The Amazon River has more water than the next eight largest rivers combined.
When to Travel?
All year long - Rivers, Trails, Ecological Tours, Boat Tours and Indians
Where is It?
The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the rainforest
The Amazon basin is a marvel of the world and the imagination, an ecosystem of unrivaled size and diversity, and a place of near mythical status among travellers. The Amazon River has more water than the next eight largest rivers combined, and is twice the area of India, and the basin spans eight countries. It’s a life spring of the planet, the source of so much of the air, water and weather we all depend on. However, unreasonable travel expectations – like seeing jaguars and semi-clothed Indians around every bend – can be a recipe for disappointment. For all its size, the joys of the Amazon are mostly subtle: the ghostly roar of howler monkeys, the remarkable variety of plant life, the kindliness of riverside communities and the quiet but awesome power of the river itself. Here we focus on the accessing the Amazon inBrazil.
When To Go
May to June is a great time to visit, being midway between the rainiest months (February to April) and the hottest driest ones (September to November). It’s also when the water level in the Amazon River is highest and the surrounding forest is flooded. The Amazon rises and falls by an amazing 12 to 15 meters annually, and few experiences are more sublime, or uniquely Amazonian, than gliding silently in a canoe through the flooded forest. That said, the dry season is attractive for its clear weather and opportunities for long hikes.
A common way to experience the Amazon is at a ‘jungle lodge’. Most lodges feature private rooms, family-style meals and daily excursions, but amenities such as en suite bathrooms and 24-hour electricity vary. Many lodges include a chance to sleep in the forest, whether just a night at an established camp or hiking for two or three days on a ‘survival tour’. Near Manaus, Amazon Antonio Jungle Tours and Amazon Gero Tours (www.amazongerotours.com) have good lodges and reasonable rates. Upscale options in the same area include Juma Lodge andAnavilhanas Lodge. And one of the best lodges in the entire Amazon is Uakari Lodge (www.uakarilodge.com.br) in Mamirauá Reserve.
What To Do
There are a handful of activities virtually every visitor to the Amazon does. The most memorable are long hikes or canoe trips to enjoy and learn about the forest, and hopefully spot some wildlife. You may also visit the home of a local family, spend a night in the jungle, and do fun stuff like piranha fishing and cayman spotting. Always confirm what activities are included in a tour before booking. For most people, a week is a good amount of time to enjoy and experience the Amazon. Accounting for two to three days of travel and transfers, that leaves four to five days for excursions and activities. If you’ve got more than a week, consider splitting your time in different areas of the Amazon rather than spending it all in one place.
Manaus is serviced by direct flights from all over Brazil, and even Miami. You can also get there by boat from anywhere on the Amazon, including Belém and Porto Velho, but be prepared for a long trip (two to five days). You can reach Tefé and Alter do Chão by air or by boat. For Tefé, most flights and boats connect through Manaus. For Alter do Chão, catch a plane or boat from Manaus or Belém to the city of Santarém, and take a bus or taxi from there (35km). Speedboats are available between Manaus and Tefé, and are faster than an ordinary boat but cheaper than a plane. Flying is, of course, much quicker than taking a boat, and sometimes not much more expensive. Then again, long distance boat travel is an experience unto itself: chugging along for days at a time, sleeping in hammocks, and whiling away the hours with other passengers. You won’t see much in terms of wildlife or scenery though, as the boat follows the huge main channel.
VIEW THE PHOTOS
From $450 / Person
Loved everything about my trip, the beaches, the culture, the people. A must see tour in Brazil, definitely recommend booking this tour.