unreasonable expectations: the Amazon is not a zoo

May 16, 2011 | By More

Quite often one senses a feeling of frustration in the tales of those travellers who are returning from the Amazon – the ellusive wildlife of the region being the reason for that feeling. After all, they probably thought, if the Amazon is one of the regions of the planet with the richest biodiversity it shouldn’t be that difficult to see animals -the more exotic, the better- everywhere. Lonely Planet summarized well that feeling:

Many travellers leave the Amazon underwhelmed, having come expecting a Discovery Channel-like encounter with jaguars, anacondas, and spear-toting tribes. That simply doesn’t happen – surprise, surprise – much less on the schedule or budget of most travellers.

Manaus, Brazil
monkey business, Amazonas
Canal do Jari, Brazil

The foundations for that frustration is the assumption that the Amazon is an open-air zoo.

Manaus, Amazonas
Manaus, Brazil
Canal do Jari, the Amazon, Brazil

Unfortunately the reality is somehow different. Biodiversity exists, there is absolutely no doubt about it, but it is found spread along the giant extension of the Amazon region. To see wildlife in the Amazon (animals in particular) you need quite a lot of time, generous amounts of patience, the best possible guide and a reasonable budget. And always bear in mind luck plays a role (during our 2009 to the region we saw more wildlife in Manaus city than in the proper forest).

In the Amazon it is much easier to take delight in the awesome variety of plants and trees.

Floresta Nacional do Tapajós, Amazon, Brazil
vitória-regia, Amazonia, Brazil
Canal do Jari, Brazil
urucum (Bixa orellana), Amazon, Brazil

If you arrive in the Amazon with the right expectations you will appreciate much better whatever wildlife encounters you are lucky enough to have. If a zoo-like experience is what you are after then you should head to the equally fantastic Pantanal, where spotting animals is much easier.

“cheia” and “seca” on the Amazon region
the Meeting of the Waters and the Janauary Ecological Park, near Manaus
Jungle Lodges in the Amazon
tourism on the Amazon region is a foreign affair
the Amazon: a new threat in the shape of a gigantic bridge
destination: Alter do Chão and the river Tapajós
destination: Manaus
destination: Belém

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Category: Destination: Amazon

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