A staggering 10% of all species known to science occur in the Amazon, and we have designed this new Amazon cruise specially to maximise the chances of encountering some of this superb tropical wilderness’s most prized fauna! We begin with a flight to Sao Paulo and then to Manaus, in Brazil. We will then board the ‘Iracema’, our comfortable river cruiser, which will be our floating home for the next seven nights. We will head deep into the Amazon rainforest, visiting two of Brazil’s finest national parks in search of its superb birdlife, including Festive Parrot, Hoatzin and Agami Heron. Next we head to the remote Jaú National Park where an incredible variety of wildlife awaits us including 14 species of primate, macaws, King Vulture and Guianan Toucanet. Equipped with camera-traps, an onboard drone and spotlights, we will look for wildlife at a wide range of times of the day during our cruise. After a wonderful eight days along the Amazon, we will visit a small traditional village before returning to Manaus and our onward journeys.
• Over 400 mammal species & 1,300 bird species occur in the Amazon!
• Exclusive charter aboard ‘Iracema’, a comfortable river cruiser with en suite cabins
• Maximum of 18 passengers (on a boat with capacity for 22)
• Led by expert local (English-speaking) naturalist guides
• Includes an 7-night guided Amazon River cruise
• See 3-metre wide Giant Water Lilies & travel deep into the Amazon rainforest
• Explore the Anavilhanas Archipelago National Park in small motorised canoes
• Agami Heron, Festive Parrot & Amazonian Umbrellabird, Anavilhanas waterways
• Both Pink and Grey River Dolphins, Squirrel Monkey, Golden-backed Uakari, Hoatzin, Great Jacamar, Toco Toucan & Harpy Eagle among possible avian highlights
• Jau Night-time cruises to spotlight for nocturnal wildlife
• Visit to the Tukano tribe to enjoy ceremonial dancing & a banquet
• Onboard drone & camera-traps to increase the range of wildlife seen
Grade A. A range of gentle walks and boat safaris.
The Amazon. The very name conjures up images of endless tropical wilderness and of lost worlds awaiting discovery by intrepid explorers. The Amazon basin is vast, covering an area as large as the lower 48 states of the USA, and, even today, 78% is still covered in lush rainforest.
A staggering 10% of all species known to science occur here, amongst them over 400 species of mammal and an incredible 1,300 bird species! To actually see any of this natural abundance is, however, an altogether different matter, and the unfortunate reality of many Amazon cruises is that very little wildlife is actually seen … until now, that is! Through a combination of field research and analysis of academic studies undertaken in the region, Naturetrek has pioneered a new wildlife cruise which maximises our chances of encountering some of the Amazon’s most prized fauna.
Our adventure begins with a flight to São Paulo in Brazil, then another to Manaus. Here we board the delightful 30-metre ‘Iracema’, our exclusively chartered liveaboard river cruiser and our home for the next seven nights. First, we will journey a short distance downstream to witness one of Brazil’s natural wonders, the ‘Meeting of the Waters’. This is the point at which two titan tributaries of the Amazon River, the light-coloured Rio Solimões and the darker Rio Negro, converge to form a remarkable bi-coloured stretch of water that flows for several miles before the waters mix to become one colour. Leaving this unique aquatic spectacle behind, we will spend the late afternoon viewing the magnificent 3-metre-wide Giant Water Lilies before continuing our journey up the Rio Negro, leaving the hustle and bustle of Manaus behind and cruising into the early hours.
Over the next four days we will travel ever further into the depths of the Amazon, passing through pristine rainforest and visiting two of Brazil’s finest Amazonian National Parks. The first of these is the stunningly beautiful Anavilhanas Archipelago. Occupying an area of over 300,000 hectares, which includes over 400 river islands, Anavilhanas is the world’s largest freshwater archipelago and a haven for birdlife. Taking to small motorised canoes we will navigate our way through the maze of waterways and uninhabited islands, hoping to find such species as the stunning Agami Heron, the localised Festive Parrot and the bizarre looking Amazonian Umbrellabird. As dusk falls we can expect to see large numbers of Band-tailed Nighthawks descending on the river in search of flying insects.
Continuing our cruise up the Rio Negro we enter the remote and little-explored Jaú National Park where we spend three nights. Covering 2.3 million hectares, Jaú National Park is the largest forest reserve in South America and home to an incredible array of species from both Pink and Grey River Dolphins to Jaguars. Though we would have to be very fortunate to encounter the latter, it is possible to see dolphins throughout the cruise; indeed several pods have become habituated to humans and offer the chance of an incredible close-up experience. Over 14 species of primate have also been recorded in the park and we have an excellent chance of finding Squirrel and Red Howler Monkeys, Golden-faced Saki and the stunning Golden-backed Uakari. Avian delights are likely to include several species of colourful macaw, plus Hoatzin, Great Jacamar, Guianan Toucanet, Toco Toucan and, with luck, a King Vulture or the elusive Harpy Eagle.
During our time in Jaú National Park we will head out at first light and in the late afternoon, either by canoe or on foot, taking advantage of the most productive times of the day and then retreating to the comfort of the ‘Iracema’ in the midday heat. We also plan to undertake several cruises after dark, giving us the opportunity to spotlight for the creatures of the night. It is at this time that the rainforest can seem at its most alive and we will immerse ourselves in the sights and sounds of the forest after dark. Equipped with camera traps and a drone on board, our efforts to see and record the wildlife will extend well beyond the limitations of the human eye and ear.
Our return journey back to Manaus will allow us to explore Anavilhanas Archipelago further, and we will conclude our cruise with a visit to a small traditional village of the Tukano tribe, where we will be treated to a display of ceremonial dancing and a dinner banquet — a fitting tribute to a unique and special journey into the very heart of the Amazon basin.
Prix : 6295 euros par personne
Supplément single: 750 euros
du 31 Juil 2023 au 9 Août 2023
Durée: 10 jours / 9 nuits
- Flights from London
For this cruise we have exclusively chartered the Iracema, a comfortable 24-berth river cruiser which features 12 comfortable twin cabins, each with upper and lower berths and private facilities. Whilst the Iracema can carry up to 24 passengers, our cruise will be limited to only 18. For additional information please refer to the tour itinerary.
All included in the price with the exception of meals in Manaus. Allow £20.
Please note that the following itinerary should be treated as a guide only, not an exact programme. Flexibility is the key to all wildlife cruises and our exact route and programme will depend on weather conditions, wildlife encounters, the experience of the tour leader and the advice of the ship's captain and crew.
We leave London Heathrow on a scheduled service flight to São Paulo in Brazil.
Arrive Manaus and board Iracema
Following an early morning arrival in São Paulo, we will board a domestic onward flight to Manaus. From here, we will transfer south, passing the world-famous ‘Teatro Amazonas’ Opera House, before arriving at the downtown Port of Manaus where we board the delightful 30-metre Iracema, our accommodation for the next 7 nights.
Once on board the vessel, we will enjoy lunch, followed by a short lecture from the tour leader providing an overview of the expedition itinerary. After setting sail for approximately 20 minutes, we will reach the ‘Meeting of the Waters’, a phenomenon where two titan tributaries of the Amazon River, the light-coloured Rio Solimões and the darker Rio Negro, converge to form a remarkable bi-coloured stretch of water that flows for several miles before the waters mix to become one colour. Here, for those brave enough, there will be the opportunity to swim in the Amazon River, amongst one of Brazil’s natural wonders.
Leaving this unique aquatic spectacle behind, we will cruise upstream towards a lake to view the magnificent Giant Amazon Water Lilies. Exploring the lake’s surroundings on wooden walkways, we can also hope to see the primitive Hoatzin and our first two primate species, Squirrel Monkey and White-fronted Capuchin. We will then continue upriver towards Acajatuba Bay where will anchor in the early hours.
Awakening to the sights and sounds of the Amazonian dawn we will enjoy an early breakfast before venturing out in motorised canoes to explore the network of narrow river channels that line the margins of the Rio Negro. Whilst the vegetation is dense and the birding challenging, the water’s edge offers easier pickings and we can hope to see Ringed, American Pygmy, Amazon and Greenand-Rufous Kingfishers, whilst Large-billed and Yellow-billed Terns. The area is also home to several pods of habituated Pink River Dolphins that if encountered, will often swim in and receive fish, providing fantastic photographic opportunities and even the chance to swim with them.
Returning to the boat in the mid-morning, we will begin cruising further upstream into the Anavilhanas Archipelago, a complex maze of ribbon-like forested islands that crisscross the 20km-wide Rio Negro. Occupying an area of over 300,000 hectares, which includes over 400 river islands, Anavilhanas is the world’s largest freshwater archipelago and a haven for birdlife. After enjoying a delicious lunch we will take to the water again in small motorised canoes and navigate our way through the maze of waterways and uninhabited islands, hoping to find such species as the stunning Agami Heron, the localised Festive Parrot and the bizarre-looking Amazonian Umbrellabird.
As dusk approaches, flocks of Band-tailed Nighthawks emerge and descend on the river in search of flying insects, whilst Ladder-tailed Nightjars sally out from low bushes. High above, fast flying bat-like Short-tailed Nighthawks hunt over the forested river islands and as dusk falls we shall spotlight for species such as Spectacled, Crested and Black-banded Owl, Great and Common Potoo, and Brown-throated Sloth.
We will cruise still further north through the night, arriving at the Mouth of the Jaú River in the early
Day 4 – 6
Jaú National Park
Over the course of the next 3 days we will venture deep into the heart of the remote and little explored, 2.3 million hectare, Jaú National Park, the largest accessible forest reserve in South America. Home to an incredible array of species, including over 14 species of primate, we have an excellent chance of encountering Squirrel and Red Howler Monkeys, Golden-faced Saki and with luck the stunning Golden-backed Uakari. The birding here is challenging but with perseverance we can hope to encounter a tantalising variety of species including several species of colourful macaw, Great Jacamar, Guianan Toucanet and, with luck, a King Vulture or the elusive Harpy Eagle. As we make our way down river, we should encounter Plumbeous Kite, Swallowwinged Puffbird and Black Caracara perched on the riverine vegetation.
In the canopy above we can hope to see Orange-cheeked Parrot, Maroon-tailed Parakeet and the unusual looking Black-headed Parrot, whilst highlights of the understory include stunning Blackthroated and Blue-crowned Trogons and Ivory-billed Araçari. Whilst exploring the forest trails, we will hope for a chance encounter with a mixed-species feeding flock, comprising a fantastic array of antshrikes, antwrens, woodcreepers and spinetails.
The river itself, the life source for this region, holds an incredible variety of fish species that subsequently support a number of aquatic predators such as Grey and Pink River Dolphins, Spectacled Caiman and Giant River Otters. Though difficult to predict their movements we will hoping for a chance encounter with any one of these species.
During our time in Jaú National Park we will head out at first light, where the forest will be alive with the sounds of Red Howler Monkeys and birds, such as the Screaming Piha, Crested and Green Oropendola and Long-billed Woodcreeper. We will also venture out in the late afternoon by canoe, where we may see Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Squirrel Cuckoo and White-throated Toucan, followed by a glorious sunset, before retreating to the ‘Iracema’ for sundowners and dinner.
We also plan to undertake several cruises after dark, giving us the opportunity to spotlight for the creatures of the night. It is at this time that the rainforest is truly buzzing with activity and we will immerse ourselves in the sights and sounds of the forest after dark.
Exclusive to Naturetrek, we will also benefit from the expert guidance of Eduardo Elízio de Souza (“Sibá”), a local parabiologist, stationed in Jaú National Park specifically to help research the wildlife of the area and assist us in our quest to unravel the secrets of the Amazon. In the lead up to our cruise, Sibá will survey the area, identifying the fruiting trees that are likely to attract the attention of the areas wildlife and allowing us to target the most productive spots during our visit.
After a final morning’s exploration of the area by boat, we will begin our journey back south, retracing our steps and reaching the Anavilhanas National Park by late afternoon. We will have the opportunity to enjoy the area’s beautiful scenery and search for any bird species that we may have missed on our journey up, perhaps including a Spangled Cotinga, Caica Parrot, Swallow-tailed Kite or Yellow-tufted Woodpecker. We will also keep a look out for primates, with Brown Bearded Saki and Brown Capuchin possible.
After dinner we continue cruising downstream, mooring up in the southernmost region of the Anavilhanas National Park.
This morning we have the opportunity to explore a different area of the Anavilhanas National Park, and our quest for the day is to locate a Wiretailed Manakin lekking site. These birds are strikingly stunning, and the male birds will perform an elaborate dance routine to impress the females. If we are lucky, we may be fortunate enough to see the males practice and perform their dance moves on their carefully chosen branches.
Bidding farewell to the Archipelago we cruise downstream during the middle of the day to within 2-3 km of an Amazonian Indian village, where we drop anchor for approximately an hour. This stop provides an opportunity to buy souvenirs and spot a few other bird species, such as Chestnutbellied Seedeater and Turquoise Tanager.
We shall return to the boat briefly, before dropping anchor again at our captain’s house for the final evening. This stop provides us with the best opportunity to see Night Monkeys, and will be a relaxed evening, with the option of using the swimming pool on site. As darkness falls, we will go out with our torches searching for Pinkfooted Tarantulas.
We will return to the Iracema for our final dinner together on the Amazon, cruising downstream and reflecting on what has been a remarkable adventure into the heart of the Amazon.
On our final morning, we will visit a village of the Tukano Tribe of North West Amazonia. With traditional houses and residents clothed in traditional dress, this morning’s excursion will provide a fascinating insight into Amazonian Indian life and with the aid of an interpreter, we will be able to learn about the beliefs and customs of the indigenous people of the region, as well as enjoying some spectacular ceremonial dancing.
After lunch, we shall disembark the Iracema at Ponta Negra and then transfer to Manaus airport for an afternoon flight to São Paulo and then on to the London.
Extentions (not included) (ask for quotation)
IGUAZÚ FALLS EXTENSION
Located on the Brazilian border with Argentina and Paraguay, Iguazu is often regarded as one of the greatest waterfalls in the world. Standing over 30 metres taller than the Niagara Falls, their location within the Iguazu National Park surrounds them with a wealth of wildlife and bird species, many of which can be observed via exploring the park’s extensive network of walking trails. Exploring the park on both the Brazilian and Argentina sides of the border is highly recommended in order to get the most out of your stay here. Residing in the heart of the forest for the duration of your stay, you will become immersed in an environment so very different from that encountered in the Pantanal; Iguazu National Park really is a worthy addition to any Brazilian venture!
RIO DE JANEIRO EXTENSION
A stark contrast from the wilderness of both The Pantanal and Iguazú Falls, the visit to the city of Rio de Janeiro offers a cultural experience which is hard to rival elsewhere in Brazil. Often dubbed as the ‘Marvelous City’ Rio acted as the capital of Brazil until 1960 and is home to some of Brazil’s most famous tourist attractions such as Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar) and the Christ the Redeemer statue (Corcovado). However, the cosmopolitan hustle and bustle cannot detract from city which is surrounded by natural; nestled between the lush, green rolling mountains and the crystal depths of the Atlantic Ocean, a stay in Rio will allow you to capture the essence of Brazil as found nowhere else in the country.
GIANT ANTEATER EXTENSION - CAMPO GRANDE
Campo Grande, known locally as the Cidade Morena for its red earth, lies near the headwaters of the Anhanduí River, in the Maracaju Mountains at 540m above sea level. The aim of this extension is to observe the incredible Giant Anteater in stunning open scenery, and maybe even to walk with them! Of course Giant Anteaters will be the main focus on each outing, but there is much more besides in this area, with both Six and Nine-banded Armadillos possible and Southern Tamandua if we are lucky, with a range of different birds and Red-legged Seriema being far more widespread in this area than on the main tour.
HARPY EAGLE AND SOUTHERN AMAZON EXTENSION
Harpy by Helen MayfieldAs recently as January 2017 a Harpy Eagle biologist Everton Miranda learned that a huge chunk (around half the size of the UK) of the southern Amazon is blessed with an extensive network of forest workers who criss cross the forest but do not hunt at all. These non-hunting informants have shown us previously unknown concentrations of large, charismatic, and extremely habituated animals that include such photographers’s holy grails as Harpy Eagles, Brazilian Tapirs, Scarlet, Blue-and-Gold, and Red-and-Green Macaws, and four particularly beautiful and elusive primates: Woolly Monkeys, Black-faced Spider Monkeys, Red Howler Monkeys and the endangered White-nosed Saki..
* These tours are operated by Naturetrek (ABTA Y6206) for which Nature et Terroir acts as agent.
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