PERU TRAVEL PLANNER
The Amazon Rainforest is a vast region that spans the
border of eight rapidly developing countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru,
Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, an
overseas territory of France.
The landscape contains:
* One in ten known species on Earth
* 1.4 billion acres of dense forests, half of the planet’s remaining
* 4,100 miles of winding rivers
* 2.6 million square miles, about 40 percent of South America, in the
Reflecting environmental conditions as well as past human influence, the
Amazon is made up of a mosaic of ecosystems and vegetation types
including rainforests, seasonal forests, deciduous forests, flooded
forests, and savannas. The basin is drained by the Amazon River, the
world's largest river in terms of discharge, and the second longest
river in the world after the Nile. The river is made up of over 1,100
tributaries, 17 of which are longer than 1000 miles, and two of which
(the Negro and the Madeira in Brazil) are larger, in terms of volume,
than the Congo (formerly the Zaire) river. The river system is the
lifeline of the forest and its history plays an important part in the
development of its rainforests.
The Amazon Rainforest covers every corner east of the Andes, from the
Equator to the southern borders with Brazil and Bolivia. Peru's Amazon
Rainforest sustains the World's richest biodiversity, in particular
within the Manu, Pacaya Samiria, and Tambopata natural sanctuaries.
THE AMAZON RIVER TODAY
Today the Amazon River is the MOST voluminous river on Earth, eleven
times the volume of the Mississippi, and drains an area equivalent in
size to the United States. During The high water season, the river's
mouth may be 300 miles wide and every day up to 500 billion cubic feet
of water (5,787,037 cubic feet / sec) flow Into the Atlantic. For
reference, the Amazon's daily freshwater discharge Into the Atlantic is
enough to supply New York City's freshwater Needs for nine years. The
force of the current - from sheer water volume alone - you cause Amazon
River water to continue flowing 125 miles out to sea Before mixing with
Atlantic salt water. Early sailors Could drink freshwater out of the
ocean Before sighting the South American continent.
The river current tons of suspended sediment Carries all the way from
the Andes and Gives the river a characteristic muddy whitewater
appearance. It is Calculated 106 million cubic feet That of suspended
sediment are swept Into the ocean Each Day. The result from the silt at
the mouth of Deposited Amazon is Majaro the island, a river island about
the size of Switzerland.
How large is the Amazon rainforest?
In Brazil, the Amazon covers surface area of 4,100,000 square
kilometers (1,583,000 square miles), of which around 3.4 million sq km
(1.3 million sq mi) are presently forested. Accounting for parts of the
Amazon outside of Brazil, the total extent of the Amazon is estimated at
8,235,430 sq km (3,179,715 sq mi). or comparison, the land area of the
United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) is 9,629,091 square
In total, the Amazon River drains about 6,915,000 square kilometers
(2,722,000 square miles), or roughly 40 percent of South America.
Area: Seven million square kilometres spread in 9 South American
nations: Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Venezuela,
Suriname, and French Guiana. It's the largest rainforest on Earth, as
large as Western Europe or the whole of the US. It covers around 40% of
the South American continent.
Ecosystem: The Amazon Rainforest accounts for more than half of
the planet's remaining tropical forests, and it is thought to be the
most diverse ecosystem on Earth: more than 1/3 of all species in the
world live here. It has the world's highest diversity of birds (some
1.300 species) and freshwater fish (3.000 species), as well as 10% of
Earth's mammals (more than 400 species) and 15% of land-based plant
species, with as many as 300 species of tree in a single hectare.
The Amazon River is the largest river on Earth in terms of watershed
area, number of tributaries and volume of water discharged. Its water
volume accounts for approximately 1/5 of the World's total river flow;
larger, indeed, than the combined flow of the next top ten largest
rivers flowing into the ocean.
There is not complete agreement regarding the length of the Amazon
river, as measurements vary according to methodology. Its length,
though, lies anywhere between 6,259 km (3,889 miles) and 6,800 km (4,225
miles). It has over 1,000 tributaries, 8 of which are over 2,000
The source of the Amazon river, according to a National Geographic
Society expedition, is to be found in a slope of Nevado Mismi --a
18,363-foot-high (5,597-meter) mountain in the southern Peruvian Andes.
The river though is not formally known as Amazon until the confluence of
two of its main tributaries, the Ucayali river and the Marañón river.
Tropical rainforests across the world are highly diverse, but share
several defining characteristics including climate, precipitation,
canopy structure, complex symbiotic relationships, and diversity of
species. Every rainforest does not necessarily conform to these
characteristics and most tropical rainforests do not have clear
boundaries, but may blend with adjoining mangrove forest, moist forest,
montane forest, or tropical deciduous forest.
GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
Tropical rainforests lie in the "tropics", between the Tropic of
Capricorn and Tropic of Cancer. In this region sunlight strikes Earth at
roughly a 90-degree angle resulting in intense solar energy (solar
energy diminishes as you move farther north or south). This intensity is
due to the consistent day length on the equator: 12 hours a day, 365
days per year (regions away from the equator have days of varying
length). This consistent sunlight provides the essential energy
necessary to power the forest via photosynthesis.
Because of the ample solar energy, tropical rainforests are usually warm
year round with temperatures from about 72-93F (22-34C),.JPG although
forests at higher elevations, especially cloud forests, may be
significantly cooler. The temperature may fluctuate during the year, but
in some equatorial forests the average may vary as little as 0.5F (0.3C)
throughout the year. Temperatures are generally moderated by cloud cover
and high humidity.
AMAZON RAINFOREST PERU
Over the last 20 years the practice of eco-tourism has developed
throughout Peru. If the money that it generates is used responsibly and
pumped back into local economies and conservation projects this form of
managed tourism may well prove to be one of the few counter-destructive
economic forces available in preserving the jungle. As more people visit
the jungle and learn about its flora and fauna more people will become
involved in the race to save them. Local people and governments will
also see that the long term value of the rainforest may be worth more if
the rainforest remains intact.
Peru currently has roughly 5 percent of its territory protected by a
system of around 50 national parks, reserves, sanctuaries and other
designated areas, a process which has developed extremely well since it
was begun in the 1960s. Two of these protected areas, the Manu Biosphere
Reserve and the Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone, can be found in Peru's
southern jungle while the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve can be found
in the northern jungle and accessed from Iquitos.
The Southern Jungle
Manu Biosphere Reserve
No other park in the world can equal Manu for species richness. Over
1000 birds have been identified, 15000 plants and 13 species of monkey
as well as millions of insects. In Manu there are healthy populations of
jaguar, tapir, black caiman and the giant otter. These animals have not
been subjected to widespread hunting as they have in many other jungle
areas and are therefore less fearful of humans, increasing the
possibility of actually catching a glimpse of them. Access to the Manu
Biosphere Reserve is from Cusco, traveling with one of the recognized
Tambopata Candamo Reserved Zone
A number of jungle lodges in the Tambopata Candamo Reserved Zone offer
an excellent alternative for those travelers who don't have the time or
money to visit Manu. This giant reserved zone contains some of the
richest rainforest in the world and includes the entire watershed of the
Rio Tambopata which is currently at the forefront of tropical rainforest
conservation. Access is from Puerto Maldonado ( half an hours' flight
The Northern Jungle
Iquitos is the northern gateway to the Peruvian Amazon basin. Most
tour operators offer trips of at least 2 days, a blend of jungle lodge,
camping, and jungle trekking. The protected Pacaya - Samiria National
Reserve is located 120km by river from Iquitos and is not usually
visited by organized tours although some local tourist agencies can help
you with making travel arrangements. Notable wildlife found in the
Reserve includes the paiche fish which, weighing as much as 300kg and
measuring up to 3m long, is the world's largest freshwater fish. Pink
dolphin, giant river turtles, the manatee, black caiman, giant otters,
black spider monkeys, common wooly monkeys and many species of Amazon
birds can also be observed.
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