If you’re thinking about a river
cruise, take a look at South America. This beautiful continent is laced with impressive
rivers, flowing through amazing ecosystems that teem with exotic plant and animal
Any discussion of river cruising in
South America starts with the Amazon, an enormous and intricate waterway. One
of the world’s largest river systems, it’s cloaked in dense rainforest and rich
in biodiversity. More than a third of the world’s known species live there. Thousands
of different types of fish, birds, reptiles, and butterflies thrive in the Amazon
Basin, along with unusual mammals like sloth, pink river dolphins, and giant
otters. There are national parks, nature preserves, and enormous swaths of deep
Some cruises of the Amazon sail between
Belém, the river’s Atlantic Ocean port, and Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian
state of Amazonas. Others sail on the Rio Negro, a major tributary and one of
the world’s largest blackwater rivers (the water is dark due to tannins from
decayed vegetation). Some itineraries feature visits to local villages for
fascinating insights into their lifestyles and customs.
There are options beyond the
Amazon, too. The Paraná River, South America’s second-longest, winds through vast
wetlands to Iguaçu Falls, one of the most magnificent waterfall complexes in
the world. Perched at the meeting point of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, the
waterfalls are higher than Niagara and stretch for more than a mile and a half.
In the town of Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, you can cross the Fraternity Bridge to Puerto
Iguaçu, Argentina, and the Friendship Bridge to Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.
The Paraguay River courses through
that country’s share of the Pantanal Region, the world’s largest and most pristine
tropical wetland. The region is alive with marshland wildlife like storks and caiman;
you may also spot monkeys, tapirs, jaguars, and rare marsh deer drinking from
the river. You could visit a traditional farm or tour the city of Asunción and its
lovely museums, parks, and monuments.
The banks of Columbia’s Magdalena
River are dotted with towns founded by Spanish conquistadors; some of the colonial
architecture is well-preserved. As the river flows past green jungles and low mountains,
you may see iguanas, white herons, manatees, tortoises and even the descendants
of hippopotamuses originally brought to Columbia by the drug lord Pablo Escobar.
For more ideas and assistance with making
your South American river cruise reservations, talk with Anita, your
professional travel advisor.
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