In general, rainforests contain impressive plants and animals, but the Amazon is the largest container of species in the world. Totally, the world’s rainforests cover only 7 percent of the Earth’s surface but contain up to 50 percent of all the species on Earth. Covering 40 percent of the South American continent, the Amazon Rainforest contains some of the most untouched tropical wilderness of the world. The rainforested island of New Guinea and the next largest rainforests of the Congo in Africa can comfortably fit inside the vast expanse of Amazonia.
The Amazon Rainforest is home to wildlife-rich oxbow lakes, an incredible diversity of plants and animals, and beautiful scenery. For adventure seekers or nature lovers, this makes the Amazon a perfect place to visit.
The Amazon Rainforest crosses nine countries with the majority being contained within Brazil and Peru. Besides, it also crosses Ecuador, Venezuela, French Guiana, Guyana, Bolivia, Suriname, and Colombia.
The most biodiverse area of rainforest is found on the western side, including the rainforest of western Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru. The protected areas in Ecuador and Peru continually set records for species diversity. The reason may be the closeness to the Andes mountains and the refuges which remained forested during the last ice age. The tributaries staring on the Andes trickle down to form the Amazon River, providing water and nutrients to feed this incredible tropical forest.
The gateways to enter the Amazon are the base cities like Puerto Maldonado, Manaus, or Iquitos inside the rainforest. The main gateways offer the most options for Amazon tours, cruises, and lodges. Remember that the rainforest gateways’ general rule is that the larger the city, the farther you have to travel to enter less disturbed rainforest.
Manaus of Brazil, an option for visitors interested in an Amazon cruise, is the largest city in the Amazon Rainforest. However, if you want to access some more pristine rainforest with a huger number of animals and plants, you can visit from Alta Floresta or Tefe, the southern Brazilian cities, for some more pristine central rainforest.