The Amazon is considered one of the natural wonders of the world. According to the latest data, it is she who is the longest river in the world. From the source of Maranon to the Atlantic Ocean, the Amazon overcomes a path of 6992 kilometers.
The basin area and river delta are also the largest in the world. The river was opened to the civilized world by the Spanish conquistadors in 1542. The river basin was named Amazonia.
This is the richest natural kingdom, whose area is comparable to the whole of Australia. The unique ecosystem, thanks to humans, has been threatened with destruction in recent decades.
The famous river, due to its remoteness and length, remains exotic for most people, is not particularly well known. We will consider the main myths about this unique natural world.
Myths about the Amazon
Here you can easily see animals in their natural environment. Many people come here expecting to see jaguars, anacondas and otters on the banks of the famous river. The truth is, the Amazon is not a zoo but a habitat. Animals usually hide for protection from enemies and from humans. To observe virgin nature, you need perfect silence and the use of all your senses. Hearing the rustle, you can see the monkey flashed by. And if you're lucky, colorful birds digging in the clay on the river bank will show themselves in the Tambopata reserve. It is easy to meet monkeys, intelligent otters. There are generally fewer animals near the villages, since they are hunted. But there are many birds and insects.
The Amazon is dangerous. Many people know about the dangers of the river; at least predatory piranhas are worth. And although a lot of jaguars, anacondas and caimans really live in the pool, they avoid humans, preferring to eat something more natural for themselves. And most of the snakes and spiders here are not poisonous. These creatures also hide at the sight of a person. Tourists traveling along the Amazon do not usually encounter dangerous animals as they stay on well-groomed trails.
The conditions in the Amazon are very difficult. It is believed that the local rainforests are very hot, humid and infested with mosquitoes. The Amazon is wet during the rainy season and has a pleasant climate during the dry season. It can be hot in the open sun, but finding a shadow in the forest is not a problem. And mosquito bites can be avoided by wearing tight, long-sleeved clothing.
Only professional extreme travelers go to the Amazon. The nature reserves created on the banks of the river offer a variety of activities for tourists. Extreme adventure tours are of interest to few, the rest choose to walk along the trails in the cozy jungle. The hotels have hammocks, yoga areas, spa, massage, beauty treatments. And when some tourists climb into impassable thickets and climb trees, others on the shores of the Amazon relax and recuperate.
Aggressive savages with bows and arrows live on the shores of the Amazon. The river basin is still inhabited by tribes that avoid civilization. However, most people lead a familiar way of life. The indigenous people of the Amazon are strongly attached to forests, which give them their livelihood. And although the natives remember their roots and observe national customs, they wear modern clothes, go to schools and do business.
The Amazon is an ordinary rainforest. The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world. It covers 40% of all South America and lies in eight countries. Due to the incredible diversity of plant and animal species, the Amazon is called the genetic storehouse of nature. This region is home to many nationalities, which can be divided into 400 tribes. Many cultures have developed here, features of nature can be used in medicine, and some features of the animal world simply have no analogues.
The Amazons lived on the banks of the river. This myth dates back to before the discovery of the river. In their march through Colombia, the conquistadors allegedly met a people consisting of only women. In a report to the king of Spain, it was written that the hunters named by the Amazons gave the sons born to their fathers, and raised the daughters themselves. Slaves were needed only for the conception of children, while the social system in the tribe was republican. And in 1542, a detachment led by Francisco de Orellana even entered into a military confrontation with a detachment of Amazons. It is believed that the courage of the warriors impressed the Spaniards so much that they called the river they discovered the Amazon. But modern researchers are skeptical about this story. Most likely, the Spaniards met with ordinary Indian women, and took long-haired male warriors for the brave Amazons.
The Amazons got their name because they lived on the banks of this river. As mentioned above, the Spaniards met women warriors even before the opening of the river. The very same word "amazunu" was used by local tribes. It means "stormy onslaught of water." This is how the Indians reacted to the powerful tides of the river, running in shafts up to 5 meters and rumbling for hundreds of kilometers.
The jungle in the Amazon is completely overgrown, you will have to cut through them with a machete. First of all, walking with a machete is unsafe - you still need to be able to handle this tool. And it is better to leave this job to the Indians. Places where you really need to cut your way are rare. If we are talking about attractions near the town, then there will always be a hiking trail. When it comes to traveling between villages, the Indians keep the roads from overgrowing. You will have to hack on hunting trails, but if such a trip is done just for the sake of a photograph with a machete in hand, then you can ask the guide to take you to a flat overgrown area for a cool look. In reality, it is very difficult for a beginner to just walk through the jungle with a machete in hand.
The jungle is covered with flowers. This is true, but flowering is located on the upper tier of trees, hidden from human sight. Botanists believe that if all these flowers are lowered to the ground, then the jungle with its variegation will look like an alpine meadow. And so greenery predominantly reigns below. Flowers are rare, large and unusual. Bushes and parasitic plants on trees can bloom in the field of view.
You cannot swim in the waters of the Amazon and its tributaries because of the piranhas. It is believed that these predatory fish are the real nightmare of the Amazon. Piranhas pounce on prey, gnawing even a large animal to the skeleton in minutes. Hollywood horror films only replicate this misconception. There are two dozen species of this fish in total, not all of them are predatory. But sharp teeth are their classic weapon. Amazon researchers do not provide reliable cases of piranha attacks on a person with a fatal outcome. First of all, this fish is shy and easily gets stressed. In the rivers of the Amazon, children splash with might and main, women wash clothes there, without fear of predatory fish. But before swimming in the Amazon, it is better to ask the guide if this can be done. There are also no less dangerous caimans in the river.
There are cruises along the entire length of the Amazon. Most of the cruises are offered by Brazilian companies. Offers vary in price, departure point and route length. The best boat trips in the Amazon usually start in Manaus, Buenos Aires, Barbados, Puerto Rico and even Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Brazilian companies offer a standard 1,600-kilometer route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Brazilian city of Manaus. Large cruises usually include not only a stopover in the Amazon but also a visit to the Caribbean islands.
While sailing along the river, you can admire both of its banks. It seems that going on a water trip, you can enjoy the views of both banks of the river. In fact, even in the driest season, the average width of the Amazon is 8 kilometers. During the rainy season, the distance between the shores can increase up to 40 kilometers. If you get close to one shore to explore the jungle, the other will simply disappear from view. This is why passengers are encouraged to use binoculars during the cruise or get familiar with the area by going ashore.
All major cities in the Amazon lie in the jungle and are isolated from the rest of the world. This seems to be the city of Parintins, located between Manaus and Santarem. The settlement is home to 115 thousand people, but they have a strong connection with civilization. In 2006, Intel even equipped two schools, a hospital, and a community center with computers. The city has built a wireless network based on the advanced WiMax technology. In June, the city celebrates the Boi BUMBA festival, the second largest in Brazil. During this time, the "isolated" population doubles.
The cities on the Amazon are small and backward. In the middle of the Amazon lies the city of Manaus with a population of 1.7 million. The peak of its development was the period in 1890-1920, when the rubber boom was noted in the world. Thousands of people came here to work the trees. Manaus supplied almost 90% of the world's rubber. It quickly became one of the richest cities in the world. The architects brought in Scottish bricks to decorate the mansions of the rich. Manaus required English cast iron, Italian marble and French ceramics for the opera house. The building was opened in 1896 at a cost of $ 10 million. This theater has attracted renowned performers such as Enrico Caruso and Jenny Lind, despite its exotic location. The Manaus Opera, with its 200 chandeliers and 700 velvet chairs, is still magnificent today. The Municipal Market features Art Nouveau stained glass windows, copied from the Parisian complex of Les Halles. Manaus is an eco-tourist's paradise. There are hundreds of hotels with restaurants, shops, courts, swimming pools, beauty salons.
To see the Amazon, you have to go to Brazil. The river is so long and its basin is so large that the Amazon can be seen not only in Brazil, but also in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Bolivia. The river has more than 1100 tributaries, 17 of which are more than 1500 kilometers in length. For example, the Napo River in Ecuador is one of the largest in the Amazon basin.
Traveling through the Amazon will be accompanied by unbearable heat. Tourists are very surprised when it gets so cold in the evenings that they have to wear a long-sleeved shirt and trousers on board. This happens during the rainy season. And the average temperature in the region is no longer as high as it was in the mid-1980s.
When traveling through the Amazon, there is no trace of the oil industry. It seems that oil exploration is being carried out somewhere deep in the jungle. But international companies from the United States and China are looking for oil everywhere here. Oil depots, pumping stations and gas flares on towers can be seen right on the shores of the Amazon. And barges carrying heavy equipment go on the water.