An adventure like no other
For those used to European cruises, the sheer size of the Amazon is overwhelming
However, for those wanting to travel to the upper levels of the river, there are also plenty of smaller boats that can penetrate further into the continent than ocean-going liners, passing through the Brazilian Amazon into the more unknown Peruvian stretches of the river. Aqua Expeditions, Lindblad and G Adventures are just some of the options for your journey into the rainforest.
Because cruising to the Amazon involves the rainforest, you must expect wet weather and be prepared for heavy rain. However, the amount of rainfall does vary according to the time of year. Jungle trails are more accessible during the dry season of May to November, while the flood season of December to April allows for more exploration of the Amazon tributaries and brings you closer to the forest canopy with its rich abundance of wildlife.
The river winds its way through the rainforest far from civilisation, making it popular with bird and animal spotters, but there are also several ports along the river. Some, such as Parintins, are only accessible by boat or plane. Manaus is known as the” jungle city” and is a navigable port located 1000 miles from the ocean. Markets, museums and even a gold-domed opera house can all be visited in this city.
In Santarem, you can get close to the wildlife on the trails in the nearby Santa Lucia Woods. Anteaters, parrots, sloths and monkeys are just some of the creatures that you are likely to spot. Birdwatchers will love Maica Lake with its varied bird life as well as the abundance of tropical fish. Santarem’s harbour is lined with wooden houses on stilts, and watching the traditional fishing methods of their inhabitants is a popular excursion.
The Anavilhanas Islands are the world’s largest freshwater archipelago. The 400 islands are often submerged in the wet season and are mostly uninhabited apart from monkeys, pumas, jaguars, reptiles and amphibians. Barbecues on the islands’ beautiful beaches are an enjoyable experience offered by many cruise operators.
When cruising on the Amazon, it is necessary to be prepared for all weather. Take sunhats, sunscreen, raincoats and umbrellas. It is also advisable to take plenty of insect repellent, as mosquitos thrive in the damp conditions. Most of all, bring a sense of adventure to fully experience this mighty waterway.