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Exploring the Amazon headwaters of Ecuador and Peru

The Napo River, part of the Amazon basin.

The Napo River, part of the Amazon basin.

Home to the largest rainforest on earth, the headwaters or the Amazon originate high in the Andes. We've singled out three compelling reasons why it's worth the effort to include a visit to the Amazon on your next trip to Ecuador or Peru.

Paddling a canoe on the river

Paddling a canoe on the river

1. The River

As the world's largest river basin, it is the source of one-fifth of all free-flowing fresh water on earth.  The headwaters span the borders of eight countries, including both Peru and Ecuador.  Starting in the Andean highlands of Ecuador, the Rio Napo flows gently southeast across the border into Peru where it joins the Rio Amazonas. 

Further south, the Rio de los Madres flows from the Peruvian Andes into Bolivia and eventually into Brazil, where it joins the main body of the Amazonas.

 
Inquisitive tree frog

Inquisitive tree frog

2. The Wildlife

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Amazon Rainforest constitutes the largest collection of living plants and animals in the world.  Squirrel and Howler monkeys share the dense forest canopy with exotic Macaws, Green Parrots and Toucans while butterflies, exotic spiders and colorful tree frogs inhabit the world beneath.  In the river itself, giant otters cavort and pink dolphins play under the watchful gaze of cayman searching for their next meal.

 
The Kichwa Añagu community share their culture

The Kichwa Añagu community share their culture

3. The Culture

More than 350 different indigenous groups call the Amazon home. Ways of life that pre-date the arrival of western civilization have changed very little for some.  

Discover the Kichwa Añangu community of Ecuador and their native use of medicinal plants, the cuisine of the jungle and traditional song and dance. 

 
The dense jungle floor beneath the canopy

The dense jungle floor beneath the canopy

Visiting the Amazon  

  • Enjoy the comfort of lodge-based accommodations at Napo Lodge in Ecuador or Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica in Southeastern Peru
  • Indulge your senses aboard the spectacularly luxurious Delfin river boats in Northeastern Peru's Pacaya Samiria National Reserve.
  • Staying at the remote and rustic Tambopata Research Center, deep within Southeastern Peru

 

Make it happen

 

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