Ocean Ports of Call

Amazon River - Brazil Highlights:
Turtles, macaws, toucans, river dolphins
Alternative Port:  Belem   Manaus   Santarem   - click for cruises that visit this port.

The Amazon River, which carries a greater volume of water than any other river in the world, is about 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometres) long. The river drains a vast region that nearly spans the continent, from its source in the Andes, 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean, to its mouth on the Atlantic Ocean, the Amazon Delta about 240 km (about 150 miles) wide. The river and its tributaries help support a South American rain forest ecology that contains more species of flora and fauna than any other ecosystem. The Amazon has more than 1,000 tributaries. Seven of these, the Japura (Caqueta in Colombia), Jurua, Madeira, Negro, Purus, Tocantins, and Xingu rivers, are more than 1,000 miles long. One, the Madeira River, exceeds 2,000 miles in length.

On the lower stretch of the river, between Belem and Manaus, discover the secrets of the Lower Amazon at its most spectacular. Further westwards after Manaus, the character of the river changes as the Central Amazon narrows, bringing its densely forested banks dramatically closer to the decks. When the river crosses the Bolivian border at Leticia it becomes the Upper Amazon until it reaches the port of Iquitos in Peru which marks the upper limit of navigation for ocean going ships.

The first European to explore the Amazon, in 1541, was the Spanish soldier Francisco de Orellana, who is said to have given the river its name after reporting pitched battles with tribes of female warriors, whom he likened to the Amazons of Greek mythology.

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