The Amazon...Diverse, Humid, Massive....and Crazy!
The Amazon jungle…diverse, wet and just crazy!
“Can you describe what the expedition will be like?” “Nope” is our usual response. It really is impossible to give an accurate description of the trail. Ever heard the phrase "ah...you just had to be there." Yeah, that really is the Amazon x1000. We can do our best to describe terrain, obstacles, type of things you will encounter, however when you put all those together, it creates some type of beast. We have heard guys say (usually in a scoffing kind of way) “Argh, I’ve done ½ the App. Trail…this should be walk in the park.” Only to find these guys being laughed at by our guides. And us too...(just not in your face like the guides..:)..)
Here is my theory - When the Lord created this incredible, beautiful world, He saved the Rainforest for last. After He finished with each location, He took all the left-over trees, animals, insects, rocks, etc. and just dropped them in one location – The Amazon. This is why this place is crazy diverse with numerous species of insects and trees still being discovered.
Currently, from what research shows us:
- 17,000 species of trees/plants
- 1,500 species of birds
- 1,000+ species of ants
- 2.5 million+ species of insects (yikes!)
Compared to the United States, which has around 800 +/- species of trees/plants. Let those numbers sink in a bit. This place is just crazy with wildlife.
Each tree and plant is in one race - to reach the canopy to get a quick ray of the coveted Sun. This is a cut-throat race. It is common to see multiple trees and plants working together to reach the top. It is quiet incredible to see how the strengths of a vine can help the weakness of a tree. The Fig Strangler... it "helps" the tree in the beginning only to later strangle the tree and uses its height to reach the top. Or, the favorite tree among clients is the Walking Tree. Growing to be one of the tallest in the jungle, it lacks a root system. Rather, it grows lots of little legs that spread out that is shaped like an upside down cone. And yes, it does walk a bit...maybe 20" during its short life.
Okay, so here is the point to all of this. In this crazy, diverse environment we are clearly the outsiders here. We are not welcomed, and the jungle will let you know that pretty quick. Its unforgiving. That rain is cold. The ants can literally destroy everything you have. But, in the middle of this sits waterfalls very few have seen, trees with root systems bigger than your home, water vines, caves, beautiful rocks, etc.
Our incredible indigenous guides (picture below) have allowed us, and you, the opportunity to venture into the jungle with them on their hunting trails. These guys have mastered the jungle. These somewhat manicured, 1/2 cut trails give us an accurate picture of the real Amazon jungle and it is quiet amazing. There is nothing like the Amazon and we are grateful for the opportunity to explore this piece of paradise.
So, is it worth it? Yup, it most certainly is. The Amazon is the most respected pieces of jungle on the planet and provides life for the rest of us, which is why its also called the "lungs of the world." Its incredible.
Now, come see for yourself why we cannot accurately describe this place.
So, if your thinking about venturing out into the Amazon jungle, consider these things.
Why its bets to "go local"...
- On the Ground Knowledge - there are somethings you just can't get your hands on, like those tiny details that need to happen. We have the knowledge and expertise to do the dirty work, talk to the right people, not talk to the wrong people, etc. If you were to plan your own expedition online, you would probably end up dead. Ask us sometime for two stories about this...not a good situation for these two groups.
- Language & Culture - outsiders are often treated differently, and thats not always a good thing. We have the language and we are deep into understanding and learning the culture there. There are things about the indigenous culture that you will need learn online through reviews.
- Legal - Despite what you may think, this massive rainforest is not a free-for-all. There are laws and about 95% is off-limits. There are three governing bodies who look for folks entering land and rivers illegally. There are military checkpoints along the rivers and without proper documentation, you will be turned around and/or arrested.
- Indigenous Knowledge - we only use indigenous guides. There are things about this jungle that only they know and can understand. As they guide us, they teach us about their culture, their land, etc.
- Safety - our agency is a fully operating Brazilian business. We play by the rules. Our boats are registered, we only use licensed drivers, we pay taxes. Furthermore, we are the only certified (PAWGI) agency in this region.
- Local Support - we strive to keep everything local. We want any money we make to stay here in Sao Gabriel. Furthermore, we pay community entry tax, guide fees, etc. All of these things are helping keep the economy in Sao Gabriel strong. We want to empower and employee the indigenous people. Those who arriver here without knowledge and planning are out to rob the indigenous people by way under paying them or exploiting them.