When the continents were joined as western Gondwana, Amazon flowed west from the interior of the present day Africa. 15 million years ago, the rise of the Andes Mountain range blocked the river and caused the Amazon to become a vast inland sea. Gradually it became a massive freshwater lake.

Amazon River
Amazon River

The Amazon River is said to have come into being as a transcontinental river approximately 11 million years ago, when the waters worked through the sandstone from the west and the Amazon began to flow eastward. It led to the emergence of Amazon rainforest. During the Ice Ages, sea levels dropped and the Amazon Lake speedily drained and became a river.

During the wet season (December – June), the Amazon River reaches over 190 kilometers in width. It is the second longest river in the World at approximately 6400 kilometers (only the Nile, in Africa, is longer). Because of its vastness, it is sometimes referred to as The River Sea. It has over 1,100 tributaries, 17 of which are over 1,500 kilometers long.

Clockwise (L-R) - Black Caiman, Giant Otter, Poison Dart Frog and Green Anaconda
Clockwise (L-R) – Black Caiman, Giant Otter, Poison Dart Frog and Green Anaconda

River Cruising is a leisure activity that’s organized along inland waterways, with stops at various ports en route. Since many cities and towns developed around rivers, river cruise ships often dock in the center of cities and towns.

River cruising is a unique way of traveling. It is like experiencing life in the slow lane, where the pace is gentle with no rush, nature all around, and abundant opportunities to explore riverside towns and cities along the way. It is a very tranquilizing experience in natural surroundings, away from the pressures of life, with good food and enjoyable company.

In recent years, river cruising has become an increasingly popular form of leisure travel. With smaller ships, and itineraries that take voyagers to big cities, small villages and through breathtaking landscapes, river cruise lines offer a very unique type of experience. Popular river cruises include trips along the Nile, Amazon, Mississippi, Yangtze, Mekong, Danube, Loboc (Philippines), and Rhine, Seine, Volga, Douro (Spain/Portugal) and the Po (Italy) rivers.

Cruising on Volga River in Russia