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Lodge versus cruise: Exploring the Peruvian Amazon

Lodge versus cruise: Exploring the Peruvian Amazon

You haven’t truly experienced the wonders of South America until you’ve immersed yourself in the canopy of the Amazon and explored its many waterways. Until you’ve got up close and personal with a macaw and heard a howler howl… Why go The numbers don’t lie. The Amazon Rainforest covers about 2,100,000 square miles, making it far and away the largest rain forest on the planet. The Amazon River, without which there would be no forest, is the world’s largest river by volume and – recent studies suggest – also the world’s longest.  The Amazon Rainforest is shared by eight different countries, with Brazil, Peru and Columbia boasting the largest swaths. Photo credit: R.Rodrich / Delfin Amazon Cruises By area 60% of Peru is rainforest, but only 5% of the population calls it home. What it lacks in humans it makes up for with a multitude of plants, insects, birds, animals and fish that is quite simply without compare. The Amazon is the most biodiverse place on the planet …
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5 iconic Amazon animals

5 iconic Amazon animals

Your once in-a-lifetime adventure to the world’s largest and richest rainforest will be packed with wildlife highlights from start to finish. Here are a few of the most exciting species found near Puerto Maldonado... Giant river otter (Pteronura brasiliensis). These graceful river giants, which attain lengths of 8ft (if you include their long tails) and weights of 70lb, are the largest member of the Mustelid family. Only 5,000 remain in the wild (in an area the size of the Lower 48!) but the oxbow lakes of Tambopata in South-Eastern Peru are one of the best places in the world to see them. The sociable otters who live in groups of up to 20 individuals are expert fishermen who eat approximately 3 kilograms of fish every day. Each otter is born with a uniquely shaped patch of cream-colored fur on its throat – much like a human fingerprint this can be used by rangers and scientists to identify individuals. They’re also extremely vocal animals…as you will find out on your Amazon …
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Why the tallest structure in LatAm is in the remote Amazon

Why the tallest structure in LatAm is in the remote Amazon

Forget the skyscrapers of Sao Paulo, Santiago and Buenos Aires, the tallest man-made structure on the South America continent is situated in the remote Amazon rain-forest, over 100 miles from the Brazilian town of Manaus. Admittedly there are no offices or apartments in the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO). Instead it was built for purely scientific purposes as a joint venture between the Max Planck Institute  and the Brazilian Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazonia. The 325-metre (1066 ft.) high tower is equipped with machinery and instruments which will collect data that is designed to enable us to make better decisions about climate change in the future. Its research objectives include: Collecting data on the influence of the vast, largely untouched rainforest on the climate. Understanding sources and sinks of greenhouse gases such as CO2, methane and N2O. Investigating the formation of aerosols which is important for cloud formation. Investigating the transport …
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In search of the elusive tapir

In search of the elusive tapir

My relationship with the tapir has been frustrating to say the least. I have smelt tapirs (yummy), heard tapirs, and found fresh tapir tracks and dung, but I have never clapped eyes on these long-nosed oddities. In hindsight my experience is not unusual – the tapir may be the biggest animal in the Amazon, but it is also one of the hardest to see. The forest-dwelling Brazilian (aka South American) tapir can weigh as much as 700lb, and is a cross between a pig, a rhinoceros and a horse. Apart from its size, the most impressive thing about the tapir is its nose or proboscis. This highly flexible structure contains no bone or cartilage (much like an elephant’s trunk), and these vegetarian beasts use it like a finger to get at hard-to-reach plants and berries. Tapirs often exhibit the freakish sounding ‘flehmen response’ where they raise their snouts and bare their teeth, in order to detect scents more accurately. Tapirs range in colour from brown to grey, but the stripy babies are without …
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Ten amazing facts about the Amazon Rainforest

Ten amazing facts about the Amazon Rainforest

Anyone who’s spent any time in the Amazon will know that normal rules don’t apply in the rainforest. But just how stupendous is it? The Amazon River – without which there would be no forest – is the world’s largest river by volume. It’s roughly 4000 miles long and in the rainy season it can reach 120 miles in width. There are no bridges which span the river. The Amazon Rainforest currently covers 2,100,000 square miles: a figure that is, sadly, diminishing every day. It is by far the largest rainforest in the world – in fact it represents more than half of the world’s rainforests. The rainforest is shared by 8 different countries. Brazil has the lion’s share (61%) but Peru and Colombia also have significant swathes of jungle. Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname all have smaller slices of the pie. 10% of the world’s species live in the Amazon Rainforest. One in five of the world’s bird and fish species live in the Amazon. A quarter square kilometer (62 acres) of …
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Peru's Pink Dolphins Swim the Amazon

Peru's Pink Dolphins Swim the Amazon

This article is part of our series on South American animals. Probably the most disappointing animal in the Amazon is the pink dolphin. It just doesn’t live up to its name. Pink connotes cuteness like a 5-year-old’s birthday dress or perhaps high fashion like a flashy flamingo. Pink dolphins, also called botos or an Amazon river dolphin, are neither. In fact, they don’t even live up to our expectations of a dolphin: sleek, graceful, and beautiful. If you took a wad of chewed bubble gum out of your mouth, rolled it into a fat, lumpy tube and stuck a snout on it, you’d have a pink dolphin miniature. These are not lovely creatures. Amazon river dolphins weigh up to 450 pounds and can grow to be 8 feet long. And though they can’t compare in grace to their salt water cousins, Amazon river dolphins are incredibly adapted to their habitat. They are the only dolphin species able to move its neck side to side. This horizontal motion—rather than vertical one—and disjointed vertebra allow botos …
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SA Goes to the Jungle: Photos from the Peruvian Amazon

SA Goes to the Jungle: Photos from the Peruvian Amazon

Our Cuzco Manager recently hopped over to Puerto Maldonado to visit Peru’s southern Amazon. Allison spent 5 days in the jungle, enjoying her Amazon lodge, Reserva Amazonica, and exploring everything the Peruvian Amazon has to offer. Here are some photos from her trip. Lizards So this might not be one of the two new species of lizards recently discovered in Peru,but he is still worth admiring. As a country, Peru has the greatest diversity of woodlizards, and is fifth for reptile diversity. Giant River Otter #1 Adorable river otter, take 1. Three giant river otters having a snack. These animals eat primarily fish, and require an impressive 6 to 9 pounds of food per day. Giant River Otter #2 Adorable river otter, take 2, because they're just too cute. Giant river otters are the largest otters in the world and only found in South America. Sadly, they are also an endangered species. Amazon Lodge Sleep in a tree: The grown-up version of a tree house. Brave guests can choose to stay …
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SA Fan Photo - Sloth in Iquitos

SA Fan Photo - Sloth in Iquitos

Hanging about in Iquitos, this great wildlife shot of a sleepy sloth was taken by recent traveler Ric Haas. He cruised 250 miles up the Amazon River during his recent trip into the Peruvian rainforest. Sloths are the slowest mammals in the world and, coincidentally, October 20 is the second annual “International Sloth Day,” as declared by a South American non-profit dedicated to protecting xenarthra—a group of mammals that includes sloths, anteaters, and armadillos, all of which only live in the Americas. You can read more about Ric's travel experience here.
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Planning and Packing for the Amazon

Planning and Packing for the Amazon

Planning an excursion in the dense Amazon Rainforest can be both exciting and intimidating. It’s a place where nature rules supreme and visitors are at the whim of the environment, so being properly prepared is essential. To help you keep your feet dry and mind at ease, here’s what to expect and how to pack for an adventure into Peru’s Amazon. Weather in the Amazon The Amazon is generally a hot and humid environment. Daytime temperatures average in the high 80s to 90s and nighttime temperatures drop only slight to fall between the 60s and low 70s; however, during the winter months (June-August) random cold fronts called friajes may pass through, lowering temperatures to the 50s. Keep in mind that the summer months (December –March) correspond with the rainy season. The rainiest months are January and February and you can expect heavy downpours during these months (although showers are common year-round). During the summer rainy season, river levels rise dramatically and boats are able …
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@ Pucallpa, Peruvian Amazon

@ Pucallpa, Peruvian Amazon

We’re always on the lookout for up-and-coming South America destinations that offer our travelers the ideal mix of authenticity and comfort. Yoly Anaya, our Operations Specialist, recently headed into the Peruvian Amazon to explore the often-overlooked and rustic jungle town of Pucallpa. She’s pictured here browsing the stalls of local artisans.
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Into the Amazing Amazon

Into the Amazing Amazon

Immense. Overwhelming.  Incredibly, vibrantly alive. The Amazon Rainforest is unlike any other place in South America; unlike any other place in the world. It covers 1.4 billion acres, touches 9 countries, and contains more animal species than anywhere else on Earth. Its vastness conceals dozens of indigenous Amazonian tribes that manage to make their home in one of the world’s last untamed regions, completely untouched by the 21st century. For nature lovers, adventure seekers, and travel enthusiasts, a tour of the Amazon cannot be beat. I last visited the Amazon in January, during its rainy season. Peru’s two main launching points for excursions into the Amazon are Iquitos (in the north) and Puerto Maldonado (in the south). I’d come from Puerto Maldonado. From town I traveled by motorized covered canoe up river to my Amazon lodge, getting my first taste of Peru’s famous forest. Although the Amazon Basin covers more than half of the county, only 5% of Peru’s population lives here. It …
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Adventure in Manu

Adventure in Manu

An early start, we began from Cuzco, driving through cobblestone streets walled in by the fusion of Incan stones and ornate Colonial balconies.  It was not long before we were high above the city, passing the remarkable fortress of Sacsayhuaman.  Periodically shepherds passed by with their herds, and small towns dotting the route were just coming to life.  After a stop for breakfast in Pisaq, we followed a deep canyon to one of the last Andean outposts, Paucartambo, a picturesque village situated on the river banks.  Less than an hour later, we stood, enveloped in clouds, at the gates of the Manu Biosphere Reserve. Manu Cloud Forest Manu is renowned for being one of the largest and most diverse ecosystems in the world.  It covers an area of almost 20,000 square kilometers, ranges in altitude from 150 to over 3500 meters above sea level, and is home to more than 15,000 species of plants and 1,000 species of birds.  Due to its inaccessibility and strict limitations on use, the park …
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