The Amazon is the world’s longest river system, stretching through Brazil and into Peru, and the surrounding rainforest is the biggest on the planet. Among its densely packed trees you will find the richest and most diverse ecosystem, from unique plants to rare species of reptile and big cat.
But it’s not the nineteenth century so you don’t need to paddle through up the river wrestling anacondas – you can if you like, but we don’t recommend it – instead you do it in comfort in river cruise boats. So you will have a pleasant airy cabin and excellent food to nibble on as you watch the green landscape drift by.
While you’re there, you might spot pink dolphins jumping in and out of the water; and there will certainly be piranhas about – fish for one if you like, but be careful with its sharp little teeth.
Some of the riverboats carry smaller boats and power canoes that mean you can explore the smaller channels and creeks of the flooded forest. There you can hop onto dry land to walk in the forest to see monkeys jumping between the high branches, industrious ants carrying huge leaves back to their nests and colourful parrots flying overhead. You will have to try harder to make out the dark, sleepy form of sloths high up in the branches, but they’re worth the effort.
There are different towns to set off from or end up in. Manaus is a popular choice – a large town in the middle of the region that was built in the nineteenth century for rubber trading. Its attractive colonial square holds what must be the world’s only opera house in a jungle, and the Amazon Philharmonic Orchestra still plays there regularly, presenting you with a memorable end to your Amazonian adventure.