Top Ten Brazil Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Ride an Amazon River Steamer
By Shawn Blore

If Mark Twain were still around he'd feel right at home on an all-wood triple-decker Amazon riverboat. For everyone else, it's a sight to behold. Livestock and freight, loggers, ranchers, tourists, and Indians: Since the forest is too dense to walk or drive through, riverboats carry everyone. As on the ole Miss, voyagers pass the time talking, eating, drinking, singing, and gambling; in dull moments you can watch the world's last great wilderness drift past. For accommodation there's your own personal hammock, bought on the dock before departure and strung from a post or beam on the passenger deck. Journeys between Belem at the mouth of the river and Manaus in the heart of the forest take somewhere between four and seven days, depending on where and how often you pull in, and whether you're heading upstream or down. Punctuality's not a riverboat's strong suit. Neither, it must be said, is luxury. An Amazon riverboat is pure frontier transportation; bring a hammock, water, some extra food for snacking and, and most important of all, some toilet paper.


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