6 Days Itinerary Featuring Following Highlights:
- The bustling jungle metropolis and gateway to deep Amazônia
- Swimming with pink Amazon river dolphin Inia geoffrensis
- 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.
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer by van and ferry, crossing the Rio Negro river and proceeding to Novo Airão with arrival there estimated at noon. Before lunch we visit the Almerinda Malaquias Foundation. This innovative project offers the younger river population the opportunity and the economic platform to produce in creative self-management extraordinarily beautiful wooden crafts of high quality. The pieces can be purchased right from the artisan. Either now or on our way back, we take a joyful swim amidst the playful pink river dolphins Enia geoffrensis.
Everybody and everything on board, we take a 3½ hr boat ride through the Anavilhanas archipelago, to arrive at our camp, a cabóclos hut. Cabóclos are people who live from the river and the forest. Presentation and chats around the fireplace go along with drinks and a typical dinner. The first overnight in the jungle will be in hammocks.
After breakfast we visit the 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. We take on the river again and continue on the Rio Negro until we arrive at the mouth of the Jaú river where we have to check with the Parks authorities IBAMA. Now, inside the Jaú National Park you will marvel at this unique environment which is the Amazonian rainforest and rivers.
Stop at the Guariba waterfall and rapids. Lunch is at the beach. In the afternoon we take the canoe to watch monkeys, giant otters Pteronura brasiliensis and birds, while driving silently through the igapós (flooded forest). We stay again for overnight with another cabóclo family, who we support in their effort to get their roof thatched, as they are not allowed to take natural fibers out of the Park. At night and with the help of powerful flashlights we set out on canoes to observe jacaré açu, which are the big Amazon cayman, who can get as big as 5 meters.
This morning we watch the beautiful Amazonian sunrise and listen to the early morning song of the birds of the jungle on board our canoe. Return for breakfast. Decamp and boarding the boat to proceed on the Carabinani river to Tabatinga. This remote region is rarely visited by tourists. After arrival, in late afternoon, we go for a canoe ride through the Tabatinga igarapé (temporarily flooded forest), for more wildlife watching. In the region we can usually observe tapir and sometimes jaguar. Return for dinner, which is followed by another canoe night excursions to watch nocturnal animals.
Another morning on photo hunt for giant otters and other wildlife before we start our way back via the black water igarapé, where we will have lunch. Perhaps a delicious jaú, tucunaré or piracurú fish, that you did catch early this morning, cooked to perfection by our guides, is on the menu for dinner. In the afternoon, after check-out with IBAMA, we take photos from the mysterious wall carvings right at the river banks and continue our journey on the Rio Negro in direction to the mystical caves, ruins and more wall carvings of Madada. This site, which we will explore tomorrow, is still undiscovered by science and quite unique.
We will break off the camp at daybreak and start our way back to Novo Airão on the rivers Carabinani, Jaú, Unini, 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 take a hot shower in a hotel and change clothes for we are returning to Manaus and to civilization. Transfer to the airport for late flight departure or Hotel Manaus.
we like to let you know that we were very happy with the trip you have organized for us. The Rio Negro river tour was obviously the high light, despite our disappointment at the beginning because we did not see many animals. But this seems to be normal in the rain forest. Be it day or night on the Rio Negro, we enjoyed being on that boat at any time. Being on route at night was specially exiting, though. I liked the size of the boat, not big but very cozy. I guess I would not have appreciated a bigger boat.Everything worked well and thank you for "saving" us in Manaus. If things go well with my son we will contact Southern Cross Tours again next year for the Pantanal Wildlife Safari.
All the best from Vienna for you and your company,