By December 23, 2017 January 22nd, 2018 South America, Travel Stories

The Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest in the world and treasured for its biodiversity. The vast Amazon area is recognised for its virgin jungle, waterfalls, lakes, nature reserves and especially the amazing Amazon River system. It is also the habitat of ancient indigenous communities and a countless number of unique plants and animals.

Located east of the Andes, the Peruvian Amazon shares a border with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia. It comprises 60% of Peru which has the second-largest portion of the Amazon rainforest after Brazil.

Our Amazon exploration began from the world’s largest jungle locked city with no road access. Iquitos is linked to the outside world by air and by river. It is a prosperous, vibrant jungle metropolis teeming with the usual. In the late 19th century it became the centre of export of rubber production from the Amazon Basin.

After a quick look around Iquitos we travelled by road to Nauta to board the luxurious Delfin III for a three-night cruise along the Amazon. Our cruise took us through one of the most pristine areas of flooded forest in the Amazon basin and we learned about the flora, fauna and indigenous communities from our local guides.

In the remote upper reaches of the Amazon River we visited the protected Pacaya-Samiria Reserve wildlife area deep within the Amazon rainforest. The two-million-hectare reserve is home to a huge range of birds, mammals, fish and reptiles.

Climbing aboard the expedition skiffs we explored pristine wilderness areas that teem with the Amazon’s wildlife and some amazing plant life – like the colossal water lilies; the world’s largest aquatic plants. We also encountered indigenous people living in communities along the river.

We learnt about the fascinating flora and myriad bird life, searched for freshwater dolphins and scanned the jungle canopy for monkeys.  We fished for piranha. I even went swimming but not where we fished for piranha’s!

The river is named after female warriors of Greek mythology and fittingly, the Amazon is itself a place of nearly mythical status. This is a river whose size is legendary but, actually, the little things are what make it so special.