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Hidden Gems in the Amazon Rainforest

When most people think of the Amazon rainforest, they think of the vast expense of green spaces and the world’s longest river of the same name. However, there are many hidden treasures worthy of your time. This stunning ecosystem dates back 55 million years. Spanish explorer Francisco Orellana named the forest after female warriors from the Tapuya tribe. These fighters reminded Orellana of the women from the Greek myth known as the Amazons. Nature, scientific discoveries, and history are reasons to enjoy a trip to this area. Anyone visiting this area will have a new appreciation for the Amazon rainforest’s global contributions.

Ancient Settlements and Cultures

man archaeologist carefully cleans the find with a brush
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Archaeologists uncovered 81 settlements dating from 1250-1500 A.D in March 2018. Jonas Gregorio de Souza, the archaeologist behind this discovery, estimates hundreds of similar settlements might exist in this area. Based on these discoveries, de Souza and his team estimated that as many as a million people may have occupied these cities. Additional research is necessary to determine whether more of these types of locations exist.

Impressive Animals of Many Sizes

Flock of scarlet and red-and-green macaws flying in amazonas rainforest in Manu National Park/Peru close to chuncho clay lick in Tambopata
Photo by Miguel on Adobe Stock

The Amazon jungle hosts some of the world’s most unique animals. These species have impressive survival skills suited to their environment.

Goliath Birdeate

Macro shot of a tarantula
Photo by Ronja Meyer on Pexels

The Goliath birdeater is the world’s heaviest tarantula and has a 5.1 in length. This colossal spider can easily catch and eat birds. This spider isn’t venomous, a relief to many Amazon explorers. However, the creature has prickly hairs that it may shed if you get too close, irritating your skin.

Potoo

Common Potoo, Nyctibius griseus, hidden on the tree trunk, wildlife from Asa Wright Nature Centre on Trinidad.
Photo by ondrejprosicky on Adobe Stock

The potoo is one of the more bizarre-looking birds you may come across. However, the avian’s appearance aids its camouflage skills, among some of the best in the animal kingdom. This bird can spend days without movement and keeps its eyes half-closed most of the time. One way the creature avoids detection is by perching on branches during the day and being active at night.

Jesus Lizard

Green Crested Basilisk Reptile Lizard. This is computer generated art from a photograph.
Photo by Laura Ballard on Adobe Stock

Amazonia is home to the basilisk, sometimes called the Jesus Lizard. This reptile earned its nickname because it runs across water efficiently. This lizard can run on the water because of the webbing between its toes. The creature can outrun predators or catch prey more quickly because of this skill.

Glass Frog

Selective focus photo of frog
Photo by Kelly on Pexels

The glass frog is green, but its color tells one part of the story. This frog has transparent skin that helps it blend in with its surroundings to outwit predators.

Decoy-building Spider

Spider on a leaf
Photo by Shyamli Kashyap on Pexels

The decoy-building spider also has abilities that protect it from predators. This creature is a recent discovery, standing out because it knows how to construct decoys resembling other spiders to deter predators.

Leaf-Mimic Katydid

Leaf insects are camouflaged taking on the appearance of leaves. They do to mimic a real leaf so accurately that predators often are not able to distinguish them from real leaves.
Photo by apassara on Adobe Stock

The leaf-mimic katydid is another camouflage artist. When one of these insects is on a branch, it is impossible to distinguish it from a leaf.

These creatures exemplify how well species adapt to their environments. Plants and flowers in this region are no less impressive by any means.

Amazing Colorful Plant Life

Monstera colorful leaves background. Tropical plants full of colors. Botanical gardening to decorate spaces plentry of vibrant life. 3D rendering of Lush tropical leaves background, Generative AI
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One of the most giant plants on the planet, Victoria Amazonia, resides in the Amazon rainforest. This water lily can easily hold the weight of an adult. The diameter of this behemoth flower can reach 9.8 ft. This Amazonian wonder can protect itself because of the thorns surrounding the leaves.

Walking Palms

backpacker girl walks through dense jungle in monteverde cloud forest, Costa Rica; walk through fairy tale, magical tropical rainforest; wild nature of Costa Rica
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It may sound like something from a fantasy series, but the Amazon jungle hosts the Walking Palms or Cashapona. This tree doesn’t walk the way we usually think of walking. These trees move as part of a gradual process where the roots move closer to sunlight. A tree may take a long time to move a few feet.

Rafflesia

Rafflesia
Photo by Maizal on Adobe Stock

Rafflesia is the most giant flower in the world. One of the most unusual things about the plant beside its size is its absence of roots, stems, or leaves. This colossal piece of Amazonia flora is also famous because of the rotting meat odor it produces. Seeing this plant is worth it because it is nearing extinction.

The Jabuticaba

Jaboticaba brazilian tree with a lot of full-blown fruits on trunk
Photo by tacio philip on Adobe Stock

The Jabuticaba, or Brazilian grape tree, is unusual because the fruit grows on the trunk instead of the branches. Fruit from this tree might be consumed raw or used in jam, jelly, juice, or wine.

Unique Facts About the Forest and River

leaves, free background, free wallpaper
Photo by Mylene2401 on Pixabay

There are so many trees in the Amazon rainforest that it produces 20% of the planet’s oxygen. When you consider the significance, it is easier to appreciate conservation efforts. As much as 80% of all organic foods come from rainforests. The Amazon jungle is a leading producer of many of these foods.

Amazonia encompasses nine countries nine in South America:

  • Colombia
  • Venezuela
  • Guyana
  • Suriname
  • French Guiana
  • Ecuador
  • Peru
  • Brazil
  • Bolivia
aerial view of green trees and river during daytime
Photo by Ivars Utināns on Unsplash

The Amazon River spans 4,345 mi, making it Earth’s longest river. Every region on this river’s path has a unique character, offering something special for everyone.

How to See These Wonders

Shapes of south america and africa on wooden world map
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One of the best things about visiting the Amazon rainforest is the range of choices visitors can check out. Seasoned adventurers and casual travelers have options suited to their needs. Three cities serve as primary gateways to the Amazon. These locations are perfect spots to embark on river cruises and treks.

Manaus, Brazil

Woman on Amazon River / Tupana River, Brasil - Rain Forest - Jungle
Photo by Stephanie Morcinek on Unsplash

Manaus, Brazil, is closest to the Central Amazon Biosphere. This area is the most significant part of the protected region of the Amazon, where you have the best chance of seeing the top sights. There are jungle lodges where visitors can take treks or canoe trips. One of the most impressive areas of the Brazilian Amazon is where the river meets its tributaries, resulting in the water of different colors.

Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado, Peru

Machu pichu peru
Photo by Errin Casano on Pexels

Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado, Peru, are gateways to the Amazon that offer unique experiences. This location is on the Amazon River, and Puerto Maldonado sits between two tributaries. Iquitos is closest to the Tambopata National Reserve, one of the best spots to see unique wildlife on a river cruise. Puerto Maldonado is perfect for guided rainforest tours.

Coca, Ecuador

San Rafael Falls. The Largest Waterfall in Ecuador
Photo by Kseniya Ragozina on Adobe Stock

Coca, Ecuador, has easy access to the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve and Yasuni National Park. These protected areas have many species worth seeing. Yasuni National Park is popular with birdwatchers. Either of these protected areas is ideal for guided tours.

Overall, The Amazon rainforest is worth visiting because of the natural wonders surrounding you. There may be a few surprises that await you.

Keep reading to explore more hidden gems!

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