Expedition cruising on the Amazon River
Explore the Central Amazon Ecological Corridor, the world's largest Amazon reserve and some of the most untouched rainforest in the Amazon. You'll see pink river dolphins, a kaleidoscope of colorful birds, magnificent rainforest trees draped with vines and carpeted with orchids, and monkeys chattering and cavorting in the trees. Swim at deserted beaches in water as pure and clean as rainwater, hike in forests where the only tracks are your own, and explore the river's edge from our launches, including evening excursions watching for nocturnal species!
7 days easy walking on varied terrain, exploration on launches
- Expedition cruising in the Amazon—the greatest wilderness on earth
- Listen to the exotic calls of birds and mammals and watch them from a forest trail or while scouting the river's edge in our launches
- Visit the homes of deep forest settlers, learning what their lives are like living on the edge of this vast, trackless forest
Duration: 8 days Start Location: Manaus End Location: ManausDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Rendezvous in Manaus
Meet at 7:00 a.m. at the five-star Hotel Tropical in Manaus, where we’ll board our expedition vessel, the M/Y Tucano. We highly recommend spending the prior night in Manaus, at our rendezvous hotel or another location in town. Manaus is no small town on the edge of the Amazon—with 1.7 million inhabitants, it is Brazil’s eighth largest city, and boasts a stunning Belle Époque opera house built during the city’s rubber industry boom.
After a brief introduction on board, we will begin our expedition cruise upstream on the Río Negro (pron. NAY-grow), or “black river.” Blackwater rivers are found in swamps and wetlands, stained from the tannins released from decaying vegetation, resulting in lower nutrient levels in the water and harboring a unique array of vegetation and organisms completely different from whitewater rivers.
Navigating the world’s largest river island system, the Anavilhanas Archipelago, you’ll study an amazing array of vegetation from the observation deck of our yacht, leaving traces of civilization behind us by mid-afternoon. A natural labyrinth, Anavilhanas is made up of over 400 rainforest islands, where butterflies, iguanas, monkeys, manatees, and snakes all make their home. The rainforest crowds the edges of the river, expanding as far as the eye can see. You’ll see beautiful exotic birds, particularly scarlet macaws and toucans, and hope for a glance of the river’s famous pink dolphins. In the late afternoon, you’ll head out in launches to search out sightings of wildlife closer to the river’s edge. The clean refreshing water may beg you to jump in for a cool swim.
Days 2 - 3 : Río Negro
Beckoned by the calls of howler monkeys and boisterous toucans, you’ll rise early to explore the rainforest’s morning hubbub in launches. Our visit will almost certainly yield encounters with monkeys, like the white-faced capuchin monkey, or dozens of black-headed squirrel monkeys carousing in the trees. After returning to the yacht for a hearty Brazilian breakfast, you’ll head into the rainforest on foot. Under a canopy of trees up to 200 feet tall, discover the kapok tree—the biggest tree of the Amazon rainforest—and traipse amid ferns and bromeliads to look for orchids. You’ll return to the yacht for a late lunch, as we continue upstream, gliding past endless tree canopies. Relax in the afternoon, keeping in tune with much of the surrounding wildlife, and later enjoy the sunset chirps and croaks of birds and frogs. We may continue upstream in the evening, with the still humid air around us and a canopy of stars above.
Days 4 - 5 : Río Jauaperi
We will navigate the Tucano closer to shore this morning, scouring the foliage and water’s edge for wildlife—like the capybara, a 150-pound rodent akin to the guinea pig that spends much of its time in the water. You’ll disembark to discover the lives of the forest’s indigenous people, during a memorable home visit and introduction to their way of life. Back on the boat, we’ll edge up to the Río Jauaperi, where Western exploration arrived only well into the eighteenth century, when Portuguese settlers sought to sell indigenous peoples as slaves. Today the region will feel particularly void of human influence, with an extending canopy of trees in either direction, and the reflection of clouds on the river.
Extend your imagination to the tales of the pink dolphin, which, legend has it, has the penchant to transform into a handsome young man at night, seducing and impregnating young women, and reverting to a regular pink dolphin by day. Pink dolphins may be blue, pale, or pink, and because their neck vertebrae are not fused together, can bend their necks 90 degrees for better fish-eating. Keep in mind that eye contact with a pink dolphin will reportedly give you nightmares for life, so do be cautious.
At night, you’ll venture out into the calm evening (weather permitting) for a nocturnal excursion—much of the wildlife of the Amazon is nocturnal and we'll have a good chance of seeing sloths, squirrel monkeys, and other types of tree-dwelling mammals. Not to mention the beady eyes of the caiman—a South American alligator—gliding through the water. It is at night that we have our best chance of glimpsing the creepy crawly things of Amazon fame…from the safety of our boat’s launches.
The following day, we’ll navigate back onto the Río Negro, counting bird species above the river and over the tops of trees—after all, the Amazon Basin is home to over one third of the world’s bird species. You’ll hear the cry of the toucan, similar to the sound of a croaking frog, and spy macaws in a variety of colors, perhaps paired off with a lifelong mate. Take a closer look at colorful animals and plant life from our launches or on walks through the teeming rainforest, with another opportunity (weather permitting) to discover the Amazon’s nighttime creatures.
Day 6 : Novo Airão
Now that you’ve become acquainted with the main characters and characteristics of the Amazon, you’ll begin to see past the first layer of detail on your morning walk in the forest. You may see tiny red poison dart frogs, owl butterflies, yellow polka-dotted grasshoppers, or perhaps a Titan beetle—at over 6 inches long, the largest beetle in the rainforest.
After an exhilarating morning walk, we’ll continue downstream and debark on the west bank of the Río Negro, in the town of Novo Airão. Boat building has transformed this village into a proper city of 15,000 residents. Nestled among the vastness of the rainforest, you’ll discover that the 19th-century way of life is still alive and well in this corner of the forest. Tonight the Tucano will travel back downstream while we sleep. On deck, enjoy another delicious Brazilian meal, along with the national lime juice cocktail, caipirinha, and maybe a hip-sway or two in samba, the national dance.
Day 7 : Lago Janauari Ecological Park
After most of the week spent on the dark, tea-colored waters of the Río Negro, we’ll explore the Lago Janauari Ecological Park, where elevated boardwalks bring you closer to the treetop canopy. You’ll see enormous Vitoria Regia water lilies (up to seven feet in diameter!), and may be approached by small children in canoes, showing off their handily caught rainforest creatures. Back on boat, you’ll witness the unique phenomenon of the Encontro das Aguas, or Meeting of the Waters, where the turbulent rivers of the Río Negro and Río Amazonas meet but do not merge for several miles. The thicker consistency of the blackwater Rio Negro, along with differences in temperature and flow speed between the rivers, holds the rivers in tandem yet separate, swirling in whirlpools the size of basketball courts. We’ll diverge from the main river onto a hidden stream where you’ll discover more of the rainforest’s creatures. Take one last shot at catching nocturnal wildlife in action—from anteaters to caiman, on a nighttime excursion.
Day 8 : Depart
Enjoy a last morning on our boat along with a leisurely and hearty Brazilian breakfast. Disembark shortly after breakfast at the starting point for our trip, the Hotel Tropical in Manaus.
DATES: Best time to go: Year round Departures: Sep 27, 2014 - Oct 4, 2014 Oct 11 - 18, 2014 Oct 25, 2014 - Nov 1, 2014 Nov 8 - 15, 2014 Nov 22 - 29, 2014 Dec 6 - 13, 2014 Dec 20 - 27, 2014 Jan 10 - 17, 2015 Jan 24 - 31, 2015 Feb 21 - 28, 2015 Mar 7 - 14, 2015 Mar 21 - 28, 2015 Apr 11 - 18, 2015 Apr 25, 2015 - May 2, 2015 May 9 - 16, 2015 May 23 - 30, 2015 Jun 6 - 13, 2015 Jun 20 - 27, 2015 Jul 4 - 11, 2015 Jul 18 - 25, 2015 Aug 8 - 15, 2015 Aug 22 - 29, 2015 Sep 12 - 19, 2015 Sep 26, 2015 - Oct 3, 2015 Oct 10 - 17, 2015 Oct 24 - 31, 2015 Nov 7 - 14, 2015 Nov 21 - 28, 2015 Dec 19 - 26, 2015
2014 Prices (per person, in US$)
$3,450 ("Green" cabins - bunk beds with above and below berths)
$3,850 ("Yellow" cabins - two beds side by side)
2015 Prices (per person, in US$)
$3,700 ("Green" cabins - bunk beds with above and below berths)
$4,120 ("Yellow" cabins - two beds side by side)
Single supplement (available in "Green" cabins only) -- 50% (no charge if willing to share).
Children 12 or under who share a room with an adult receive a discount of 50% off the Cruise Rate, subject to cabin availability.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
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