One-stop-shopping travel guide
The Amazon -- a region of mythic proportions, and of a mythic number of travel choices. Plenty of travel guides compare and contrast this or that hotel, lodge or restaurant in the various countries encompassed by the Amazon rainforest, and traversed by the world's biggest river. But when it comes to researching a trip that is right for you, an online search spills forth thousands of results. Online reviews only go so far. It is sometimes hard to tell if a review has been posted by the tour operator or lodge owner. That's where Amazon Highlights comes in. This book caters to the first-time Amazon traveler by narrowing down the choices.
Based on more than 20 years of travel to the region, leading natural history and photography tours, author Roger Harris shares his experience to explain to the reader exactly what to look for in a tour operator. A step-by-step checklist allows the reader to easily see "red flags" to steer them away from the "cowboys" and toward reputable, reliable tour operators. The book highlights the most reputable and eco-conscious "tried and trusted" tour operators and lodges, as well as the best travel opportunities the Amazon has to offer. The book includes several sponsored sections featuring carefully selected tour operators renowned for their reputation and expertise, thus providing the reader an "insider" perspective of the region's travel opportunities.
The book is lavishly illustrated with gorgeous photos, maps and even diagrams such as one that shows the variation in annual river level, and thus the best time to travel there. The author is a qualified biologist so the detailed natural history information is scientifically accurate. Comprising almost a third of the book, this section focuses on the animals and plants a first-time visitor is likely to see, rather than just the glamorous animals that are the sole interest of most travel guides or magazines. Other invaluable information includes health and safety, shopping tips, viewing wildlife and photography, and so much more. The book really does provide one-stop-shopping for a first-time traveller to the region.
Roger Harris has been travelling to the Amazon region for nearly 20 years, documenting the area's natural history. He manages Saving Species, a conservation group.
Introduction ix INTRODUCING THE AMAZON 1 1. History and People 3 History 4 People 10 2. The Natural World 17 The Origins of the Amazon 19 Geography 21 Climate and weather 25 Flora 27 3. Wildlife Highlights 49 Biodiversity in the Amazon 50 Mammals 51 Birds 66 Reptiles 84 Amphibians 91 Insects and other invertebrates 97 Aquatic life 111 4. Planning a tour 123 When to visit 124 Organising your trip 125 Your tour: 10 top Amazon experiences 138 Red tape 141 Getting there 141 Health and safety 142 What to take 144 Organising your finances 146 5 On the Ground 149 Health and safety in the Amazon 150 Banking and foreign exchange 157 Viewing wildlife 158 Photography 158 Eating and drinking 161 Shopping 165 Media and communications 166 Business and time 166 Cultural etiquette 168 Amazon Highlights 169 6 The Peruvian Amazon 171 Iquitos 172 Manu National Park and environs 186 Peruvian cloudforests 191 Peruvian canopy experiences 193 7 The Brazilian Amazon 201 Manaus 203 Further afield 217 8 The Colombian Amazon 229 Leticia 230 Tres Fronteras 236 Amacayacu National Park 238 Palmari Nature Reserve 241 9 The Ecuadorian Amazon 243 National parks and wildlife reserves 244 Major cloudforest areas 256 Language 262 Selected reading 269 Websites 274 Index 277