Blog posts about International Expeditions' Amazon River cruises
International Expeditions' Director of Operations Tara Ellison took a moment to check-in from Iquitos, Peru, where she is preparing to spend a week on our Amazon River cruise.
The piranha conjures up all sorts of thoughts, many of which are based on movies, where piranhas consume anything that enters or falls into the water. Fortunately, this is not a usual circumstance and typically in the Amazon Basin, “People eat piranhas, piranhas do not eat people!”
In free-flowing rivers and streams, piranha are incredibly abundant fishes, and although the red-breasted piranha appears to be the most abundant, there are also black piranha, white piranha and even the big fruit-eating pacu is a type of piranha.
An amazing fact in regards to the great egret, also known as the common egret: Not only is this a common bird in the Peruvian Amazon, but it is also a common resident over much of the United States. Often, however, on ecotours, guests seem to be quite enamored by the 3 ½ foot tall birds not realizing that it’s the same bird they may have seen in their own home state!
The monk saki is an unusual primate for many reasons. At first glance, they may appear to be an arboreal termite mound or a burl on a branch, but what gives them away as being a monkey is their very long tail, usually hanging straight down below the branch upon which they sit.
The giant Amazon water lily is the world’s largest water lily of the family Nymphaeaceae. Its massive leaves may exceed seven feet in diameter and visitors to the Peruvian Amazon are always greatly impressed by these absolutely amazing plants. There are a number of characteristics of this huge lily that most people are not aware of. For example, the leaves are extremely durable and the underside veins are lined with very large spines. The spines are strong enough to prevent their being food for aquatic and semi-aquatic animals like manatees and capybara.
We asked IE Director of Peruvian Operations Jorge Salas to talk to us about one of his true passions - Peruvian food!
The walking palm – or stilt palm - is a very common palm tree found in the lowland forests of Central and Northern South America, including the Peruvian Amazon. The tree gets its name from it tall, spiny root system that may be upwards of five feet in height, appearing like multiple legs. While the tree obviously cannot move, the walking palm may lean toward a light filtering through a gap in the canopy, as the crown of the 50–60 foot high tree seeks light.
The Amazon rainforest is home to many different primate species, including titi monkeys. There are many varying subspecies of titis, including the white-eared titi, red-bellied titi, ornate titi and the recently discovered caqueta titi.
The harpy eagle is one of the most powerful predators in the Amazon and one of the largest eagle species in the world. This winged hunter preys on monkeys, sloths, reptiles, rodents and other birds, and the sight of a harpy eagle snatching a monkey from a tree branch with ease is one you won't soon forget if you're lucky enough to witness it on International Expeditions’ Amazon river cruises.
Chewing on ginger root or mint leaves can ease an upset stomach, and hemp can be used as a source of fuel or to make clothing. These are just a few examples of the benefits plants can provide, and scientists are discovering more advantages of new plants in places like the Amazon rainforests every day.