The upper reaches of the Amazon River of western South America.
In Peru, the Upper Amazon comprises a series of major river systems that flow north and south into the Marañón and Amazon Rivers. Among others, these include the following: Morona, Pastaza, Nucuray, Urituyacu, Chambira, Tigre, Nanay, Napo, Huallaga, and Ucayali. Originating in the snow-crested Andes high above Lake Lauricocha in central Peru, the headstream of the Marañón River rises in the glaciers in what is known as the Nevado de Yarupa. Rushing through waterfalls and gorges in an area of the high jungle called the pongos, the Marañón River flows about 1,000 miles from west-central to northeast Peru before it combines with the Ucayali River, just below the provincial town of Nauta, to form the mighty Amazon River.
In Ecuador, the Upper Amazon includes the river systems of the Napo river valley, which include the Napo, Pastaza, Aguarico, Tiputini, Coca, and Cuyabeno among others. These areas circumscribe two major preserves - the Yasuní National Park and the Cuyabeno Reserve - which include habitats that are considered to be the most biodiverse on Earth.
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