Cruises in the amazon

Cruises in the Amazon

Travelling in the Amazon, the world’s most famous river, is a typical dream. But… the Amazon world may be rather different to that which you expect. You may end up disappointed. You should plan your Amazon trip correctly, and shape it to your style and to the time you have to enjoy the Amazon.

There are different ways of visiting the Amazon rainforest. If you are pressed for time, or if you think you would not like to live for four, five, six or more days in a beautiful and calm, but repetitive world of water and trees, then avoid a long river trip.

In that case, a quick flight to Manaus (a city in the very heart of the Amazon, 1,000 miles upstream from the river mouth) is preferable. Once there, you can model the tour to your tastes. You can enjoy several short local cruises, you can explore some rainforest treks, you can swim and fish, you can visit local people living in the forest (the «caboclos»), you can get a good grasp of what the rainforest and the river are… And you can even play golf.

This option demands a stay of, say, 3 or 4 days minimum. It all depends on what you want.

Another alternative when visiting the Amazon involves a longer tour on the river – typically a trip from Belem (at the mouth of the Amazon) to Manaus, or the inverse.

This cruise can be made on a transatlantic cruiser, and includes a great range of cities and ports outside the Amazon. Tours of two weeks are very common. You just need to cost it, and to book the cruise early enough (there isn’t a regular transatlantic cruiser route to the Amazon, and so you should plan the cruise well in advance).

More adventurous travellers may prefer other kind of boats and travel for a long river cruise. There are, in Belem and Manaus, local tourist riverboats and regular river vessels (for local passengers and goods) making the trip between the two towns.

And these two kinds of riverboats – the tourist and the regular ones – constitute the best way of experiencing the full mood and the immensity of the Amazon (and, in the case of travelling in a regular vessel, the best way to have contact with the real people, and feel their friendly mood, their way of facing the life).

But you should also ponder the possible downsides of these options. One of them is the uncertain duration of the trip: it can be four days, if the weather conditions and the currents and other factors are favourable, but it can also be extended for one, two or more days, which may clash with your travel plans, flights, etc.

Another possible inconvenience involves the regular vessels (not tourist river boats): the toilet facilities in the boats are rather improvised, which can be disagreeable; also, you can be forced to sleep in a hammock, surrounded by local people. So, think well…

In any case, do not also expect to see profuse fauna on your cruise. Birds and monkeys tend to hide themselves in the treetops… You will sense them, but most of the time you will not see them.

What you will see all the time – and feel deeply in your heart – is a different world… a calm green water world. A world with moments of exceptional beauty, but also a repetitive one, with its endless elements succeeding minute after minute, for days on end…

A world in the antipodes of ours, involving another pace, other elements: one that makes us feel small, and awakes thoughts about our place in the universe, and the meaning of our life and our values.

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