South America Natural Adventures

nature travel, wildlife tours, adventure travel and general travel to Chile, Peru, Argentina, Brazil and Antarctica



Day 1 – Miami / Sao Paulo
After meeting the group leader in the airport we board our flight this evening for Sao Paulo, Brazil. The comfortable overnight flight gives us a chance to relax as we travel to Equatorial Amazonia. (*M)

Day 2 – Sao Paulo / Manaus
We arrive in Sao Paulo early this morning, and after passing through immigration and customs transfer to our flight north to Manaus, the capital of Amazonia. Here we are just three degrees south of the Equator, and right on the incredible Amazon River, where one of its major tributaries, the Rio Negro joins it. We are met at the airport, and transferred to our hotel, the Tropical Manaus. The hotel is located on the banks of the Rio Negro, and is surrounded by rainforest. The Rio Negro gives us some idea of the size of the Amazon river system; although only a tributary, even the Negro is up to nine miles wide here. Our first wildlife sightings will occur before we’re even checked in! The time before dinner is free to relax, wander the grounds where many local birds can be seen, or visit the orchid garden. A group dinner follows, and an introduction to our upcoming week of exploration of the Amazon River. (*B,D)

Day 3 – Manaus / Tucano
This morning we board our Amazon riverboat, right at the hotel, and depart upstream on the Rio Negro. Through the morning we will cruise through the world's largest river island system, the Anavilhanas Archipelago. From the observation deck we scan the magnificent tangle of vegetation at the water's edge. By mid-afternoon the vessel has gone beyond the frontier of settlement and entered a wilderness area. Both shores are covered by dense rainforest. Though we never know what we will see, we have a good chance of observing pink river dolphins and a large collection of exotic birds, including Amazon Kingfisher, Roadside hawk (we call it the Riverside Hawk in this roadless area), toucans, and Yellow-rumped Cacique. The screech of parrots catches our attention throughout the trip, especially I the early morning and late afternoon as they depart or return to their roosts. Along the banks we are treated to magnificent forest vistas and the spectacular trees themselves. In the late afternoon we embark in the launches and hunt for wildlife. We may also go for a swim in some of the world's cleanest and most refreshing water. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Tucano
Early this morning we explore the rainforest along the waters edge in our launches. We should hear and perhaps see howler monkeys along with a morning serenade of toucans. After breakfast we go for a walk in the forest where we will get a good start on understanding Amazon ecology. Around midday we return for lunch and the vessel will get underway, perhaps stopping at a place to swim. In the late afternoon we will explore the forest in our launches and listen to the sunset chorus of birds and frogs. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Tuesday, October 10: Tucano
This morning there will be an early exploration of the waking forest. We will keep our eyes open for monkeys- on most trips we see them often. Squirrel monkeys are the most common, but sharp ears may pick up the high-pitched chirps of tamarins, tiny monkeys that bounce about the branches in search of insects and other morsels. A variety of Amazon birds, from Ant-pittas to the lek-building Manakins will be sought, and our individual bird-lists will rise sharply with this excursion. We return for breakfast followed by either a walk in the forest or an excursion in the launches. We travel during the middle of the day and we stop in the afternoon for an excursion. Tonight the vessel may travel a bit more as we marvel at the night sky crowded with stars. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Tucano
After our two morning excursions we navigate along the heavily forested shore, scouting for wildlife. We may stop for a visit at a settler's home carved out of the forest. In the early afternoon we will be near an extraordinary river called the Rio Jauaperi. Here we will see a kind of forest known as the varzea, or seasonally flooded forest. During the high water season, in the first half of the year, the Amazon spreads out into this area, and the wildlife adapt to living over a lake. By August the water has receded, and the land dries once again. We will scout along the shoreline for some of the extraordinary creatures found only in this unique environment. Anteaters are often seen during our trip, and on at least one occasion we have seen one swimming, a very rare event. Weather permitting we will do a night excursion to observe nocturnal creatures; high on our list of hoped-for species is the Night, or Owl Monkey, usually seen in family groups. We’ll also be looking for Capybara, the world’s largest rodent. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Tucano
Today we depart the Rio Jauaperi and for the next two days proceed downstream on the Rio Negro exploring a new collection of rainforest habitats. Due to the slight undulations in the land, and the changing water levels through the year, what often appears to the untrained eye as a simple expanse of rainforest is in fact a patchwork of discrete habitats. Different plants and animals are adapted to, and prefer, these different habitats, and so there is much variety during our voyage. In the daytime we will continue to scout in our launches, walk in the forest, and at night hunt for nocturnal wildlife. In addition to this variety, there is an old adage when looking for wildlife, especially in the rainforest, where the rule is many different species, but not many individuals of each. The more time spent looking, the more variety is seen. For this reason we take as much opportunity as possible to explore the forest, knowing that this will result in a better appreciation of the diversity of the Amazon Rainforest. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Tucano
After a walk in the forest we cross to the West bank of the Rio Negro, exploring as we go. We will stop at the substantial boat building village of Novo Airão. As we walk through the streets we'll marvel at how the 19th Century thrives in this remote corner of the globe. Tonight we go downstream to arrive at daybreak near the confluence with the Amazon River. As we glide through the starry darkness this is a good night to sip the national drink of Brazil, the "Caipirinha". (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Tucano
This morning we explore the Lago Janauari Ecological Park where seasonally the thick brown water of the Amazon flows swiftly through the forest. This area is usually a very good place to observe wildlife. Around midday the vessel will travel to the "Encontra das Aguas" a stark several mile long line where the world's two largest rivers, the Amazon and the Negro, join in a turbulent maelstrom. Here the dark water of the Negro runs beside the opaque brown water of the Amazon. In the afternoon we scout one of the hidden streams in the area to see more of the Amazon's beautiful and bizarre creatures. Tonight there will be one last excursion looking for nocturnal life, and our farewell dinner on board; unfortunately for some the exploration of the incredible Amazon River is drawing to a close. (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Tucano / Manaus / Sao Paulo / In flight
This morning we disembark, and say farewell to our friends of the past week, and to the Amazon River. We transfer to the airport for our afternoon flight to Sao Paulo, connecting with our overnight flight back to Miami. Those continuing to the extension once again enjoy the comforts of the Tropical Manaus Hotel. (B,*M,*D)

Day 11 – In Flight / Miami
We arrive in Miami early this morning, pass through immigration and customs and emerge in plenty of time for our connecting flights home. (*B)


Please note that the day to day schedule must be considered approximate. The exact order of the days and specific features may be altered due to navigational considerations.

Meal Codes: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner M= Meal, *= In-flight.