Brazilian Amazon by Boat

Start: Belem, Brazil Finish: Rio de Janeiro

Visiting: Belém, Marajó, Amazon River, Vale do Paraíso, Alter do Chão, Pará, Rio Negro, Rio de Janeiro, Christ the Redeemer


Duration: 15 Nights

Physical rating: Low, Relaxed

Special diets catered: Vegetarians, Vegans

Tour Operator: Explore!

Group size: 4 - 18

Age range: Adult

Tour operated in: English


Prices From:

Tour Overview

This unique trip is dedicated solely to discovering the rich ecosystem of the Amazon, journeying between the cities of Belem and Manaus by a variety of boat. We sail along the unimaginably wide Amazon River, exploring the thriving communities living near the banks. This is certainly a trip for an active traveller who is willing to forgo higher comfort levels to experience something extraordinary. Amazon villages - Visit caboclo (mixed white and indigenous) communities that live on the banks of the river Alter do Chao - See white-sand beaches in the middle of the Amazon Stargazing - Sleep in a hammock on deck, beneath a sea of shimmering stars

Highlights

  • iconStargazing - Sleep in a hammock on deck, beneath a sea of shimmering stars
  • iconAlter do Chao - See white-sand beaches in the middle of the Amazon
  • iconAmazon villages - Visit caboclo (mixed white and indigenous) communities that live on the banks of the river

Places You'll See

Countries:
Victoria Regia lillies
Looking over the Amazon
Sunset in Alter do Chao
Amazon beaches at Alter do Chao
Marajo island wildlife

Itinerary

Map Image
icon Day 1: Join trip in Belem

Location: Belém

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals: No Meals

Arrive in Belem, the Amazon's port city, situated at the Guaraja Bay in the eastern part of the vast Amazon delta. In the late 1800s, the city owed much of its wealth to the burgeoning rubber trade, and we see this history played out in the number of colonial-era buildings found within Belem's downtown district. For those arriving on time today our Tour Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 5pm for your welcome briefing, and for those who wish there will be the option have dinner together with the group this evening. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Belem at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Belem's Val de Cans International Airport (airport code: BEL), which is approximately a 20 minute drive from our hotel. Should you miss the meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up. If your flight arrives earlier in the day, you could visit the Museu Goeldi, a perfect introduction to the culture, fauna and flora of the Amazon region.

icon Day 2: Walking tour of Belem; chance to visit the Goeldi Museum

Location: Belém

Accommodation: Hotel

This morning, a local guide will navigate us through some of the city's main sights, introducing us to the portuguese-tiled houses and beautiful baroque churches of the city centre. One of the most noteworthy attractions is certainly the Ver-o-Peso market with its distinctive steeple towers and central position on the docks of the city. This huge public market stocks everything imaginable from meat, fish, and medicinal plants, to arts and crafts and even a specialised market selling only the endemic acai berry, a staple of the Brazilian Amazon populations. We'll also discover the main opera house (entrance not included), which is one of the city's most impressive buildings, built in the late nineteenth-century at a time that was known as the 'Golden Age of Rubber'. The afternoon is at our leisure to wander around the shady streets of Belem. Belem is the Amazon's culinary capital, using many indigenous plants and fruits, as well as plenty of fresh seafood. During the evening, the Estacao das Docas is well worth exploring - this series of three historic dockside warehouses has been converted into restaurants, bars and even a small theatre, with views out to the river.

icon Day 3: Public boat to Marajo Island; explore the village and beach

Location: Marajó

Accommodation: Lodge

Rising early this morning we head to the port to catch our public boat across to Marajo Island, a land mass in the Amazon River Delta that is bigger than the Netherlands. The boat journey takes approximately 3.5 hrs, and is somewhat an experience in itself as we follow the lush banks of the island, hopefully spotting monkeys up in the tree branches. Upon arrival we will drive to our pousada (local inn), situated on a cliff overlooking Joanes Beach, a deserted stretch of Atlantic coastline harbouring fresh water, the influence of the mouth of the Amazon. This afternoon we may take the opportunity to take a canoe trip on the Rio Limao, or walk along the miles of deserted beaches.

icon Day 4: Full day on Marajo Island; wildlife tour

Location: Marajó

Accommodation: Lodge

The open grasslands of Marajo Island flood during the rainy months, creating a year-round wetland habitat that is excellent for wildlife spotting. It is particularly well known for its water buffalo - the story goes that some 150 years ago, a ship heading for the West Indies, carrying a herd of Indian water buffalo, sank off the Marajo coast. Most of the cattle were adept swimmers, and eventually reached the shore, making their home on the island, where they proliferate today in both a wild and domestic setting. They are used commonly in agriculture as well as being a common form of transport around the island. The diverse landscape of the island, with its rainforests, savannas, wetlands, beaches and mangroves, has developed a thriving eco system. There are all kinds of birds, including the red ibis, macaws, parrots and the 'missing link' hoatzin (the only bird with claws on its wings), as well as capybara, monkeys, and sloths hidden in the trees. We experience this wild setting today. Returning first to the port, we board a motorized canoe to take us upriver to a buffalo farm. The journey lasts 45 minutes but may be longer if we find any animals along the way. At the farm we enjoy a regional lunch with items produced on the farm - buffalo meat and cheese is a definite. We can head through the farm pastures looking for wildlife, and take a river journey to search for caimans, sloths and birds etc, before returning to the port and our lodge.

icon Day 5: Return to Belem; begin 2 night boat trip from Belem to Monte Alegre

Location: Belém

Accommodation: Boat

Heading back to Belem this morning we arrive in time for lunch at one of the restaurants in town. We are able to take a leisurely lunch before returning to the port to board our second boat of the trip for the journey to Monte Alegre. This public boat is equipped with twin cabins with air conditioning, a shower and WC, and buffet-style meals are all served on the boat. You will need to bring a lightweight sleeping bag liner (a sheet or two will also suffice) and a towel, as not all bedding is provided. This first evening we watch the vanishing lights of Belem as we set off on our way to Monte Alegre.

icon Day 6: On the boat; watch life on the Amazon pass by; stargazing

Location: Amazon River

Accommodation: Boat

This first day on board takes us through narrow waterways with abundant rainforest, and typical 'caboclo' dwellings on stilts, built to cope with the fluctuating water levels. Caboclo communities are descended from the mixture of the indigenous populations and the white adventurers, such as rubber tappers and prospectors. We have a look into their lives on the riverbank as we travel, seeing them wash clothes, fish and travel to school by canoe or boat. Throughout our journey from Belem to Monte Alegre, we will be stopping in various locations in the Amazon Basin to see the busy ports and the loading and unloading of cargo, taking in the colourful atmosphere. Part of the fun of the journey is watching the frantic port activity as crates of alcohol, food and supplies are quickly unloaded at each town.

icon Day 7: On the boat; watch life on the Amazon pass by; stargazing

Location: Amazon River

Accommodation: Hotel

This morning we awake on the mighty Amazon proper, 10-15km wide in parts, finding ourselves observing both banks at a distance and taking in the atmosphere of this incredible place. One of the highlights of this trip is the sky at night - away from city lights, we have unparalleled stargazing opportunities. The bar on the upper deck is the best place to watch the sunset, and also gives us the perfect chance to mingle with our fellow travellers, enjoying a game of cards or chatting about our mutual travel experiences. This is slow travel at its best, so bringing a book or activity for the boat is essential. In the evening we arrive late into the town, somewhere between 8pm and midnight.

icon Day 8: Option to discover ancient rock paintings; drive to Vale do Paraiso

Location: Vale do Paraíso

Accommodation: Hotel

For those who want to rise early, we have the chance to travel to the Serra do Erere - a spot of great anthropological and historical importance. It was here that the archaeologist Anna Roosevelt (granddaughter of the former US president) studied the petroglyphs and rock paintings found on the jagged peaks protruding through the jungle, and sparked her belief that the native people in this area could not have been descendants of the original indigenous people who populated North America across the Bering Strait. Her findings in the Painted Rock Cave (part of the Serra do Erere) were dated 10 to 11 thousand years ago. In the present-day Serra do Erere, not only can we witness these important caves and petroglyphs, but we also take a short hike to be rewarded by stunning views over the vast Amazon floodplains. Those who have opted to remain in Monte Alegre will enjoy a relaxed morning discovering this 300 year old town and its typical Portuguese-style buildings. Before lunch we set off via dusty red dirt roads for the hidden rainforest paradise of Vale do Paraiso. Along the way we pass simple huts and rickety wooden bridges through the Amazon region. We arrive in the late afternoon to the pousada - this set of simple cabins was built with love by a local Brazilian who wanted to create something sustainable, integrating the wooden buildings into the rainforest environment. We can spend the rest of the afternoon walking the trails and exploring the forest.

icon Day 9: Free day in Vale do Paraiso; options include waterfall swimming

Location: Vale do Paraíso

Accommodation: Hotel

Vale do Paraiso is situated in a leafy valley, its river carving a path through the steep forest walls. It is known best for its three waterfalls, between 12-35m high, with dark pools that are perfect for swimming. A path connects the three falls, making it a wonderful place to cool off after walking in the humidity. The first fall is near to the pousada and easy enough to take a dip there on our own steam. For those who wish, a local guide will take us to the second and third falls, which are located at 30 minute intervals from each other, through dense jungle and along the river bed. This is a steep hike in sections, with some use of ropes to help on the uneven ground. These beautiful waterfalls are great for swimming, surrounded by the rainforest. Vale do Paraiso is situated in a leafy valley, its river carving a path through the steep forest walls. It is known best for its three waterfalls, between 12-35m high, with dark pools that are perfect for swimming. A path connects the three falls, making it a wonderful place to cool off after walking in the humidity. The first fall is near to the pousada and easy enough to take a dip there on our own steam. For those who wish, a local guide will take us to the second and third falls, which are located at 30 minute intervals from each other, through dense jungle and along the river bed. This is a steep hike in sections, with some use of ropes to help on the uneven ground. These beautiful waterfalls are great for swimming, surrounded by the rainforest. Important to note: Brazil's dry season is roughly from September to November, when the waterfalls in Vale do Paraiso will be relatively low. If this is important to you, we recommend travelling earlier in the year (where dates are available) for a more impressive effect.

icon Day 10: Travel to the river beaches of Alter do Chao

Location: Alter do Chão, Pará

Accommodation: Hotel

We've got a very early start this morning, leaving our rainforest paradise at around 4am to drive to Alenquer, where a speedboat awaits us to take us through the narrow Amazon creeks across to the town of Santarem. There are only two of these public speedboats each day, hence our early departure. We head immediately 35km south to the laid-back town of Alter do Chao. Best known for its beautiful white-sandy beach and transparent waters (an unusual site for anyone expecting the muddy brown Amazon), it is also idyllically situated on a blue lagoon and flanked by forest reserves. The town has attracted many beachside dwellers, and there is a lively feel to the town with Carimbo (Amazonian folk music) being played by many of the small local bars. This afternoon is free to explore, swim and relax in these surroundings. You may wish to head to one of the open-air restaurants, where chairs and tables are placed in the warm water of the lagoon, with only the tabledesk above the water level, and fish swim around you as you eat.

icon Day 11: Free day in Alter do Chao; chance to visit local communities

Location: Alter do Chão, Pará

Accommodation: Hotel

Today is free to enjoy the lush green surroundings and sandy beaches of Alter do Chao. There are many options here, including a trip to the FLONA (National Forest) nature reserve; a massive protected area of primary rainforest, FLONA gives you the opportunity to learn a lot about the delicate ecosystems that exist in the Amazon, as the passionate local guides give an in-depth view of the many different plants and bird species living here as well as a history of the rubber trade in the area. Alternatively, take a boat trip on the Lago Verde at its main canals. During the wet season (Feb-Aug) we will be able to enter the Enchanted Forest by canoe and explore this labyrinth of trees that are home to birds and monkeys. During the dry season (Sep-Jan) the low water levels allow us to walk along the canals and do some surface snorkelling to explore the area's marine life.

icon Day 12: Fly to Manaus and board private boat

Location: Rio Negro

Accommodation: Boat

This morning is free to enjoy the final hours along the river at Alter do Chao. In the afternoon we transfer to Santarem airport and fly to Manaus (taking into account the time zone change, this journey takes a mere 10 minutes!), before heading to the port to board our private boat. This really is the climax of our Amazon journey as we cruise down the Rio Negro for 3 nights, sleeping in hammocks under the stars. On board our boat is a galley, a small bar and basic washing facilities. We will be sleeping on deck, so be prepared for a certain lack of privacy. Hammocks are of course provided, but they are also found in abundance in Belem and Manaus, and many people like to buy one as a souvenir and use it on the boat. Your tour Leader can tell you the right way to sleep in a hammock (diagonally) in order to get the best night's sleep!

icon Day 13: Rio Negro boat trip; visit indigenous communities

Location: Rio Negro

Accommodation: Boat

During the course of the 3 days on board the boat, there are a whole range of excursions that will allow us to thoroughly explore this Amazon region. Throughout the boat trip we will be seeing the huge Victoria Regia water lily, birdwatching and hopefully spotting pink Amazon river dolphins playing alongside us in the water. We have motorised canoes on the boat with us and will be using them to explore the riverbanks as well as landing on the shore to do some jungle walking on foot. We visit a caboclo family as well as an indigenous community in order to learn more about how they live in this rainforest environment. One of the most interesting parts is learning about how they use the plants and trees around them - each one of them has a meaning and a use. We will be exploring jungle trails with our guides and Explore Leader, as well as discovering the huge river archipelago of Anavilhanas, which has more than 1000 islands and abundant aquatic life, including caimans and dolphins. In the evening we do night outings to spot dark caiman, or catch a piranha supper. This trip gives us a real expedition feeling while still travelling in the relative luxury of our boat.

icon Day 14: Rio Negro boat trip; sail through the Anavilhanas archipelago of 1000 islands

Location: Rio Negro

Accommodation: Camping

Our final full day on the boat brings our Amazon exploration to an end, and hopefully we will have caught a glimpse of 'the real thing'. Our ideas of the Amazon are so often glamorised - weird and wonderful birds flying overhead, animals popping out of the forest canopy every two minutes and spear-toting indigenous tribes behind each tree. This journey is dedicated to discovering this incredible world region, and should defy some of the myths whilst giving us a sense of understanding and appreciation for this amazing ecosystem. Our guides and crew will make this part of the trip unforgettable. Tonight, we will be taking our hammocks off the boat and having a magical camping experience in the Amazon, with a BBQ meal cooked for us on the spot by our crew. This does of course depend on the weather - in cases of rain, we will sleep on the boat as normal.

icon Day 15: Arrival in Manaus; fly to Rio de Janeiro; free afternoon

Location: Rio de Janeiro

Accommodation: Hotel

This morning we disembark in Manaus, where we'll take a quick visit to the impressive Teatro Amazonas, a 19th Century neo-classical style opera house that is frankly a work of art. We will also see the 'Meeting of the Waters' - the point at which the black Rio Negro and the brown Solimoes come together and continue towards the coast under the name of the Amazon. The rivers run separately for several miles, creating an usual two-toned effect as the river runs. There is not a lot else in this Amazon city to hold us, and we fly to Rio in the afternoon for the final night of our tour.

icon Day 16: Trip ends in Rio

Location: Rio de Janeiro

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Rio. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Rio at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel, and this is the perfect opportunity to spend a day in Rio. The Christ the Redeemer statue is well worth the visit for a first timer, otherwise, for an alternative experience of Rio, the bohemian neighbourhood of Santa Teresa is full of cafes, art galleries and bars, and an excellent place to spend an afternoon. Time permitting, we recommend booking post-tour accommodation in Rio so that you can explore a little more of the city. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Rio de Janeiro International Airport (airport code: GIG), which is approximately a one hour drive from our hotel.

What's Included

  • icon
    Accommodation

  • icon
    All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

  • icon
    Airport Transfers at Destination

  • icon
    Meals – Half Board

    Breakfast: 15 Lunch: 5 Dinner: 6

  • icon
    Game Drives on Safari

  • icon
    Fully Guided

What's Not Included

  • icon
    Country Entry Visas

  • icon
    1 bottle of Mineral Water per person per day

  • icon
    Tipping and Gratuities

Why Book this Tour

This is one of the only trips dedicated solely to the vast Amazon rainforest, and the fact that we are travelling by boat allows us to discover so much more of the area than the standard 3 nights in a jungle lodge.

Your Peace of Mind Options

  • icon
    Low Deposit

    Explore! requires a deposit of 10% to secure a place on this tour, and the final balance is not due till 60 days before departure..

  • icon
    Secure payments

    All payments to TourHub are deposited into an externally regulated Trust account.


Got a question? Check out our Q&As

View Q&As Ask A Question

Reviews

Brazilian Amazon by Boat
I loved everything about this inaugural trip - its content (off the beaten track, no WiFi, no other tourists, no major tourist attractions to visit , quirky accommodation, visiting local ....more I loved everything about this inaugural trip - its content (off the beaten track, no WiFi, no other tourists, no major tourist attractions to visit , quirky accommodation, visiting local tribes and endless boat trips in every shape and size of boat ) and its tour leader.

I really hope you keep this trip as one of your regular offerings and Maria Louise Coster as one of your Brazilian tour leaders.

; ....less
icon
Catherine

07-Jan-2018

Brazilian Amazon by Boat
It was wonderful! Much better than expected. Great to be the first group to do the trip as it was a real adventure for all of us, and ....more It was wonderful! Much better than expected.

Great to be the first group to do the trip as it was a real adventure for all of us, and over and over again our expectations were exceeded.

Loved that there were hardly ever any tourists, other than Brazilian, around.

Marie Louise was great at easing communication and providing Portuguese ‘crib sheets’; ....less
icon
Maria

07-May-2018

Dates & Availability

Select departure month
Instant Booking Available

Saturday May 21, 2022

Nights

15

Available

18

Instant Booking Available

Saturday Sep 17, 2022

Nights

15

Available

18

Instant Booking Available

Saturday, May 21, 2022

15Nights

18Available

Instant Booking Available

Saturday, Sep 17, 2022

15Nights

18Available