The Amazon is one of the world’s greatest treasures. In fact, some people refer to the rainforest as the “lungs of the planet” because the plant life there produces one-fifth of the world’s oxygen. Millions of plants and animal species inhabit the region. The rivers in the forest offer a perfect way to see its splendours.
Getting to the Amazon
Amazon tours use Manaus, the fastest growing city in Brazil, as their base. In Manaus, you’ll visit the “Meeting of the Waters,” where the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões rivers come together and form the Lower Amazon River. The rivers that meet at this place have different water that don’t easily mix together. Witness the dark, almost black water immediately next to water of a brownish hue.
While you’re in Manaus, enjoy duty-free shopping and visit the famous opera house, Amazon Theatre. Built in the late 19th-century, this architectural marvel retains its original charm and beauty. The dome on the outside of the building contains more than 36,000 coloured tiles. See a show there and gaze at this amazing ceiling.
From the city, you’ll head out on your tour of the Amazon. All tours offer similar experiences. You’ll visit local communities, feast your eyes on pink river dolphins, catch and release caiman, fish for piranhas, and see a local shaman. Even after all that activity, you’ll still have some time to relax on your own. Follow your guide’s advice for making the most of your experience. The snakes and spiders shouldn’t cause you any problems.
Here is some information on Amazon cruise vessels to help you decide which is best for you.
The Tucano is a traditional Amazon river boat adapted to accommodate tourists. The boat is large enough for your comfort — more than 80 feet long — but small enough to go farther on the Rio Negro than other vessels. Indeed, its suitability for the river is a large part of the boat’s appeal. Aboard the Tucano, you’ll have opportunities for spotting wildlife.
During the eight-day tour, you’ll visit a small village, but since much of the trip takes place in areas where very few people live, the natural beauty is largely unspoiled. You’ll travel through the UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Central Amazon Conservation Complex.
The boat has only nine cabins, making for an intimate experience. The cabins themselves include twin beds, private bathrooms, and air-conditioning. All the windows on the boat open so you can enjoy the fresh air, but they also have insect screens to protect you. For your meals, enjoy dishes designed by one of the best chefs in Brazil.
5-Day Amazon River Cruise: Tucano
The Desafio is a modern sloop-type vessel, a bit more than 100 feet long. Cruises on this ship are ideal for budget travellers or those who are getting into this form of travel for the first time. The four-day itineraries are rich with sights to see. You’ll hop on a canoe and let a guide grant you an intimate river experience. Plus, you’ll revel in wildlife spotting.
The cabins on board are comfortable, and they include air conditioning. Sip a drink at the outdoor bar or soak up some the South American rays on the sundeck.
4-Day Amazon River Cruise: M/V Desafio
The Clipper Premium is a four-deck clipper vessel with room for up to 32 passengers, an ideal ship if you’re traveling with extended family or a large group of friends. You’ll ride in comfort as you enjoy the amenities of this four-star ship. The large cabins have hot showers and individual air conditioning units.
The large common area is the perfect spot to spend time with your fellow travellers or gaze at the surrounding scenery. Step out on the sun deck to feel even closer to nature or cool off in one of the onboard plunge pools.
3-Day Amazon River Cruise: Clipper Premium
The Iberostar calls itself a “floating hotel” — and for good reason. Onboard, you’ll enjoy five-star amenities, including large cabins with private facilities and individual air conditioning. Splash around in the ship’s swimming pool, grab a drink at the bar, and make time for the onboard entertainment. The Iberostar comes with a cruise ship experience on one of the world’s most exotic rivers.
The vessel is 270 feet long, and so its large size bars it from venturing very far along the river. However, you can take excursions on smaller vessels for a closer look at the Amazon’s unique beauty. A trip on Iberostar lasts about four days, offering a short but indulgent experience.
4-Day Amazon River Cruise: Iberostar River Boat
The world is full of natural beauty, but the Amazon region is perhaps one of the most breathtaking places on the planet. The diverse plant and animal life, coupled with its tranquil setting, welcomes visitors to South America. While you’ll enjoy your venture to the Amazon whenever you go, you may prefer to visit during the dry season, between July and December. With fewer mosquitoes in those months, the lack of rain also provides more opportunities to lounge about on the sundeck of your chosen vessel.
Ready to see the Amazon for yourself? Explore some Amazon adventure travel options to plan a trip that fits within your budget, preferences, and schedule.