Amazonia - A Green Travel Introduction

By Pamela Bloom
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To travel through the great Amazon River region in both Brazil and Peru is a confrontation with nature you will never forget. The innate wisdom of the forest, the life-and-death drama of millions of species, are realities that will literally enter your bones as you tramp through the rainforest, cruise down tributaries, or raft over rapids. But these days traveling the Amazon is as much about people as it is confronting fauna and flora. With encroaching modernization and the resulting destruction of the rainforest, you might—if you're not careful—find the forest floor literally disappearing under your feet as you're caught in the middle of stand-offs between rubber tappers and cattlemen, native Indians and goldminers, bureaucrats and brokers, all of whom are playing tug-of-war with a natural patrimony vital to the survival of our planet. But that's also the reason why traveling to the Amazon can be a life-changing experience. Whether you opt for a leisurely air-conditioned cruise down the big river or a spine-tingling trek through primary jungle, you're sure to meet someone or some "thing" that will trigger your "green" consciousness and give you a different attitude toward all the paper products you waste each year. Simply, if you want to be inspired with a deep sense of world mission while coincidentally having a great time, plan a life-changing trip to Amazonia.

Peru or Brazil?
The Peruvian Amazon differs from its corresponding region in Brazil by a terrain uncommon for a tropical system. In Peru the Amazon rises high up in the Andes Mountains as the Maranon, then joins the Ucayali to become the largest river in the world. Here, the altitude prevents the climate from becoming oppressive and the descending landscapes all prove to be gorgeous: the running valleys, ridges, and plateaus resemble those in Kenya. The lowlands in Peru's southern forests most resemble those in Brazil—dominated as they are by floodplains of meandering waters. In Brazil, though, the majority of Amazonian terrain is flat jungle land generally left unflooded but dotted by occasionally flooded rivers and regularly flooded plains.

Published: 19 Jan 2000 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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