New 7 Wonders of the World – Amazon

The new 7 wonders of the world were provisionally chosen today 11-11-11. I say provisional because the final winners will be announced in early 2012. Ecuador has a large section of the Amazon, one of the winners. http://www.new7wonders.com/

The Amazon or jungle region, it is an accessible area., the biologically richest area anywhere on earth.  There are innumerable varieties of flora, including many of Ecuador’s 4,500 species of orchids, and many plants with medicinal value.  Wildlife such as butterflies, bats, monkeys, sloths, parrots, macaws, river dolphins and caimans are all relatively easy to view. 

The Ecuadorian Amazon offers a wide range of activities including swimming, canoe journeys, rain forest walks, bird watching, animal spotting and visits to local jungle communities.  The Amazon accounts for little more than 5% of the total population but here there are small communities of Indians such as the Huaorani, Cofan, Shuar, and Siona-Secoya who live in jungle villages and carry on with many of their ancient traditions.  The Amazon also has some of the finest white water rafting routes in the country.

The Amazon rainforest also known as Amazonia or Amazon jungle is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America. This basin encompasses seven million square kilometers (1.7 billion acres), of which five and a half million square kilometers (1.4 billion acres) are covered by the rainforest.

This region includes territory belonging to nine nations. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, followed by Peru and with smaller amounts in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests, and it comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world.
The name Amazon is said to arise from a war Francisco de Orellana fought with a tribe of Tapuyas and other tribes from South America. The women of the tribe fought alongside the men, as was the custom among the entire tribe. Orellana’s descriptions may have been accurate, but a few historians speculate that Orellana could have been mistaking indigenous men wearing “grass skirts” for women. Orellana derived the name Amazonas from the ancient Amazons of Asia and Africa described by Herodotus and Diodorus in Greek legends.

Another etymology for the word suggests that it came originally from a native word amazona (Spanish spelling) or amassona (Portuguese spelling), meaning “destroyer (of) boats”, in reference to the destructive nature of the root system possessed by some riparian plants.
The first European to travel the length of the Amazon River was Francisco de Orellana in 1542.

One in ten known species in the world live in the Amazon Rainforest. This constitutes the largest collection of living plants and animal species in the world.
The region is home to about 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, and some 2,000 birds and mammals. To date, at least 40,000 plant species, 3,000 fish, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians, and 378 reptiles have been scientifically classified in the region.

One in five of all the birds in the world live in the rainforests of the Amazon. Scientists have described between 96,660 and 128,843 invertebrate species in Brazil alone.
The diversity of plant species is the highest on Earth with some experts estimating that one square kilometer may contain more than a thousand types of trees and thousands of species of other higher plants. A quarter of square kilometer of Ecuadorian rainforest supports more than 1,100 tree species.
One square kilometer of Amazon rainforest can contain about 90,790 tonnes of living plants.

Tena & Misahualli, Amazonia, Ecuador

Tena is the capital of the Napo province in the orient of Ecuador. At 420 metres above sea level and with around 35,000 habitants it is a small but delightful city.

The main square of Tena

It is known as the Cinnamon capital of Ecuador and originally founded by missionary explorers. It is a popular place to organize trips into the jungle, rafting and kayaking trips.

The union of the Rivers Tena and Pano, take from the pedestrian bridge.

At the confluence of the Tena and Pano rivers in the center of town lies a popular pedestrian bridge.

The pedrestrian bridge of Tena.

The rivers become the Tena River, which soon joins with the Misahualli and eventually flows into the Napo River. The Napo winds its way south into Peru, and is in effect the 9th largest tributary to the Amazon River.

The beach of Misahualli.

Close to Tena is Misahualli a small village and the first Amazonic port in Ecuador. From here you can visit the community of Shiripuno. Where you can learn the ways of the local women of the community.

The women of Shiripuno. Photo courtesy of Amelie Leman.

There are eco-cabins to stay overnight, handicrafts, dance and music, you can learn how to make chocolate, eat local food, pay a visit to the local shaman at the sacred stone.

The sacred stone. Photo courtesy of Amelie Leman.

Cacao drying on the roadside.

Learn how to  hunt and fish in the traditional ways of the kichwa people. If you have more than just a few days why not consider volunteering. It is a well worth place to visit if you decide to take a trip to the Amazon region of Ecuador.

Handicrafts made by the women of the Shiripuno Community. Photo courtesy of Amelie Leman.

Click here for information on the Travel agency of Teorumi  

Click here for information on the community of   Shiripuno

The monkeys is the main square of Misahualli are mischievous and funny, frequently stealing bottles of water, keys and anything else that catches their eye.

Friendly but naughty monkeys live in the main square of Puerto Misahualli.

Don´t forget you can follow me on Facebook.