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Amazon River Adventure

July 2017

 

Day 1 Fri 21 Auckland - Iquitos

Depart late afternoon on LAN Airlines direct overnight flight to Santiago, arrive same day. Then a connecting flight on LAN to Lima and then on to Iquitos. 

On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. 
Accommodation: Victoria Regia Hotel.


Day 2 Sat 22 Iquitos (B,D)
Located on the Amazon River, Iquitos was once a major city during the rubber boom in the late1900s.Visit the city's main square, Plaza de Armas, home to several interesting sites including the Iron House (La Casa de Fierro) and Casa de Barro. The Iron House, designed and built by French architect Gustave Eiffel in 1889, is one of the finest and best-preserved examples of civil architecture in Peru. Also in the main square is Casa de Barro, a two- story building once used as a rubber warehouse by the famous rubber baron Carlos Fermin Fitzcarrald. Then, walk along the riverfront, known as Malecon Tarapaca. Admire majestic views of the Amazon and the beautiful architecture of the nearby buildings, whose intricate tile decorations were imported from Europe during the rubber boom. Later this afternoon a briefing from your Tour Leader about the journey ahead followed by a welcome dinner at one of the restaurants overlooking the river. 


Day 3 Sun 23 Commence River Cruise (B,L,D)
Transfer to the port to join the Selva Viva.
The SELVA VIVA (the Alive Forest in Spanish) is a traditional Brazilian wooden boat with a 22 metre long flat bottom, 8 metres wide on three levels and a 1,50 metre draft. It has a 125 horsepower motor (with a cruise speed of 6 knots), 4 double and one single cabins, a sounder, a GPS and a HF radio (500kms range). Its two aluminum annex boats, one 4,25 meters long with a maximum capacity of 5 passengers and the other 6,50 meters long with a capacity of 8 passengers are ultra-light and fast and are suitable to enter the smallest rivers. The electrical energy of the boat is provided by 8 solar panels and a wind turbineToilet facilities are shared, cabins comfortable

Navigate  down the big  river  with stops to see wildlife.Evening stop at Apayacu with its Mestizo community and creeks leading to lakes -  good  for birdlife , maybe an Iguana. A first experience of the flooded forest close up. Overnight Apayacu on board, 


Day 4 Mon 24 On Cruise (B,L,D)

Morning visit to the Bora Indians who may dance for us in their traditional costumes in their communal Maloca House. Handicrafts made by the vendors themselves on sale, paintings,woven bags,dolls,blowguns,carvings+. Vist the studio of well known painter Francisco Grippa- spectacular multi colour paintings with Amazonian themes.  Meet locals as we walk through Pevas town  to the port to rejoin our vessel for lunch.

Late afternoon, visit the creeks & go into flooded forest by small boat at Pichana looking  for wildlife. Overnight at Pichana.


Day 5 Tues 25 On Cruise (B,L,D)

Navigate downriver with occasional stops taking advantage of nearby creeks or small settlements to see the local life.The code of the river is welcoming. Many remore communities & much forest seen from the boat.At times the banks are far, at times near depending, on twists & turns and the need to follow the main channel.

Time to enjoy the sundeck & its comfy hammocks, this is where we usually relax, read, take breakfast & lunch. Dinner in the dining room. 


Day 6 Wed 26 On Cruise (B,L,D)

During the morning , Colombia will become the North Bank, the South Bank & all islands Peru. More short excursions as opportunities arise. If the weather is fine, you will go fishing for piranha, and if there is enough fish, you will be able to taste the Amazonian flavour for your last dinner on the Selva Viva.


Day 7 Thurs 27 Leticia (B)
After breakfast on board approach the 3 Frontiers where Peru, Colombia & Brazil all meet.
Its relaxed & completely free movement from one to the other. Immigration is done only  for those arriving from outside the area and leaving downriver.

Leticia, the capital of the Colombian Amazon, is a small town suited to exploring on foot. 
Visit the Ethnographic Museum of the Amazonian Man where you can appreciate an extensive collection of objects and utensils used by various Indian cultures; stroll through the parks 
and streets of the city where you will find a wide range of handicraft shops and boutiques. You may also taste and purchase the famous Amazon aphrodisiac drink chuchuhuaza, which is extracted from the bark of a local tree.At 5.30pm & for an hour, see the huge numbers 100000+parakeets come in from all around to roost- noisy, spectacular,wonderful!  

 Accommodation: Waira Suites Hotel 


Day 8 Fri 28 Leticia (B)

A number of options today. A lengthy  jungle  walk or visit up or down river to local attractions ,depending on your preferences,weather, river levels, local conditions


Day 9 Sat 29 Leticia - Amazon (B,D) 
We cross to Tabatinga in Brazil and join the regular river boat down river to Manaus.895 nautical miles away .The boat calls into villages en route. Cabins are basic with  bathroom facilities and lots of fresh air. Basic meals are included on board in a communal  dining  room . Many passengers  will be in hammocks, a riot of colour . Cargo  will also be aboard below


Day 10-11 Sun 30 Mon 31 Amazon (B,L,D) 
Continue navigating the Solimoes River as the Amazon is locally called all the way to the Meeting of the Waters close to Manaus( when it becomes the Amazon again). The expected six stops from 20-40minutes each will be interesting, to see movements of people & cargo, see the local towns and river life.  


Day 12 Tues 1 Manaus (B)
Arrive in Manaus and transfer to our accommodation.
Accommodation: Chez Les Rois B&B 

During past days, good reading material will be given to you to fully explain how a busy city of 2 million people finds itself in such a remarkable situation, 930nautical miles from the Atlantic  surrounded by jungle. Learn the story of the incredible wealth for some during the Rubber Boom, the sudden decline & from 1967, an amazing strong revival inspired by tax free status & major boom of industries. Manaus is Latin America's fastest growing city these last 15years, yet has no road to the rest of Brazil,  to Venezuela yes  . These stories are remarkable


Day 13 Wed 2 Manaus (B)
Take a guided walking tour via Rua Bernardo Ramos, Teatro Amazonas (Opera House), Palacete Provincial with Praça Heliodoro Balbi. Visit the Municipal Market and Fish Market with a view to the Manaus Harbour and stop outside Palácio Rio Negro. Amazonas Opera House Evidence of this period of opulence can be seen in the mansions and monuments of Manaus, such as the Opera House opened in 1896. Built with the aid of materials and artists brought from Europe, its central area, in the shape of a harp, can seat 640 people in the stalls. In 1965 it was declared part of the Brazilian National Heritage and was reopened in 1996. 


Day 14 Thurs 3 Manaus – Amazon Cruise (B,L,D)
We transfer to the pier to board our boat for departure up the Rio Negro.Visit Lago January to observe a giant Kapok tree and the giant Vitória Régia or Lily Pod. Monkeys and many species of birds are often seen during this visit. We visit the Catalão floating village and observe the giant Arapaima Giggas, the Pirarucu, the biggest fish with scales in the Amazon. This fish can weigh over 450 pounds and reach 3m in length.  Lunch will be served as we move to our next destination, an Indian Settlement, after a 1hr 30mins journey. From here we move up river during the night, to reach Novo Airão next morning. 


Day 15 Fri 4 Novo Airao (B,L,D)
In Novo Airão (15.000 inhabitants) we visit the Almerinda Malaquias Foundation.
This innovative project offers the younger river population the opportunity and the economic platform to produce extraordinarily beautiful wooden crafts of high quality. Observe and feed the Botos Vermelhos, or river Dolphins. Novo Airão is a typical countryside town in the Amazon area. There is a TV station, telephone, electricity and piped water, but no bus and no taxi services. There is opportunity to buy innovative, good quality handcrafts, made out of scraps, off cuts from local construction and driftwood, at reasonable prices. We visit the channels of Anavilhanas, by speed boat, before continuing up stream, then head towards the Igrejinha Igarapé, a beautiful area where we plan to spend part of the afternoon. Later that night we will move towards Airão (old Airão) to visit the Sir Peter Blake Memorial.


Day 16 Sat 5 Airao - Jau National Park (B,L,D)
We will reach the Airão ruins around noon. We will visit the Memorial and explore the surrounding area. Drawings on rocks, made by early inhabitants of the Amazon region are found in the area. Scientists suspect they are thousands of years old. It is very beautiful. The ruins are located at the entrance of the Jaú River, which flows into the Jaú National Park, one of the biggest preserved areas in the Brazilian territory.
At the end of the day we continue downriver until early evening. 


Day 17 Sun 6 Manaus (B)
We will reach the Acajatuba Lake and explore the area, then head back to Manaus .
Overnight: Chez Les Rois B&B


Day 18 Mon 7 Manaus -Amazon (B,L,D)
Transfer to the port this morning to board our river boat travelling downstream to Santarem. Private cabin with own bathroom /air con.After sailing a short distance down the Rio Negro passing the Manaus Port installation, masses of local river boats some quite big, and many ocean going vessels, including container ships, we reach the famous Meeting of the Waters.The nearly 2 Mississippi volumes of the "Inky Black Rio Negro "  meet the 4 Mississippi volumes of the "Rio Solimoes"  which we sailed down from Tabatinga. At this meeting point  the river is again named the Amazon ( as it was in Peru). View this spectacle of teh completely different waters, coloured black & coffee meeting & begin to mix in sharp  contrast . Cameras ready!

Meals  are  available on board and are very inexpensive.

Late  afternoon another two Mississippis join as the worlds largest tributary the Rio Madeira( wood river) joins bringing huge volumes of water, mud & trees from Bolivia ,Peru & Brazil. The Amazon is noticeably  even bigger after this confluence.Soon after that , our first stop is at Itacoatiara ( painted rock) a large  town   

Day 19 Tues 8 Amazon-Alter  do Chao

Continue our downriver navigation with 5 interesting stops on the way. Arrival Santarem expected late afternoon. Santarem the 4th largest Amazon City after Manaus, Belem, Iquitos.Transfer by road to Alter do Chao , an attaractive stop for travellers with white sand beaches and the clear waters of the 12 mile wide slow flowing Rio Tapajos, a tributary of the Amazon.

Acommodation: Hotel Belo Alter 


Day 20-21  Wed 9-Thurs 10  Alter  do Chao (B)

A small easy to walk around pleasant town. Many  small boats, maybe yachts. The town is at the entrance from the Rio Tapajos to a huge lagoon Lago Verde on which you may hire aq canoe and explore. a morning walking tour is proposed visiting sandy beaches, the inviting square, small shops and the best shop in Brazil  for genuine Indian handicrafts from across the Amazon. Restuarants & cool calm waters make it a great place to chill out . Many large rubber trees to be seen close up in the town. The walk coukd become a botany  study and looking  for birds and other surprises that the Amazon often provides.

Afternoon option, only modest boat hire as cost,  to climb the pointypeak seen in  the distance. This involves a walk through the Cerrado , a Savannah like dry forest not like the Amazon forest at all, as this is the driest part of all the Amazon basin. Views from the top of pointy peak are wonderful, cameras ready again. After descending enjoy a cool drink at one of the small bars on the white quartz beach


Day 22 Fri 11  Alter do Chao-Santarem-Amazon (B)

Transfer to Santarem Port to join our next River Vessel downriver- cabins with own bathroom and aircon.We board adjacent to a major grain terminal where large bulk carriers queue to lad soya bean, now Brazil's biggest export. The grain comes by road from the south. We sail past the entire length of Santarem City with its almost mediterranean look.Then proceed down the everwidening river . 3 stops today. Meals are available  for purchase on board. 


Day 23 Sat 12 Amazon

After last stop early morning at Gurupa major  changes occur in the river . No longer so huge & wide as big islands separate now the channels leading to the Northern and Southern mouths.Mid morning we turn starboard & enter "The Narrows" which we navigate until nightfall. This is teh most scenic narrow network of waterways, palm heaven it has been called,  with limitless slender acai palm trees close by . The channels are now typically only 100-150m wide, we see the picturesque local houses, sawmills, way of life closely. The locals of all ages from tiny children to grandmothers approach our boat in small canoes to ride the waves, its all friendly. Its tidal now. at dusk we exit the narrows, abruptly the river changes from narrow to very wide again. Our  last tributary the Tocantins joins us in the night


Day 24 Sun 13 Belem (L)
The city of skycrapers beckons, arrive in Belem around 7am
Start the day with a tour to the colourful Ver-O-Peso market an extensive area full of all the Amazon has to offer in produce , huge fish, handicrafts & more, Walk to the historical area where the founding fort can be visited, see the old cathedral . Enjoy a tasty buffet lunch in the converted  former wharf sheds, now  air conditioned with upmarket retail.Afternoon continue on to  the Goeldi Museum with its zoo and botanical garden, to see some animals uncaged( sloths, agoutis) and many unusual animals & birds to be seen caged- Harpy Eagles,Hyacinth Macaws, Otters, turtles, caimans, jaguars. Excellent views of Victoria Regia giant water lilies  & more natural history.

Accommodation: Hotel Le Massilia


Day 25 Mon 14 Belem (B,L,D)
Day river tour on the channels and creeks of Guama and Acara rivers with stop for a walk in 
the forest to discover some fauna and flora of the Amazon as well as witness the life of the river 
inhabitants .Tour by motorized canoe along the narrow creeks where the ferry boat is unable to enter. Stop for a typical lunch at a riverside restaurant. 
This evening enjoy a farewell dinner . 


Day 26 Tues 15 Depart Belem (B)
You will be transferred to the airport .For those returning to NZ, you connect by air to Sao  Paulo  with a connection to Santiago for the LAN overnight flight home. Alternatively you may extend your stay in Brazil. 


Day 28 Thurs 17 
Arrive Auckland

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