As adventuresome as you may consider yourself, taking on something as geologically daunting as the Amazon is a towering challenge. The heat, the anacondas, the bugs, the very real and likely possibility that you will get lost - it's a lot to take in. If you'd prefer to explore one of the largest rivers in the world at perhaps from an arm's length (a very long arm's length, at that), Google Maps has a one-of-a-kind offer for you: take a virtual tour of the Amazon right from your sofa.
Through a collaboration with the local conservation group Amazonas Sustainable Foundation, Google sent a few members of its Street View and Google Earth Outreach team into the wilds of the Amazon to spend seven months creating Street View-style imagery of the Amazon and the surrounding flora. Users can virtually sail down the Rio Negro tributary or hike along Tumbira and check out the digs of some of the local communities.
After rigging up the Street View trike to some boats (as amazing as Google X surely is, I doubt they've created Google cars that can hover over water), the Google team captured over 50,000 photos that were stitched together to create the 360-degree panoramas. More, after completing the project, Google donated their photography equipment to the ASF so they can continue to document the enrivons of the Amazon. Below is video the Google team put together introducing the project:
Here are a few example of some of the areas Google Maps explored on their trek. Below is a portion of the Rio Negro tributary.
As mentioned above, the Street View tour isn't limited to maritime adventures as there are several places where users can "hike" around the shores.
Mingling with the locals is also encouraged. And no, that's probably not a DirectTV satellite.
Several areas of the Amazon aren't even available to the public due to them being under the protection of the Brazilian government, which makes the opportunity offered by this Google Maps archive exceedingly valuable to everyone from curious pedestrian to researchers and explorers.