The Northern Amazon region of Brazil is a stunning 1.7 billion acre rainforest occupying nearly half of Brazil’s total surface area in the heart of the country. To reach its depths is to enter into the very life force of the planet: the source of so much of the oxygen we breath, the water we drink, and the weather we know and love. No tropical rainforest is bigger and no river more impressive in this true wonder of the natural world, of which 60-percent resides inside Brazil. Roughly the size of Australia or the continental United States, this nine-nation rainforest is home to one-third of the planet’s species and more than 200 indigenous and traditional communities.

Standing at the gateway to the Northern Amazon is Manaus, a compact city of one-million people nestled in the middle of the jungle. It was once one of Latin America’s most prosperous cities due to its monopoly on the natural latex industry and remains to this day a gritty but engaging city. There are many sights worth stopping for a day in Manaus to explore, including the Meeting of the Waters, where the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimões join together and flow alongside one another for miles without the waters mixing.

The surrounding area around Manaus is all jungle wilderness, a playground of pink river dolphins, giant air-breathing fish, uakaris “English Monkeys”, and all of the National Geographic-worthy spectacles of nature. Yet with so much area, Ker & Downey suggests experiencing the Northern Amazon in one of the forest’s many private reserves, where the endemic species are at their most concentrated, conservation stands at the forefront, and eco-luxury is at its most refined. Cristalino Jungle Lodge within the 42-square mile Cristalino Private Reserve is an especially superlative favorite, where river cruises, hiking, canopy climbs, and safari game drives reveal an ever-alive flurry of wildlife activity.

A visit to the Northern Amazon of Brazil is an essential stop on any South American journey, especially when paired with the nearby natural spectacles of Mato Grosso, Pantanal wetlands, and the Peruvian Amazon. Consult your Ker & Downey travel expert to learn more.