Ever since the first outsider set foot in the Amazon, the world has been subjected to countless lurid tales of a Green Hell teeming with slithering snakes, each capable of recognizing a human and all determine...
GreenTracks Amazon Cruise Films has two new videos up on YouTube.
The GreenTracks Amazon Riverboat Wildlife Cruise focuses on the flora and fauna of the Amazon rainforest. Also to be appreciated is the spectacular beauty of the forest rivers and creeks. These black-water rivers are known locally as El Espejo de la Selva (the mirror of the rainforest) for their highly reflective qualities. The Mirrored Rainforest
The Northern Caiman Lizard is found throughout the Amazon Basin. This beautifully colored lizard spend most of their time in trees overhanging water where they can drop into the water if threatened. They are excellent swimmers.They feed on a number of small aquatic animals, but prefer snails.
Showmanship vs. Reality on reality TV wild animal shows. by Bill Lamar The
abundance of nature oriented television shows is a blessing and a curse.
After an auspicious beginning with properly researched and well-filmed
documentaries, ratings—largely a function of the preferences of the
sofa-set—began to change their direction. One can see the transition
from inspired work such as the films by
Sir David Attenborough to features that showcase sweating pseudo-Tarzans
spewing words like “jungle,” “aggressive,” “survival,” etc. They have
devolved into tired depictions of Man vs. Nature that inevitably cast
the natural world as something dangerous and in need of conquering….
and, of course, they showcase anything with blood. What was a lofty and
necessary pursuit has degenerated into cheap thrills.
THE AMAZON, PART I: Origin of the Amazon Basin By William W. Lamar
prior to the Panama Canal the Atlantic Ocean brushed lips with the
Pacific across a tranquil strait dividing the great landmass that is
modern South America. What we call Venezuela and the Guianas formed an
ancient Tertiary fortress that blocked the open Atlantic to the north,
while what is now Brazil and the rest of the continent,
by dint of sheer size, kept the oceans apart to the south. After two
of the earth’s plates, in a Miocene crash of epic proportions, dueled to
a tectonic tie, the Andes emerged, magnificent and gleaming, from a sea
of roiling foam.
THE AMAZON, PART II: Discovery of the Amazon By William W. Lamar
is an ancient cemetery at Triana, on the Guadalquivir River in Spain.
Its gravestones and plaques are mute reminders of a colorful Sevillian
culture and tradition from Moors and Sephardis to gypsies, flamenco
dancers, matadors, and ceramicists to Torquemada and The Inquisition.
The following departures are discounted 10%
July 7 - 13
August 4 - 10
September 8 - 14
The glory days of Amazon riverboat history are coming to an end. The two most historically important boats plying its waters—the M/F Clavero and the M/F Ayapua—are being retired to a maritime museum in 2014. But for now, these beautifully restored reminders of the magnificent opulence of the Rubber Boom are still carrying passengers on the most unforgettable trip of a lifetime-deep into the remote regions of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve of Peru.
Seeing the Amazon in all its magnificence—the river, the rainforest, the wildlife, people and customs—from the comfort of ships that have been such a part of the history of the Amazon Basin is an experience unlike any other. Surrounded by the trappings of a bygone era, one can actually feel what it was like to be traveling the Amazon in the early 1900's. It’s almost like starring in a movie! From the picturesque bar and dining room to the air-conditioned Victorian-style cabins, these riverboats evoke all the charm of a bygone era. But it will come to an end after 2013, so we are soaking up the sights and sounds to the max. Come join us!
The M/F Ayapua, named after Lake Ayapua in Brazil, was built in Hamburg, Germany in 1906 and transported rubber along the Purus, Japua, Jura, Putumayo and Yavari rivers in Brazil and Peru during the early part of the 20th century. Restoration work was undertaken from 2004 to 2006.
The M/F Clavero, is a historic naval boat of the Peruvian Amazon and is the oldest boat still traveling on the Amazon River. The Clavero was built in Paris, France, in 1878 and its original name was the Cahuapanas. The Peruvian Navy bought her in 1892 to be used on the Amazon.
Restoration work has been on-going for several years.
If you want a more intimate experience of the Amazon and deeper insights about the history, the land, the cultures and the animals, this is your golden opportunity.
Call 970-884-6107 for more information or to reserve your space now.
Species, species, and more species... A cornucopia of unrivaled biological diversity, the Upper Amazon Basin boasts the highest number of plant and animal species in the world, with even more than the much celebrated Manu region in southern Peru, or of the Lower Amazon Basin in Brazil. Area surveys of the Upper Amazon have demonstrated the world’s greatest variety of trees. A hectare of land (2.5 acres) can have 40 to 300 tree species compared with 4 to 25 in North American forests. The greatest numbers of monkey species are to be found in this region; 17 kinds have been recorded in one small area. The Amazon proper indisputably contains the highest number of fish species in the world, with over 2,000 known and another 2,000 species likely. It also is believed to hold 95% of the world’s 350,000 kinds of beetles and, in one tree alone in the Upper Amazon, over 1,500 species were taken! Peru has over 400 species of butterflies. GreenTracks’ long-term natural history inventories in this region have produced the greatest number of amphibian and reptile species for any single locality on earth. Bird life in the countries comprising the Upper Amazon Basin is staggeringly rich, representing over a fifth of all the species found throughout the world. Why so many kinds of living things? There are several theories, among them changing habitat, river barriers to dispersal, and topography.
Forest to grassland and back.... We know from the study of fossil pollen that the Amazon Basin has changed dramatically several times owing to fluctuating relative humidity during glacial and inter-glacial periods through the Pleistocene era. Much of the forested region we see today has, in fact, been grassland at different times, and this leads some to think the expanding and contracting forest fragments have effectively served as “islands” and thus have allowed for plants and animals to speciate extensively.
Rivers as prisons... Nearly 150 years ago, the famed naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace noted that range boundaries for a number of animal species in the Amazonian rainforest seemed to coincide with the region's many rivers. That observation marked the origin of one of the leading hypotheses for why the Amazon harbors such extraordinary biodiversity for its size. In its modern form, this "riverine barrier hypothesis" posits that the Amazon's major rivers functioned as natural barriers to gene flow between populations. As a result, the populations ultimately diverged. This model has received a certain amount of support from molecular studies in recent years.
Hills and valleys... Recent investigations along the Jurua River, one of the Amazon’s largest tributaries, point to a different explanation. The pattern of diversity in frog and small mammal communities along the Jurua does not fit with predictions based on riverbank affiliation. Rather the composition of these communities is best predicted by geographic distance and habitat type. What’s more, the distributions of small mammals terminate perpendicular to the river and parallel to the Andes Mountains, which suggests that the topography of the Amazonian lowlands may generate the biodiversity. Thus far only a single river has been studied, but it is believed that the results can be extended to all large meandering rivers in the region as a working hypothesis.
Going, going, gone... So, much remains to be studied, and the Amazon Basin stands today as the single most complex, daunting, tantalizing, and stimulating place on the planet. And it is slipping away at an alarming rate. Scientists estimate that tropical forests cover only 6 percent of the planet, less than half of what they recently occupied. The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, founded to foster the exchange of ideas among scientists working in tropical environments, notes unprecedented changes, with 1.2 percent of the remaining area disappearing every year.
Until recently, the forests and rivers of the Upper Amazon Basin were accessible only to intrepid explorers willing to brave hardship, disease, hostilities, and, perhaps worst of all, their own fears of the great unknown. Thanks to advances in medicine and travel it is now possible to see this great tropical wilderness first-hand. Diseases are easily avoided through vaccines and air and boat travel make access simple. The region is still filled with mystery, but we know so much now that was regrettably unavailable to the early explorers. Recently, GreenTracks has designed several natural history programs in the Upper Amazon, and they include comfortable lodge accommodations where one can relax or participate in our ongoing projects, such as monitoring amphibian diversity. Simply tracing the steps of those who first entered the Amazonian region, seeing everything from piranhas to gigantic capybaras and manatees (largest mammal on the continent), and doing so in relative ease and comfort, is a remarkable privilege. And knowledge has allowed us to see things once considered to be repugnant as beautiful and interesting.
Getting there..... GreenTracks has designed new Natural History Programs in the Upper Amazon Basin, some of them featuring lodge accommodations along the Marañón River, where upland forest can be visited. Our lodge is comfortable and situated in a prime location for access to a diversity of places including the famed Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, the Yanayacu-Pucate River, and the origin of the Amazon River. It is a superb place for viewing and photographing Amazon flora and fauna. For those who share with us the desire to simply BE THERE, this is an excellent opportunity to fulfill that dream.
In addition to the Upper Amazon activities, GreenTracks manages high quality programs to:
* Macchu Picchu and the Inca Trail * Cuzco * Tambopata National Reserve * Manu Wilderness & National Park * Lake Titicaca, Peru & Bolivia * Madidi National Park, Bolivia * Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Founded in 1992 by prominent tropical biologists, including William W. Lamar, who has done extensive research and publication in the fields of zoology and herpetology, GreenTracks offers the best in travel to the Amazon rainforest. GreenTracks’ extensive knowledge and experience with the various rivers and forest types allows them to customize each trip based on water levels and time of year to maximize wildlife viewing opportunities and not be locked into itineraries that never vary.
William W. Lamar, a graduate of Rhodes and the University of Texas, has spent 37 years living and working in the Amazon Basin. He has authored several dozen popular and technical articles and three books, including two top references on Amazonian fauna. Bill has been filmed by the BBC, Zebra, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., the History Channel, Wild Discovery, and National Geographic and regularly consults for all of these companies. He is fluent in Spanish and thoroughly at-home in the Peruvian Amazon.
GreenTracks zoologists’ continued involvement and oversight can’t be matched by standard travel industry companies. By traveling with these experts the guests’ experience is greatly enhanced and allows them to come away with a much more in-depth understanding of the Amazon and its diversity. This includes not only which plants and animals inhabit the rainforest, but how the interaction between them, and the people who live there, make this one of the most complex and exciting ecosystems on the planet.
GreenTracks seeks to celebrate all that is beautiful and fascinating in the Amazon, from flora and fauna to people, cultures, and food. They believe observing such things is both fun and educational, and that only through direct experience can the wider understanding necessary to protect this delicate wilderness be achieved.
GreenTracks expertise has also been used by both amateur and professional naturalists, and on documentaries shown by National Geographic, the British and Canadian Broadcasting Systems, Animal Planet, the History Channel and the Discovery Channel.
For more information on Amazon travel with GreenTracks visit the website at www.GreenTracks.com or call 1-800-892-1035
delivered memorable adventures with expert guidance to countless
travelers, including both amateur and professional naturalists. We
recently received a trip report from some travelers who visited Heath
River Wildlife Center and Sandoval Lake Lodge in southern Peru. "Thank you for the wonderful stay at Heath River Lodge and Sandoval
Lake (17-21 September 2012). We will definitely recommend the trip to
our friends and I wouldn’t be surprised if we decided to come back one
day. We had taken this tour expecting to see macaws and monkeys and if
fortunate enough, we were hoping to see glimpses of other Amazonian
animals but the stay blew us away in its wildlife diversity." Eric Host
Click on the link below to see their full report and see more of their spectacular photos...
provides the finest nature and culture-oriented trips into tropical regions of Latin America. Founded in 1992 by prominent tropical biologists, GreenTracks has delivered memorable adventures with expert guidance to thousands of vacationers.
Itineraries can be individually designed for your private travel or you may choose to join one of our small groups. Either way, your tour is designed and guided by experts.
A GreenTracks eco-adventure vacation is fun, stimulating and educational. Our expertise has been used by both amateur and professional naturalists, and on documentaries shown by National Geographic, the British and Canadian Broadcasting Systems, and the Discovery Channel.