There are few places on Earth that are as biologically diverse and mysterious as the Amazon Rainforest. In fact, the rainforest is so difficult to penetrate that scientists continue to explore for the source of the Amazon River, with what is currently believed to be the source not being found until 2014. Though the Amazon is full of wonder and mystery, there are some specific things that tourists should not miss.
There are numerous boat tour operators on all areas of the Amazon. These tours provide guests with the opportunity to see the river and the surrounding jungle. Both land and water creatures can be seen on most tours. In addition, river tours provide the opportunity to witness area natives travelling the river to fish, trade or complete other trips. In fact, many native people may approach tourists to sell fresh food, trinkets and other items providing an opportunity to interact with the people of the area.
Canopy tours have become popular in all areas of the world, but the idea largely came into practice in the Amazon. With scores of colorful birds, monkeys and other creatures living in the trees and the swampy terrain of many areas being unfit for hiking, rope walkways are an ideal way to explore the rainforest. In addition to walkways, many tour providers also provide zip line experiences for the more adventurous.
Though many world foods have become common in the US, foods from the Amazon area are not often found on American menus. Local food offerings vary from exotic fruits to spicy foods that are not too unlike familiar Mexican food offerings. The Amazon provides a wide range of freshwater fish which are used in a variety of foods. Visitors can also have some of the freshest and most flavorful coffees available in the world.
The people of the rainforest live in diverse ways. Some are hunter-gatherers, some live primarily from fishing and others have farmed for thousands of years. In fact, many of the groups in the forest have had very little interaction with each other or the outside world. Each country along the Amazon works to protect their native people. Tourists should take time to learn about the native people of the area, but be careful to follow the laws meant to protect the native’s way of life.
The Amazon Rainforest comes alive at night. Whether it is sleeping in a primitive hut or simply dining outdoors, spending a quiet evening listening to the sounds of the forest is an experience not to be missed. Though heard in countless Hollywood movies and copied by sleep machines, the true tone and depth of the rainforest sounds can only be experienced in person. A trained guide can help tourists to identify the creatures making the sounds that are being heard.