The Amazon in Brazil
A five-night river ferry cruise down the Amazon River 1,368 kilometres from Belém to Manaus is included on Overland Tours.
At the start of this adventure the river is narrow as we travel through one of the hundreds of estuaries in the delta but then it widens to in excess of 10 kilometres from bank to bank, and it is still around 8 kilometres wide at our destination, the city of Manaus.
As we cruise upriver the boat stays fairly close to the shoreline to avoid the stronger currents coming downstream in the centre of the river, which also allows for good views of the flora and fauna along the river. A stop is generally made at the port city of Santarem.
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On arrival in Manaus, there is the option to join a 4 night excursion into the jungle by boat or dugout canoe in search of caiman, fresh water dolphins, jaguar and other animals, accompanied by expert local guides. The accommodation and facilities here are very basic, and consist of hammocks under open-sided shelter, with basic shared bathroom facilities. All meals are included.
Because of its proximity to the equator, the temperatures in the Amazonas region of Brazil are warm all year round. The most important seasonal differences are rainy/wet and dry season. In this region the rainy season runs roughly from mid December through early May, the temperature is a bit cooler than the dry season of June to early December. There is only a 5 degree difference in the average temperature between months though.
The advantage of travelling in the rainy season between January and May is that riverside plants fruit and flower during this period, attracting birds and monkeys to the water’s edge. Though it can rain slightly more in the rainy season, it usually rains most days in the dry season too.
In the dry season the water levels in most of the rivers begin to drop, revealing sandy beaches. From November through January, it’s possible to see millions of migratory fish laying their eggs in the shallower waters, and it’s this abundance of fish that attracts nesting birds like terms, Black Skinners and even turtles and caiman to take advantage of the readily available food supply.