South America Natural Adventures
nature travel, wildlife tours, adventure travel and general travel to Chile, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and Antarctica
our Amazon Voyage
Our basic plan will be to first explore the Rio Negro upstream as far as the Rio Jauaperi, a very interesting tributary coming in from the north. We end the trip with a visit on the Amazon River itself. It is important to explore the tributaries of the Amazon, since the main river has many settlers along its banks. Over several days we will gradually explore the rainforests for up to 200 miles away from our starting point. This region has some of the most untouched rainforest in all of the Amazon and is the least inhabited place on the planet.
will visit several kinds of forest including the strange and beautiful
flooded forest known by Amazon Indians as the Igapó [ee-gah-poh].
In the Igapó, the dark water seasonally floods into the forest,
at times for several miles. Orchids and bromeliads cling to the limbs
of overhanging trees, which are home also to many fishing birds and
iguanas. We will also explore the other two kinds of rainforest of
the Amazon: the tall terre firme forest and the fantastically rich
varzea forest. We will see amazingly colorful birds, magnificent rainforest
trees draped with vines and carpeted with orchids, and occasional
monkeys chattering and cavorting in the tree branches.
The rainforest in this area has unique plants and animals and our aim is to both observe them and describe their astonishing habits. We will get out into the forest and explore - not simply watch the river banks from the deck of the boat. We will walk in the forest and scout in our launches the small streams that radiate off the main river. We will swim off deserted beaches in water as pure and clean as rainwater and be treated to vistas of wild rainforest stretching as far as the eye can see.
On our walks in the rainforest we will observe magnificent plants of every imaginable shape and size. We will listen to the exotic calls of birds and mammals and watch them from the shaded forest trail. In the evenings we will have a brief discussion on creatures that we observed during the day and about the extraordinary ways in which these plants and animals have evolved to live in this ancient rainforest.Some nights we will explore the river's edge with flashlights and we will see caiman, close relatives of crocodiles. Their eyes have a reddish glow in reflected light.
Despite the great length of the Negro, there are only a few small settlements large enough to be considered towns. It remains a true wilderness. Beyond the tangle of vines and limbs along the river banks are hundreds of thousands of square miles of primitive forest where the forces that shape plant and animal evolution continue on as they have for millions of years.
Terra firme is the forest most people have in mind when they think of rainforest. On the hills and stretching for thousands of miles away from the river banks, terre firme is dominated by giant forest trees with buttresses like the fins of rocket ships. Along the shaded forest floor there are wonderfully adapted plants and we will see the trails of wild pigs, agoutis, paca, jaguar, armadillo, and other large animals that live in the rainforest.
Though large forest animals are usually wary enough to stay hidden, one terra firme resident that insists on being heard is the largest primate in South America, the howler monkey. At dusk different tribes growl to one another and their howls echo across the trackless forest from stream to river to hill.
The third major type of forest we will observe is the varzea. This type is also a flooded forest, but the water that rushes through the trees is café au lait in color and is heavy with minerals and nutrients eroded from the Andes Mountains. In this tremendously rich system we will see large concentrations of birds, mammals, and a collection of plants entirely different from igapó or terra firme.
In addition to our rainforest explorations another important feature of the program will be our visits to the homes of deep forest settlers. We will visit with them and learn what their lives are like, living on the edge of this vast trackless forest. A walk through their gardens is always interesting and we will marvel at the skills they possess for living in the complex environment of the tropical forest. All deep forest settlers collect plants for medicines and we will talk with them about which plants they collect and their uses. Many of these settlers are of Indian ancestry and the breadth of their knowledge of the rainforest is enormous since it has been passed from generation to generation for thousands of years.
On the last day of the boat portion of the trip we will travel to the “Encontra das Aguas”, the meeting of the waters of the Amazon and the Negro Rivers. The volume of water is so great at their confluence that Brazilians consider the watercourse created by the joining of these two a completely different river. The light colored water of the Amazon and the dark water of the Negro do not readily mix and the two rivers flow side by side for many miles. We will explore the beautiful and fabulously rich environment at the confluence of these two rivers and visit the Lago Janauari Ecological Park which lies in a wedge-shaped delta that divides the Amazon from the Negro.
We will see and do a great deal in the forest, but there will also be plenty of time to relax and have fun during the trip. We will swim in clean and safe water, perhaps have a cookout,, and if there are anglers among us, spend a little time fishing some afternoons. Every afternoon we have hors-d'oeuvres on the Observation Deck and are treated to a magnificent sunset. After sunset guests often go to the Observation Deck to look at the millions of stars and constellations of the Southern Hemisphere. Because we are in such an interesting place with exceptional guides, the days are full and exciting.
Please call or email us for more information, with any questions you may have, or to secure your cabin on this special voyage.
1 877 285 1170