The meeting of the waters

Though there are many spectacular sights in the Amazon, one of the most incredible is the point at which the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões meet to form the mighty Amazon.

Though the huge river encounters many other waterways along its 4,000-mile route, the confluence of these two waterways is the most dramatic and offers visitors the best opportunity to see the stark contrast between two rivers as they converge.

If you’re planning a once in a lifetime trip to the region or just want to learn more about the Amazon jungle, here are some fascinating facts about the Amazon River confluence.

The meeting of the waters

The largest and best known of the river confluences, the point at which the black Rio Negro and the coffee-coloured Rio Solimões meet to form the mighty Amazon is one of the of the most famous sights in the rainforest.

To give you an idea of the scale of this confluence, at the point where the rivers meet, the Rio Solimões has about six Mississippis’ worth of water and the Rio Negro around two Mississippis’ worth.

In terms of the sheer volume of water, at this juncture the Amazon holds around twelve times the total volume of the water falling over the Niagara, Iguassu, and Victoria Falls combined.

Before the rivers mix, they run along side each other for around 6km, forming one of the most impressive sights in the Amazon.

What causes the difference in colour?

If you’re trying to brush up on facts about the Amazon Jungle, you’ll know that the waterways that join the river along its route have also travelled over vast distances.

During these long journeys, the tributaries pick up different kinds of silt, flow at different speeds and maintain different temperatures. Due to this difference in density, speed and temperature, the rivers don’t mix for a while after they meet, causing spectacular hydrologic attractions at their confluences along the way.

Does the waterway become a new river when the waters meet?

Rio Solimões Though most books about the Amazon jungle will tell you that the river starts in Peru, in Brazil, the Amazon only gets its name after the confluence of the Rio Negro and the Solimões.

However, most of the Spanish-speaking world still considers the river proper to begin at its source in Arequipa, Peru.

How can you see the meeting of the waters?

The best way to find out more about the Amazon jungle and the meeting of the waters is to join one of the many Amazon jungle expeditions that operate in the region and visit the confluence yourself.

If you want to see the meeting of the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimões, the best place to head for is Manaus, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. From there you can easily join a jungle cruise and journey deep into the heart of the Amazon.

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