The legendary Amazon is one of the planet’s enigmas. The world’s largest river basin, 2.5 million square miles (6.5 million square kilometers), but also the planet’s greatest rainforest, the Amazon is a vast open-air greenhouse of global evolution and unsolved mysteries whose true potential remains largely unknown and untapped. It is possible to fly for hours over the Amazon region and see no break in the carpet of greenery except for the sinuous curves of the region’s rivers.
Though it is not the longest river in the world, there can be no doubt the Brazilian territory, is where a tenth of the world’s 10 million living species make their homes. Within the Amazon Basin resides a wealth of life richer than any place else on earth, including 500 mammals, 175 different lizards, 300 other reptile species, tree climbers of every kind, and a third of the worlds identified bird species. Millions of species remain undiscovered.
Two of the best places to see some of this incredible wildlife is at the Uakari and Anavilhanas Jungle lodges.
Although the indigenous people of the Amazon have resided in this region for centuries long before the European Conquistadors ever set foot in Amazonia, the adventurer first credited to have voyaged down the river Amazon was Francisco de Orellana in 1542.
The region’s treasures – minerals, oils, animal skins, precious stones, gold, emeralds and eventually petroleum – have, over centuries, attracted many international explorers to this vast region and its natural resources and raw materials, important to Western civilizations, have been exported in great quantities over the years.
Today, the growing awareness of the importance of the rain forest – both locally and globally – and the development of novel approaches to managing tropical forests provide reasons for hope that this incredible region will be maintained as one of the true vast natural paradises of our planet.
The Rainforest supports many communities of indigenous people whose livelihoods and culture depend on the sustainability of the forest. Millions of species of insects, animals, plants, and other organisms that inhabit this tropical wilderness are of extraordinary value to the indigenous communities and colonists that inhabit the region.
The most famous among the plants is guarana. Known for its high caffeine content, the guarana beverage provides energy and helps to reduce hunger. Ayuasca is another famous plant, which is used in spiritual awakening and ceremonies conducted by the Shaman.
A key role in many indigenous cultures is played by the local shaman, or medicine man. The Shamans, or Pajés (as they are known in Indian language), are not only the medicine men of the tribes and villages, but are also sorcerers and spiritual guides. The music, dances, legends and myths of the Amazon are an important part in the local people’s culture. The involving rhythms of the Carimbó, siria and lundu dances are very seductive, physically and spiritually. During the entire year, it is possible to attend and to participate in popular festivals, such as the Boi-bumba, Marujada and Çairé.
From north to south the rhythms show new colors and steps in accordance the History of each area. The people from this land carry in their blood the taste for lively dancing in the streets, and sensual hot rhythms.
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