When I was a kid, one of my favourite books was a pictorial guide to Amazon species. Looking back on it, it’s hard to say what fascinated me the most: the colourful birds; the neat and completely weird native plants; the big jungle cats; the bizarre types of fish. (Or maybe it was just trying to memorize all the Latin names of the various species—I was a weird kid.)
Yet all of these guesses would be correct—the Peruvian Amazon is a captivating place no matter what your age, and it more than lives up to photographs in a book. And all those species? They’re still there—and more of ‘em besides—just waiting for you to come discover them for yourself.
The Amazon Basin contains the greatest diversity of wildlife to be found anywhere. More than 4,000 species of birds, 2,000 species of fish (more species than are found in the Atlantic Ocean), 60 species of reptiles including the caiman and anaconda, plus a huge variety of mammals.
Here’s just a few examples of what you’ll may find when you tour the Amazon:
- Toucan—These colourful birds come in a variety of species, but don’t let their looks fool you—they’re known to be aggressive hunters, eating the eggs of other bird species!
- Macaw—Visiting a natural clay feeding site (known as a Macaw lick) is popular in the Amazon, where hundreds of these birds congregate at once.
- Giant River Otter—These otters are the world’s largest, at some 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. They live only in the rivers and creeks of the Amazon, Orinoco, and La Plata river systems.
- Caiman—Generally smaller than a crocodile, the caiman is the most accessible reptile you’ll spot in the Amazon, especially at night while using a flashlight to look for animals in the water.
- Amazon River Dolphin—These freshwater dolphins are also called pink boto dolphins, and are a special treat to spot in the waters of the Amazon River.
- Sloth—These slow-moving creatures sometimes are so lethargic that moss can grow on their fur!
- Capybara—The size of dogs, these are the largest rodents in the world, and generally hang out in small family packs.
- Tapir—These pig-like mammals are sometimes heard, but not often seen. Keep an eye on the edges of the jungle and you may get lucky!
- Monkeys—Squirrel, capuchin and howler monkeys are most commonly seen in the Amazon; however, many new Amazon monkey species have been discovered in just the last 10 years!
Considering that one in 10 known species lives in the Amazon rainforest, the area is known for having the largest amount of biodiversity in the world – and it’s way more fun to see it from in person than watching it on TV from the confines of your couch.
Our brand-new 32-passenger Amazon riverboat, the Queen Violeta, is ready to spirit you down one of the world’s most mysterious and fascinating rivers. Explore the Amazon Basin, dine on meals prepared from fresh local ingredients learn about the environment through guided skiff excursions. Ready to go? Book today and get a deeper appreciation for the Amazon than you ever could on your own.