Top Ten Brazil Classic Adventures

Explore the Amazon
By Shawn Blore

The last great wilderness on earth, and larger than all of Western Europe combined, the Amazon is truly a place of marvels: more biodiversity and more free-flowing freshwater than anywhere else on earth. And on what a scale: The river itself stretches for 4,000 miles from Brazil far into Peru, and the Amazon Basin covers 2.3 million square miles.

Visitors to the Amazon rainforest can expect to see trees in a mind-numbing variety of shapes, sizes, colors and configurations, vines weaving themselves amongst the trees, creepers hanging from the vines, and orchids and bromeliads by the bushel basket. For wildlife, there are monkeys crashing over the treetops, snakes and tortoise on the forest floor, and sloths, toucans, and bright red macaws in amongst the tree trunks.

You'll find all these things and more, but given the Amazon's vastness, it can take a little time. Jungle lodges—not far from Manaus—are one option. Excursions take you bird watching, piranha fishing, caiman spotting, or to an Amazonian village. Another option: Live aboard a boat. Some cruise lines, like Royal Olympic, make an excursion into the basin. Other companies, like Abercrombie & Kent, can take you on a first-class, multi-day trip from Manaus to Iquitos, Peru, with excursions on tiny Zodiacs. For the truly adventurous, a number of Manaus operators offer two-week (or longer) expeditions, first by plane and speedboat up the narrowing Rio Negro, then by kayak or canoe through far-off tributaries north to the peaks of Pico de Neblina, or south to the villages and territory of seldom-met tribes of the Yanomani Indians.

Go in the dry season, when you'll be able to walk around, or the wet, when the forest floods and lifts boaters some 20 feet closer to the canopy.


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