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The Amazon River

Referred to by the Brazilians as the Amazonas, the mighty Amazon River is the largest in the world. It is made up of an intricate maze of tributaries and spans 3,100 miles. The river begins in the Andes foothills where the Ucayali and Maranon Rivers merge and serves as a major bi-way for its indigenous inhabitants.

Its two main tributaries are the Solimoes and Negro rivers. Each has its own organic properties, making the Solimoes yellow and the Negro black. The encontro da aquas is where the two waters merge and it is an amazing sight. It is possible and easy to arrange for a boat ride to where this occurs.

Eco-tours of the river and surrounding rainforests have become increasingly popular. There are tours for all types of travelers. You can be immersed in the jungle and live like the indigenous tribes or simply take a day boat trip on the river with an informative guide. If you would rather not rough it in the jungle there is also the option to stay overnight at various lodges.

A one-day river trip usually includes the enontro da aquas, (the meeting of the waters), and a visit to a few typical riverside settlements. You may also get a chance to explore a small river channel and spot some birds and wildlife of the rainforest.

If you want to immerse yourself even more in the jungle you could opt for the three to five day river trip. This expedition usually includes the Anavilhanas archipelago on the Rio Negro where you'll be led by a guide on a trek through the jungle. A wider variety of wildlife can also be found on the Solimoes River if your boat stops at Lago Mamori or Manacapuru.

Exploring the Amazon is not only a once in a lifetime experience, but your patronage can even help preserve it! Ecotourism brings money and employment to its inhabitants and supports an industry that conserves rather than exploits the environment.

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