How Deep is the Amazon River?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: May 28, 2023
Share on:


Key Points

  • The Amazon River flows through Brazil, Colombia, and Peru but has a river basin that reaches into Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela.
  • While the source has not been verified, the mouth is in northeastern Brazil. It has an average discharge flow rate of 209,000m3/s, the largest in the world.
  • The deepest river in South America, the Amazon has an average depth ranging between 66 to 160 feet; it cannot be waded across.

While scientists debate whether the Amazon or the Nile River is truly the longest river in the world, there’s little doubt that when it comes to discharging – the amount of water flowing in a river – the Amazon reigns supreme. Yet, many questions surround this body of water. One of these questions is, how deep is the Amazon River?

We’ll get to the bottom of this question and show you two answers that will be most helpful in discovering the truth about the river. By the time we’re done here, you’ll know just how deep this river runs!

Where is the Amazon River?

The Amazon River

The Amazon River has the largest river basin on the planet.


The Amazon River is located in South America. Specifically, it flows through Peru, Colombia, and then Brazil. However, the river basin of the Amazon River reaches other countries, draining an area that is about 2.6 million square miles into countries like Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela. That means the Amazon River has the largest river basin of any river in the world!

Where is the Amazon River Located on a Map?

One way to think about the length of the Amazon is that its western end is high in the Andes Mountains, within 100 miles (160 km) of the Pacific Ocean, but it empties into the Atlantic Ocean in northeastern Brazil. That’s across a continent! Imagine if the United States had a river running across the country from New York City to San Francisco — but that would be shorter at less than 3,000 miles while the Amazon is over 4,000 miles long!

Where Is the Source of the Amazon River?

Amazon River with Capybaras

The source of the Amazon River is the subject of considerable debate.


The source of the Amazon River is a matter of debate among scientists. This uncertainty stems from pinpointing the true headwaters of the river. While the Apurimac River had long been considered to be its source, in 2014 new research was published that further extended the river system’s length to the headwaters of the Mantaro River.

Every so often, a new expedition takes place to find sources that are farther away from the river’s mouth. That is why some sources list the Amazon River’s length as about 3,977 miles and others claim it to be over 4,000 miles. Estimates for the Amazon River’s total system length reach more than 4,300 miles depending on what assumptions are made.

The dense forests and mountainous areas that punctuate the source of the Amazon River make it hard to verify the source. However, future expeditions and studies will likely yield better results in the future.

Where is the Mouth of the Amazon River?

The Amazon River delta is the location at which the river enters the Atlantic Ocean

©Anna Moskvina/

The mouth of the Amazon River is actually divided into three main outlets into the Atlantic. The city of Belém is the largest port city in the mouth region. Before the Amazon River hits the ocean, it forms a massive delta. The average discharge flow rate is 209,000m3/s, the largest in the world! 

The Amazon River delta is a large area where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean, discharging massive amounts of silt-laden water into the sea. As a result, a plume of discharge measuring over 500,000 square miles in size spreads into the ocean, muddying the bottom of the ocean floor as the river lets out.

What Animals Live in and Around the Amazon River?

The Amazon is home to anacondas, Amazon river dolphins, bull sharks, caimans, electric eels, freshwater angelfish, freshwater dolphins, manatees, and piranhas.

Capybaras and nutrias can be found nibbling vegetation on the river banks while giant river otters can be found building their campsites and hunting turtles and small caimans.

How Deep is the Amazon River?

The Amazon River’s deepest point lies 328 feet from the surface


The Amazon River reaches a maximum depth of about 330 feet. Figuring out the depth of the Amazon River is not that difficult since several measures are readily available. Yet, we have to consider two approaches to this question and answer them to thoroughly cover the topic. Let’s break down the question: How deep is the Amazon River? We’ll base this assessment on the overall depth as well as the average depth of the river system.

What is the Deepest Point in the Amazon River?

The deepest point in the Amazon River is 328 feet deep. This occurs in the lowermost section of the Amazon where the depth of the water drops significantly compared to the upper reaches of the river.

Due to the great depth of the river, many parts of it are navigable by ships. However, it becomes more difficult to travel up the waterway in ships past Iquitos, Peru. Part of the reason that so many sections of the river are navigable by boat is that the river has no meaningful bridges crossing it.

However, a relatively small portion of the river is actually 330 feet deep. Most of the river is much shallower as you will soon see.

What is the Average Depth of the Amazon River?

The average depth of the Amazon River is between 66ft and 160ft. This significant average depth allows the river to contain a sizable flow, contributing to the largest river discharge in the world. Interestingly, the massive discharge from this river probably contributes to the overall depth of the river.

All in all, the Amazon River is deep in many parts. Some rivers, like the Mississippi River, have headwaters that are shallow enough that a person could stand in them.

Could You Walk Across the Amazon River?

The Amazon River cannot be waded across at any point


No spots along the Amazon River are shallow enough for a human being to cross on foot. With the average depth of the river of 60ft, it’s safe to say that nobody could traverse the river while merely standing. It’s possible to swim across the river or take a boat across. Also, at least one person has swum the entire length of the Amazon River.  

Is the Amazon River the Deepest River in South America?

The Amazon River is South America’s deepest river

©Wirestock Creators/

The Amazon River is the deepest river in South America. Several other long rivers can be found in South America, including Rio de la Plata. However, that river reaches a depth of about 70ft, far shallower than the deeper sections of the Amazon River.

Still, the Rio de la Plata is known for having a massive river basin. The river basin drains an area of 1,220,000 sq mi, making it one of the largest river basins in the entire world.

What is the Deepest River in the World?

The Congo River is the deepest river in the world

©Ad Meskens / Creative Commons – License

Knowing that the Amazon River is 330ft deep, it may be worth knowing about the deepest river in the entire world. The deepest river in the entire world is the Congo River with a depth of 720ft, a measurement that is so deep that light can’t penetrate that depth.

Interestingly, the Congo River is contained entirely in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and it measures about 2,900 miles in length. That makes the Congo River one of the longest rivers in the world, too.

The Amazon River provides water for millions of people and remains the site of diverse wildlife. Although the river is about 330ft deep, it’s less than half as deep as the deepest river in the world. Still, this body of water is significant for South America and in the greater study of rivers in the world today.

When Is The Best Time To Visit The Amazon River?

The Amazon River is located in a tropical region near the equator, which means that there is no defined season. Instead, there is a high water season, which is January to June, and a low water season, which is July to December.

If you are looking for lower temperatures and less humidity, traveling in the low-water season is best. However, there is a trade-off and some areas might not be as accessible due to the lack of waterways to navigate. Also keep in mind that this is still the Amazon, so it will be hot, humid, and rainy all year round! Pack accordingly.

For smaller crowds but still good weather, consider traveling in the shoulder seasons of April-May and September-October. 

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

Share on:
About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are the largest fish in the Amazon River?

The largest fish in the Amazon River include arapaimas, tambaquis, and piraibas.

How long is the Amazon river?

Now that we know how deep it is, just how long is the Amazon river?

The Amazon River is 4,000 miles (6,400 km) long.


How wide is the Amazon River?

The Amazon River at its widest point is about 7 miles in the dry season and broadens to approximately 25 miles in the rainy season.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.