trip to the jungle Journey to the Amazon: extreme, not comfortable, but exciting!
By the way, as for the treasure of Eldorado, many supporters of the theory of alternative history believe that they are not gold at all. After all, the South American Indians considered it only a beautiful stone, having no value. But the ancient technology to build the pyramids and perfectly stacked giant stones from which their cities were built, had value and importance to the Indians. And that is why they were hidden in the impregnable city, which is still safely guarded by Amazonia, one of the harshest regions of our planet.
There are legends and beliefs about the spirits that inhabit these forests. About mystical portals and space bases of aliens, supposedly hidden from human eyes under a psi-field, causing a sense of panic when approaching it. And quite a few more of this kind of folklore stories that have not found scientific confirmation.
Reading such stories makes you wonder what scientific expeditions spend their time and money on from numerous grants and government programs to explore the Amazon region.
Scientific discoveries in the region
Over the years of scientific work to explore the area, however, many truly valuable discoveries have still been made. For example, it was in the Amazon region that colossal reserves of rubber were found, from which rubber was made before the method of its chemical production was discovered. More than 40 thousand plants have been discovered and studied here, many of which have unique properties and are used to produce expensive medicines that can help with serious illnesses. For example, modern scourges of mankind – hepatitis, AIDS and cancer.
According to scientists, the jungle is home to more than four hundred varieties of animals, and the local waters are more than three thousand different species of fish and hundreds of thousands of smaller representatives of river fauna. In addition to plants, animals, and birds, scientists regularly find tribes living here just as their ancestors did thousands of years ago. Scientific work on the Amazon is still going on. And yet vast areas of the jungle remain black spots on the map of the Earth.
Myths and legends shrouding the Amazon jungle are a source of inspiration for many – films are made and books are written about these places. And especially enterprising people gather groups of adventurers, armed with scientific equipment, to go and explore these places.
The journey through the Amazon on the Brazilian side begins in the town of Belém
However, knowledgeable people do not advise to go here without special training, equipment and a competent guide. Enthusiasm is good, but in these places it can cost your life. It is better to go to explore the jungle in a large group and along the tourist route, laid through the studied and relatively safe places. And then perhaps the Amazon will be more favorable to you!
The Amazon in Peru: 10 reasons to visit the rainforest
The Amazon in Peru covers 60% of the state, and the fourth largest rainforest in the world boasts remarkable biodiversity. We want to tell you 10 reasons to visit these places.
From Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley to colonial cities like Cusco and Lima, Peru has no shortage of attractions, especially for ecotourism, as the region is incredibly rich in flora and fauna. There are more than 7,300 different plant species in the area, with more than 700 ferns alone. The rainforest is also home to approximately 180 species of reptiles, 260 amphibians, 300 mammals, 700 fish, 1,800 birds, and 2,500 butterflies. This makes the region a popular destination for nature lovers. Here are a few good reasons to consider taking a new trip.
Encounter amazing animals
Peruvian tour operators offer a variety of Amazon cruises that offer the broadest view of the rainforest and its inhabitants. Whether on land or in the water, the surrounding rainforest is literally teeming with life. Sightseeing guides watch through binoculars for any sign of movement in the forest and help see wildlife that city dwellers will never see for themselves. The captain, on the other hand, is happy to steer the vessel closer to help the wildlife photographers on board take the perfect shot. From tiny poison dart frogs and pink-footed tarantulas to giant armadillos and giant otters, these are just a small fraction of the rainforest animals.
Photo: Owl monkey / gettyimages.se
See the Amazon shamans firsthand.
Locals call them kuranderos . In the Amazon, shamanism has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries: fathers taught their sons that how each plant in the Amazon rainforest serves a specific purpose and some can cure serious illnesses and save people.
Now shamanism is under serious threat of extinction, as fewer and fewer members of the younger generation are ready to take the customs of their ancestors seriously and learn ancient practices. Nevertheless, tourists are offered not only to meet a shaman but also to take part in a sacred shamanic blessing ceremony: a curanderos waving a bundle of herbs over your head and melodiously chanting, removes all negative emotions and leaves a feeling of purification.
Photo: curanderos in Peru / nationalgeographic.com.es
Engage in berding.
Birding (bird watching for the purpose of enjoying rather than studying) has become increasingly popular lately. People enjoy looking at birds, listening to their voices, and distinguishing between birds by their colors and the way they sing. Peru has more birds than any other country in the world, and the Amazon is full of them. Birding is one of the main goals of river cruises. Guides are armed not only with binoculars, but also with bird guides to help with both spotting and identifying hundreds of birds. We told you about which bird Peruvians revere the most in this article.
Photo: Ara parrots / tr.pinterest.com
Catch a piranha for dinner
Found throughout the Amazon basin, red-bellied piranhas are beautiful fish that average 10-15 cm in length. Their reputation as ferocious predators is somewhat exaggerated: research has proven that they are timid and can attack mainly for protection. But they are omnivores and easily bite on raw meat.
Catching piranhas is one of the popular pastimes. The process is simple: you put a piece of raw chicken on a hook attached to a thin fishing line and then wait for the toothy fish to bite. The best part is that the chef fries the day’s catch for dinner, and although the fish are small and a little bony, they are quite tasty.
Photo: Red-bellied Piranha / istockphoto.com
Explore traditional cuisine
Peruvian cuisine is widely considered one of the best in the world, incorporating dishes from Africa, China, Italy, Japan and Spain. Food in the Peruvian Amazon tends to be much simpler and less culturally diverse than in major gourmet cities like Lima. Nevertheless, the dishes are fresh and flavorful.
One of the most popular dishes is x uane, which is made from rice, beans, meat, olives, and a hard-boiled egg, wrapped in bijao leaves and boiled. You can also try ceviche, one of the most famous dishes of the country. It is essentially a combination of raw fish, hot chili peppers and onions marinated in lime juice: a kind of Peruvian carpaccio.
Photo: juanet / pinterest.com
Helping local communities.
Many companies that organize river cruises collaborate with and help local Amazon villages: selling their handmade crafts as souvenirs, bringing food or stationery for village schools, donating them. Tourists are also told about it, and they, in turn, can take some notebooks, pencils and paints with them to give to local children to thank them for their warm hospitality.
Getting to know the Ribereño.
They are an entire people who have lived on the banks of the river for generations. Peruvians call them ribeños, or “river people.” They are some of the friendliest and most hospitable people on the planet: always welcome guests, willingly invite them into their home and tell them about their life, traditions, and art. And they’re also happy to pose for photographers, helping them create incredible pictures.
See an untouched forest.
Deforestation has been a huge problem in the Amazon for decades, but the social movement Save the Rainforest has helped preserve the region’s valuable natural resources and biodiverse ecosystems. But while Brazil and Bolivia have yet to reforest, the Peruvian Amazon is almost untouched by deforestation: the government has banned more than 80 percent of its primary forests from being touched.
Learn new things.
It’s about traditional knowledge held by indigenous peoples but neglected by modern history and culture textbooks. Like shamanism, it is passed on by word of mouth between villagers. It is worth saying that today scientists have slightly revised their priorities, and traditional knowledge is a valuable source of information for archaeologists, biologists, climatologists, ecologists, ethnobotanists and other researchers seeking to better understand how people lived in the past, how the climate and fauna changed, and how the ecosystems of our planet worked.
Visit the Majun people.
There are fewer than 500 Mayjun people left in Peru, most of whom live in four villages between the Napo and Putumayo rivers. This area is recognized as a conservation area to protect the indigenous people from total extinction and their territories from logging. Travelers have a chance to spend a few nights in these areas, which are home to many animals, including giant river otters, jaguars, and tapirs. But the highlight of the trip will be a day spent with the indigenous people, a chance to learn about their traditions and customs, both old, such as honey harvesting, and modern – using GPS and camera traps to track the movements of animals and hunters.
In general, there is a lot to see in Peru, and recently the joy awaited archaeologists who found a monster in the Ocucahoe Desert.
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