Interesting Facts about the Amazon River for Kids

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Last Updated on August 30, 2021 by Travels with Kids

Get ready for some truly AMAZON facts about the Amazon River for kids!  That’s right when we are talking about the mighty Amazon River we are talking about the widest, largest volume, and even possibly longest river on Earth.  The mighty Amazon starts high in the Andes of Peru, and stretches 4,000-mile (6,400 km) long, before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean in Brazil.  There is nothing quite like the Amazon River on earth!  Take a look at these incredible facts to find out why!

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Interesting Facts about the Amazon River for Kids
One of the beautiful tributaries of the Amazon River

Interesting Facts about the Amazon River for Kids

The Amazon is the Largest River in the World

The Amazon River is recognized as the largest river in the world in terms of how much water flows down the river and into the ocean.  One Amazon River fact file tidbit is that the river is called Rio Amazonas in the native Portuguese and Spanish languages.

The Amazon is the WIDEST River in the World

More water flows down the Amazon than all of the next eight largest rivers in the world put together.  That is A LOT of water!  Because of that, the Amazon River is pretty wide at certain times of the year.  The Amazon River has two main seasons, the wet and dry seasons.  The wet season is about December through April.  Then the dry season is roughly June to November.  In the wet season, the Amazon River can reach up to 30 miles wide!  How is that for amazing facts about the river Amazon for kids?

This also happens to be one of the most fascinating facts about Peru.  We have covered it in Fun Peru Facts For Kids.

Interesting Facts about the Amazon River for Kids
An Amazon River boat where the Amazon is very, very wide!

The Amazon is not the Longest River in the World – or is it?

It is generally said that the Nile is the longest river in the world with the Amazon coming in second.

However, this is open to dispute, as there have been different expeditions that have tried to measure the exact length of the Amazon River.  As the studies have come up with different numbers, it is, therefore, difficult to give an exact number as to the length of the Amazon River.  The length also changes in the rainy season.

It also depends on where you think the source of the Amazon is.  For example, until the 1970s, it was thought that the Marañón River was the source of the Amazon.  In 2001, an expedition found that Nevado Mismi (near Arequipa) was in fact the source of the Amazon.

Interesting Facts about the Amazon River for Kids
This is not the source river of the Amazon, but the Apurimac river has a similar appearance!

Where does the Amazon River Start?

As we mentioned above, the source of the Amazon River changes as expeditions are set up to answer the question “where does the Amazon River start and end”?  Recent studies suggest that the Amazon River starts in the Montaro Drainage and is 80 km longer than originally thought.

How Big is the Mouth of the Amazon River?

The mouth of the Amazon River is approximately 330 km (205 mi) wide.  That is enormous.  For comparison that is wider than the ENTIRE length of the River Thames in England.  Can you even imagine that?

unique facts about the Amazon River for kids
The River boats that ply the Amazon

Why Does the Amazon River not have a Delta?

First, what is a delta exactly?  A river delta usually forms where a river enters another, slower-moving, body of water.  Like where a river flows into the ocean a delta is usually formed.

So why does that Amazon River not have a delta and why is this special?  Well, there are a few reasons.  First, tides in the Atlantic Ocean produce a wave that actually reaches 261 miles up the Amazon River.  This wave is called a Tidal Bore.  It is because of this Tidal Bore that the Amazon River does not have a delta.  The tide takes a large amount of silt from the Amazon back into the ocean, thus a delta is never formed.

facts about the River Amazon for kids
People live all along the Amazon and its tributaries like this.

Amazon River History

When was the Amazon River Area First Settled?

It is estimated that the first inhabitants settled in the Amazon River area some 39,000 years ago.  Quite a long time ago.  However, the Europeans did not explore the Amazon River area until 1541.

How did the Amazon River get its Name?

A Spanish soldier named Francisco de Orellana gave the river its name.  He reported fighting with tribes of female warriors who compared to the Amazons in Greek Mythology.  Today, in Spanish it is called the Rio Amazonas or Amazon River in English.

facts about the River Amazon for kids
Belen, in Iquitos, Peru

Amazon River People, Countries, and Fun Facts!

What Countries does the Amazon River flow Through?

Most of the Amazon River flows through Peru and Brazil.  It also forms part of the border between Columbia and Peru, which is pretty cool.

Interesting Facts about the Amazon River for Kids
Pantoja, the border village between Ecuador and Peru. The author spent several days here back in 2002.

There are no Bridges that Span the Amazon

One of the most unique facts about the Amazon River for kids is that there are no bridges that span across the length of the river.  Yes, the river is very wide but that is not the reason no bridges go across this mighty river.  The reason has to do with the fact that most of the river runs through the remote Amazon Rainforest.  There are not a lot of roads in the forest.  For this reason, people opt to use ferries to cross the river versus building bridges.

The Amazon is like a Highway for the People that Live There

That’s right,  the Amazon River is like a highway system allowing people and goods to transport up and down the river.  Large ocean boats can travel as far up as the important port city of Manaus, which is 900 miles upriver from the Atlantic.

The Amazon River is the only way to access some of the smaller communities that lay along the river.  It is quite common for people to travel from these villages via boat on the Amazon.

Amazon River tribes fact
Washing day in Belen, Iquitos, Peru.

What are Some Amazon Tribes Facts for Kids?

There are many indigenous people that call the Amazon River basin home.  The Amazon River people, the Yanomamo and Kayapo, live deep inside the Amazon Rainforest in isolation and do not have contact with the outside world.  Isn’t that a cool Amazon River tribes fact?

In all, there are about 400 tribes of people that live around the Amazon River.  Most of these tribes have contact with the outside world but it is estimated that about 50 of them do not.

Amazon Tribes Facts for Kids

The Amazon Ecosystem is Under Threat

Yes, sad but true the entire Amazon Ecosystem is under threat.  The Amazon Rainforest is being cut down and a rapid rate to make way for agriculture ventures.  This has a devastating effect on the entire ecosystem.  Not only are the native peoples who call the Amazon home losing their land, but the planet is also losing its largest remaining rainforest, and the Amazon River is being polluted.

We all need to sound the alarm to try and convince the Brazilian government to take better care of this unique area of the world.

Why is it that the Amazon River always Looks Dirty?

The Amazon River is a muddy brown color because of the high levels of sediment the river carries downstream.  The high concentration of the mud and sand particles gives the river a dirty-looking color.

Facts about the River Amazon for Kids
The Manaus Opera House

Is the Amazon River Polluted?

While we don’t like to mention it, Amazon River pollution is sad but true.

Pollution on the Amazon River is increasing because of deforestation (or logging of the rainforest).  Because such large sections of the rainforest are being cut down, this creates flooding that runs off into the river.  Also, gold mining along the river has increased the mercury levels of the water.  This is one of the saddest facts about the River Amazon for kids we can think of.

Facts about the River Amazon for Kids
Jungle outside of Puerto Maldonado.

What are the Biggest Cities on the Amazon River?

While there are many smaller cities situated along the Amazon River, the bigger port cities include Manaus, Brazil, and Iquitos, Peru.   You can imagine that at almost 4.5 thousand miles long, the Amazon is home to many small towns and villages as it winds its way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Facts about the River Amazon for Kids

Facts about the River Amazon for Kids – Fish Facts

How Many Species of Fish Live in the Amazon River?

The Amazon River is known to be home to over 2,000 species of fish.  Although new species are being discovered all the time.  Some of the most interesting of these are the Red-Bellied Piranha, the Electric Eel, the Arapaima, and the Vampire Fish.  With names like that, I am not sure I’d want to go for a swim.  What about you?

The Largest Snake in the World Hunts in the Amazon River

If you don’t like snakes you might want to skip over this Amazon River kids fact.  The largest snake in the world, the Green Anaconda, calls the Amazon River home.  It is also known as the Giant Anaconda because of just how massive it can grow.  Because of how huge it can grow, the Green Anaconda is one of the only snakes in the world that can eat a human.  Although this is rare!  Talk about truly terrifying.

Amazon facts for kids

What is the Apex Predator in the Amazon River?

Well, that would be the legendary but endangered, Black Caiman.  The Black Caiman is a species of crocodile and a ferocious one at that.  They are associated with the highest number of predatory attacks on humans by an animal in South America.  Yikes!  An amazing Amazon facts for kids about the Black Caiman is that it has a bite strength of  6000 PSI.  It has the strongest bite force of any caiman or crocodile.

What is the Amazon Pink River Dolphin?

The Amazon River is home to an endangered species of dolphin known as the Pink River Dolphin.  These are incredible dolphins as they are known as the most intelligent of all the freshwater dolphin species.  They are also quite large growing up to 9 feet.  They are also known for being very curious and friendly to humans.  Perhaps this is the cutest of the Amazon River facts for kids?

Amazon facts for kids
The author in the jungle near Puerto Maldonado.

FUN Facts about the Amazon

People Actually Surf on the Amazon River

Pretty cool right?  Remember the Tidal Bore we talked about earlier?  Well, because of that people actually surf on that portion of the Amazon River.  At the mouth of the river, the tidal bore can cause waves up to 20 feet high, making it a popular river surfing place.  Now, that’s a pretty amazing Amazon River kids fact right there!

Why did Amazon.com use the Name Amazon?

Well, we don’t know for sure but we assume because when you think of Amazon you think of something large, and powerful.  The Amazon Rainforest, the Amazon River, and now the shopping site Amazon.com.

Fun facts about the Amazon River for kids I bet you didn’t know, actually relate to Amazon.com.  Did you know that Amazon.com and the South American governments of Peru and Brazil, have been at odds?  All due to the fact Amazon.com wants top placement when people search for the word “Amazon”.  However, the South American governments maintain that the Amazon River and Amazon Rainforest are far more important than a shopping website.

Has Anyone Ever Swam the Entire River?

Why yes, and it wouldn’t be complete facts about the River Amazon for kids without including this stunning fact.  In 2007 a Slovenian marathon swimmer by the name of Martin Strel became the first person to swim the entire length of the Amazon River.  He swam a whopping 5,265 kilometers (3,272 miles) in just 66 days.  However, it wasn’t easy.  Poor Martin swam despite exhaustion, delirium, and infected open sores on his legs.  Yikes.

What’s My Experience with the Amazon River and its Tributaries?

My first experience with the Amazon River and its tributaries was a trip into the Cuyabeno Reserve on the border of Ecuador and Colombia. There is no way to describe it, but I fell head over heels in love with the Amazon Rainforest and her rivers.

Later we spent over a week traveling down the great Napo River by dugout canoe and then hitched a lift on a Colombian oil barge traveling back down to the Colombian portion of the Amazon.  We slung our hammocks in tribal villages along the Napo and learned about life deep in the Amazon.  It remains to this day one of my most amazing travel experiences ever.

After we’d explored around Peru’s Amazonian capital of Iquitos we headed upstream on the Amazon and watched as the great river split into Peru’s major tributaries – the Maranon and the Ucayali.  We took the Maranon for a day or two, and then when it split again the Huallaga River until we departed at the jungle town of Yurimaguas.

FUN Facts about the Amazon
Riding from the Andes to the end of the Road – this is one of the tributaries of the Amazon in Manu National Park

A year later, when I was stuck teaching in Cusco, my mum spent a week or two in the jungle around Leticia in Colombia before heading down to Pucallpa by riverboat.  On the other end, we’ve followed the Urubamba deep into Machiguenga lands below Kiteni and it was a dream to keep on going until we hooked up with the Ucayali.  We’ve hiked extensively in the volcanic mountains around Arequipa, and Mismi Mountain, the source of the Amazon.  Not to mention some wonderful times volunteering on the Tambopata River and traveling on the Madre de Dios.  As you can tell I’m passionate and enthusiastic about the Amazon River facts and am so pleased to share these with you!

Interesting Facts about the River Amazon for Kids
Tributaries of the Amazon

The Verdict – Interesting Facts about the River Amazon for Kids

Since the Amazon is the widest and possibly longest river on earth, you can see there are many facts about the Amazon River for kids to be told.  The Amazon River holds a very special place in my heart.  My hope is that after reading all about this amazing river, it will spark an interest in you to learn more.

There are so many Amazon River facts kids like to share.  Do you have any of your own? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Interesting Facts about the Amazon River for Kids

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Hi! We are a multicultural family from Peru, Nicaragua & Australia. We believe adventures can be global – and local – and are one part of our sustainable lifestyle, and raising children who are global eco-citizens.