8 days Itinerary Features Following Highlights:
- The bustling jungle metropolis and gate-way to deep Amazonia
- The Amazon Pink Amazon River Dolphin Inia geoffrensis
- Handy craft from the warrior tribe of the Waimiri-Atroari
- Almerinda Malaquia Foundation – a social project that works
- Amidst the Rio Negro: a labyrinth of 400 islands and the biggest sweet water archipelago on earth
Jaú National Park
- Explore on board our silent canoes and on foot, a piece of the 2,272,000 ha of untamed wilderness inside Brazil's biggest National Park. The Park is home of uncountable species of birds, macaws, alligators, anacondas, giant otters, tapirs, jaguars. Be an overnight guest with a cabóclo family and experience how to live from the river and the forest
Madada, Unini river, and Airão Velho, the abandoned city on Rio Jaú
- Mystical caves, wall carvings and ruins of a once prosperous, now lost city amidst the Amazon
We pick you up at the airport and transfer to the Hotel either Monaco or Brasil. After check-in we take you for a guided city tour. We will visit the main attractions, which are there is no doubt, the opera house Teatro Amazonas with its delicate fountain; a splendid neoclassical building of the size of the Scala (the opera house in Milan, Italy). After 15 years of construction it was inaugurated in 1896 as the symbol of the rubber boom, one of the most prosperous economic cycles in Brazil's history.
Another beautiful example of the rich past of Manaus is the Palácio Rio Negro, constructed at the end of 19th century by a the excentric German rubber baron Waldemar Scholz. The Palácio Rio Negro today host a cultural centre.
From here we walk down to the port area and visit the Mercado Municipal, the city's marketplace, where regional food, exotic fruits, unbelievable quantities and varieties of fish, and handicrafts are displayed. The iron structures of the market, inaugurated 1883, were designed by a famous Frenchman called Gustave Eiffel, the builder of the Tour d'Eiffel in Paris.
We then visit the fascinating floating port of Manaus, called Porto Flutuante. A colourful mix of people running busily around to embark or disembark, load or unload the boats that reach practically every corner of the Amazonian universe, except where waterfalls or rapids block the way. The 3 story boats are significantly called gaiolas, which literally means cages! Here, at the banks of the Rio Negro, we stop for an exotic drink before we have dinner in a typical Amazonian fish restaurant. For the evening and, depending on what is on stage, we could watch a performance in the historic Teatro Amazonas.
After breakfast we leave the hotel at 8:00 am in direction to the “Meeting of the Waters”, to watch the phenomena of two rivers, the black Rio Negro and the white Rio Solimões running next to each other for 6 miles before they join and form the Rio Amazonas which is a spectacular and unrivaled sight. From here we visit the Janauary Eco Park, to marvel at giant Victoria regia water lilies. Lunch. We proceed now to the port where we take a boat to cross over to the right banks of the Rio Negro, from where we drive by car to the settlement of the indigenous people of the Satéré-Mawê tribe, near the village of Iranduba, on the Ariaú river.
The Sateré Mawê have given the famous guaraná plant, Paullinia cupana, to the world. Guaraná as it is known, of the family of the Sapindaces, is a plant with 4-8 % caffeine in its dry mass and produces a very stimulating long term effect. The plant is of great importance to the tribe's social and economical structure. The tribe also celebrates the famous passage of the young warriors. The for westerners macabre rites involves the dança da tucandeira, the largest and most venomous ants of the world, also called “bullet ant”, or Paraponera clavata. These rites are celebrated during the “Meeting of the Warriors”, every year in November.
A traditional welcome dance and chant will be performed by children and you will be introduced to their natural pharmacy where you can experience some of their medical herbs and plants. We will eat dinner with the tribe and join the men for a night out on the river for spear fishing and alligator spotting. Overnight is in the village in hammocks.
After breakfast the cabóclo will show us his plantations of manioc, rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis, Brazil nut Bertholletia excelsa and exotic fruits. The manioc press and other equipment will impress us because of its simplicity and functionality as do the extraction techniques from the rubber tree.
We continue now our boat ride through the archipelago until we arrive at the Jaú National Park authorities for identification. Inside the Park we head for the home of another cabóclo family for lunch, visit their plantations and learn how they produce food from the river and forest. After a siesta we take the canoe for wildlife observation inside the igapó. The igapó is a permanently flooded forest and host many species of birds but also monkeys, tapirs, giant otters, anacondas and other mammals and reptiles. We will anchor at the Carabinani rapids and take the canoe again for wildlife watching of nocturnal animals and in particular the jacaré açu, the Amazonian Giant Cayman.
The day will be spent canoeing through igapós and igarapés in search of more wildlife and to marvel at the overwhelming vegetation here reflecting in the waters while the canoe glides silently over the flooded tree tops. We should be able to observe several kinds of monkeys, giant otters, snakes, tarantula. After arrival at Tabatinga we pitch camp in the forest and making preparations for dinner with grilled fish from the own catch. It could be a delicious piracurú or jaú. Armed with flash lights we take our canoe again for a ride through the Tabatinga igarapé for night fishing and wildlife observation. Note: during the dry season, from October through April, we will have to pass the 7 rapids by hiking for about 2 hours through the forest to arrive upstream where our canoes are anchored.
This morning we get up early to watch on board a canoe the beautiful Amazonian sunrise and listen to the early morning song of the birds welcoming a new day in the jungle. We then return for breakfast. The Tabatinga igarapé is an area distant from civilization and rich in wildlife, which we will be observing and photographing during the next three days. The wildlife list of the region includes among other animals, brown–throated and three-toed sloth, giant cayman, several species of monkeys, tapir, giant and lesser anteater, jaguar Felis onca, or the Felis incolor, the puma, eventually anaconda, tarantula, macaws, toucans several kinds of parakeets.
Again we leave early today for a long walk into the jungle. We take provisions with us so that we don't need to go back to the camp for lunch. We will discover the secrets of the deep forests and our guide will explain some of the miracles of interaction of the species in plant life and how life at this stage of nature is still connected and dependent within the species. This absolute pristine and untouched area is also appropriated for some survival demonstrations performed by our guides, including identification of eatable plants and animals, water supplies, building of shelter, manufacturing of weaponry and traps from materials of the forest. Usually we discover also rare species of orchids and bromeliads on these hikes. We are back at the camp in late afternoon. The rest of the day is at leisure and a refreshing bath in the clear water river and a well earned rest is the best thing to do now. In the meantime the cook has fire lit and dinner will be ready soon. Some story telling around the fire place or going with the guides to the river to catch next days provisions.
We will break off the camp and get ready to start our way back to Novo Airão on the rivers Carabinani, Jaú, Rio Negro, Anavilhanas. We will be stopping to visit the mysterious wall carvings at Unini river not fully elucidated by science, caves at Madada and the ruins of the abandoned village of Airão Velho, now taken over by the forest. Arriving at Novo Airão we have Dinner in a real restaurant and overnight in a hotel with a real bed and hot showers.
The activities planned for the morning are feeding and swimming with the joyful pink river dolphins Inia geoffrensis right down at the harbor, visit their the wharf to watch how regional boats are being built without plans and maps and visit of the Almerinda Malaquia Foundation – a social project to train local artisans and promote labor. With time left we will still visit the snake house with some interesting species to be seen, including anaconda. It is time now to drive back to Manaus airport for your flights and connections.
End of our services.
Bruni, Rebecca and Clarissa
back to our everyday life in Germany, we would like to thank Southern Cross Tours & Expeditions sincerely for the excellent organisation of our Amazon tour. My daughters and I loved it – what a contrast to Rio and Sao Paulo. We have returned from the Amazon full of new impressions and great memories. The decision to explore parts of the Anavilhanas and the Jau National park by boat was the only right one, and as you had predicted we did not feel ready to leave this paradise yet after 5 days.
As I said, the trip was amazing. I was sceptical at the beginning, also because of the long distance from Rio. However, my daughter Rebecca was being so stubborn about this, so I finally gave in, and I do not regret this decision. I was simply fascinated and I wish we could have stayed a lot longer. The boat ride was beautiful, informative and very relaxing. No hectic, no tourist crowds, jungle excursions, swimming in the Rio Negro river, no noise, only the sounds of the jungle and its overwhelmingly beautiful nature. Thanks as well to Sebastiana, who has prepared outstandingly delicious meals for us, and of course to Valmir, the Southern Cross Guide who was accompanying us. All of you have contributed in order to make this trip an unforgettable experience for us.
One can only hope that environmental protection will bring about an end to the destruction of this paradise called Amazon rainforest soon.
Antje Weißenberger, Axel Köhler, and Johann Pressl
its been 4 weeks that we arrived back home from our holidays. If I would have to give a short resume on our Amazon tour I would say: it was something very, very special and a small part of our hearts have remained there. Your guides have decisively contributed to make the time there unforgettable and did everything to make it as pleasant as possible for us.
There was Ben, the always good humored story teller and there was Keka whom we admired for his always alert senses for that what surrounded us and what we have not been able to detect. His trained eyes and his ear for sounds of the jungle, his patience and instinct to make us actually see the animals of which we have heard only their noises before. Also his cooking skills were extraordidnary, when you consider the simplicity of means at hand. The fish we catched ourselves and he cooked to perfection, covering it with a Banana leaf, was something out of this world. Unforgettable.
When the boat glided silently through the Igarapé flooded forest we were totally and absolutely disconnected of the hectical and stressy life back home. We also never thought it possible to go for a swimm in a river that is home to anacondas, sting rays, prianhas and cayman. In short, we experienced a pristine jungle first hand - Adventure holiday was what we wanted and what we got.
We also would like to thank you, dear Peter, for the perfect organization and the great guides. We definitely will recommend Southern Cross Tours & Expeditions.
Antje, Hans & Axel
Heike Stock and Matthias Richter
Ref: Trip with Amazon Travel Brazil
Well, the weather was just bad luck but as I said, both of our guides put their shoulders to the wheel to make even. We had many great moments together with Bernhard and Keka.
Except of the misfortune with the Indians we had no complains regarding organization, equipment, guides, the tour,etc. It was a phantastic trip with super competent guides, very good equipment and excellent cuisine. Keka even had packed beer together with the other provisions. It was served ice cold.
Also the Hotel in Manaus was good and our guide Mario there really put in all efforts to show us around in Manaus. All worked out fine and we will recommend the tour.
Regarding the Pantanal we expect to see many animals & as bigger as better. The whole program: anacondas, jaguars, giant anteaters, other snakes, spides and everything what nature there has to offer.
The pictures you sent were great. I look forward to receiving some more .......Good crew and good food.
I especially liked the staff telling us about where they are from.
Accomodations were good both in the hotels and on the boat. Liked visiting the native villages and the wood artisans.
Also, I wouldn't have wanted to miss the village on the last day so it was worth being rushed. And all this time I thought you were an expert on everything! You are right about the cost. When I went on a Lindblad cruise to the Galapagos they had nightly talks about geology, oceanography, animals, plants, etc., but it was an expensive trip and I'm sure they paid those experts well.
It was a good trip with Amazon Travel Brazil and I would recommend it to others. Have a good summer (or I guess its winter for you),
Nancy Jean Lust
This is Nancy writing. You asked for feedback on the trip and here it is. I had a blast! As an educator, I found it very interesting that we got to go to some places not typically associated with tourism...like the Manioc farm with explanation of how to make it, and the artisanal wood studios. Obviously, I wish we could have done all of the things on the original itinerary (like learning more about how the natives use which plants for what purpose...Day 6), but I understand why we had to deviate from this original plan.
I LIKED traveling on a slow boat, rather than a speed boat. I live in such a fast-paced world, that traveling slowly up the river was just plain relaxing. Plus it makes for better bird watching. I have never taken a trip by boat before, and I've never really been interested in taking your typical "cruise" but this was completely different. Having a small boat, with a small group, is key. If our group had been bigger, I think it would have gotten on my nerves. You would have to wait too long for people to get ready, there would be constant jockeying for position to get the 'great shot' with the camera, and in this instance, small is just generally better. Our size group allowed us to all get to know each other, without overly separating into cliques. So, despite the fact that more people might be more profitable ...I would recommend keeping the boat and group size small.
As far as the itinerary, one thing that I might try to intentionally plan for is a shopping excursion in Manaus. When I go overseas, I usually try to get some of my Christmas shopping done, and while I appreciated and purchased several items from the local Indians and from the stores in Novo Airão, it would be fun to see what the city had to offer.
Thanks again to Southern Cross for helping us to have such a wonderful experience in the Amazon!
Nancy Jean Lust