10 of the best: Natural wonders - 5. Amazon rainforest, South America
The wow factor: Covering 2.5 million square miles (6.5 million sq km), including half of Brazil and 40% of South America, the Amazon rainforest is vast – and if it was a country it would be the ninth largest in the world. Beginning in the Peruvian Andes, the Amazon River and its rainforest stretches across nine countries.
Did you know? Roughly 20% of the earth’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon rainforest, earning it the nickname “the lungs of the planet”, while 16% of all the world’s river water flows through the Amazon delta. The Amazon rainforest watershed also has the world’s highest level of biodiversity.
Experience: While most people go to Brazil, Peru offers a far less travelled way to see it. Journey to the Amazon’s source with Wexas on a 14-day tailor-made itinerary costing from £6,750, including flights. Besides Lima, Cuzco and Machu Picchu, it features four nights on a guided Amazon tour with Aqua Expeditions, visiting Peru’s remote Pacaya Samiria Reserve. Or visit the UNESCO-listed Manu Biosphere Reserve in the Amazon on a tour with Crees Expeditions, which operates two lodges including the Manu Learning Centre, where jaguars can be seen. www.wexas.com, www.aquaexpeditions.com, www.crees-expeditions.com